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11
DEC

Add Flavor the Healthy Way

Filed Under: Health Foods at 1:14 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Buttered English MuffinI love condiments. I fully believe in the power of a good sauce or spice. I don’t understand people who eat salad sans dressing or sandwiches without something in addition to the traditional meat and cheese. And, I’m fairly certain that most of you agree. Regardless of what you’ve banned from your diet – meat, vegetables, bread, sugar – there’s always a place on your plate for an extra, flavorful kick. However, while your taste buds may love you for that layer of mayonnaise, your waistline will not.

Condiments are the calories you traditionally don’t count.  You measure a meal’s nutrition by the solid ingredients – the bread, meat, veggies etc. – ignoring the health detriments that lurk in your post- or pre-cooking lather. Butter, for example, is packed with fat, calories and cholesterol. Mayonnaise has the same problem. But, they’re both decidedly addictive. How could you possibly have a roll without a dollop of butter or a turkey sandwich without at least of swipe of mayo? It’s unconscionable. The thought of eliminating condiments from your diet renders all future meals dull, bland and unappealing. Therefore, your only solution is substitution. Take the following tips into consideration, and then, spice up your meals with a dash of health.

• Make margarine your ‘butter’ of choice. Margarine, when compared to regular butter, has lower amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. However, you still have to be careful when buying, as most margarine has frightening levels of trans fat. Look for liquids, tubs, light or cholesterol-free.�
• Find substitutions for mayonnaise or, at the very least, purchase the fat-free/light varieties.
• Avoid the creamy salad dressings. The creamier you get the worse the nutrition label reads. Light Italian or vinaigrettes are your best bets, but if you must have thick creaminess, opt for reduced-fat.
• Embrace mustard! Mustards are generally low in fat but high in flavor. Plus, there is a kind for everyone – plain yellow, spicy brown, honey (my favorite), Dijon and all sorts of other crazy combinations.
• Don’t forget fruits and veggies. A slice of tomato or chunk of mango can turn any entrée into a tastier experience. You’ll get a blast of flavor with bonus nutrients and limited amounts of calories/fat.
• Think ethnic. Salsa, curry and chutney are surprisingly excellent additions that carry with them their own set of health benefits.
• Stay away from the on-the-plate smother. Face it; you have a tendency to drench. Marinating first, tossing the whole salad or putting your dressing on the side for dipping will cut down on how much you consume.
• Experiment!  Don’t get stuck in a condiment rut. The world is full of spices, sauces and flavorful foods. Find the ones that are best for your tastes and best for your body.

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