The Wonderful World of Herbs and Spices
By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
When it comes to food, nothing makes more of a lasting impression than the flavor it provides. Dishes are known for being sweet or savory, spicy or bland. The flavor profile of a meal can either keep consumers coming back for more or avoiding it at all costs.
Herbs and spices are some of the most important components of a dish’s flavor. They can be used to impart the primary flavor in a recipe or as a subtler addition to provide a pleasant aftertaste.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial applications of herbs and spices is being able to use them as substitutions for salt. Adding herbs and spices to meals can help you decrease your intake of sodium, a nutrient that most Americans consume in excess.
At Healthy for Life Meals, we pride ourselves in developing menus that fall within the recommended daily intakes for sodium. But instead of tasting bland, our meals are bursting with flavor thanks to the addition of herbs and spices.
Common Herbs and Spices and Their Benefits
Some of the herbs and spices that we incorporate include rosemary, dill, coriander (cilantro), cinnamon, and basil. Not only do these seasonings add amazing flavor, but they also provide health benefits.
Rosemary is a woody herb that has evergreen-like leaves. It may contain compounds and antioxidants that can fight inflammation and protect against brain damage. We incorporate rosemary into our Chicken Parmesan with Rosemary Potatoes, a delicious dish on our traditional menu.
Dill is a feathery herb that tastes great with fish and in dairy-based dips. It is loaded with vitamins A and C as well as calcium. Our Carrots and Dill Dip is a popular side to the Beef Vegetable Barley Stew on our traditional menus.
Coriander refers to the seeds of cilantro, a pungent herb that resembles parsley. This plant is rich in antioxidants that can prevent cell damage. The Coriander Roasted Chicken and Veggie Wrap is one of our favorite ways to use this seasoning!
A delicious and popular spice, cinnamon is a versatile and nutritious ingredient. Not only does it contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, but it may also play a role in lowering blood sugar levels. Cinnamon appears in many of our menu items, including our Baked Cinnamon French Toast.
Basil is an aromatic herb with a slightly sweet smell and taste. Some research suggests that basil may help fight inflammation and inhibit bacteria. Our Pesto Gnocchi and Vegetables is loaded with this nutritious herb.
Note from Healthy For Life Meals: Get started with one of our meal plans today to reap the benefits of fresh herbs and spices, cut back on your sodium intake, and feel great while doing it! We offer several different meal plans to fit your needs.