How to Use πŸ“— Herbs and Spices πŸ₯„ to Liven up πŸ”₯ Your Diet 🍽 ...

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One of the problems of a low calorie or low-fat diet is boredom with the food, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. The days of a salad being a couple of limp lettuce leaves, a few slices of cucumber and a tomato are long gone, and healthy meat doesn’t just mean a piece of boring grilled chicken.

The range of food available in supermarkets is stupendous and the varieties of fruit and vegetables is often bewildering, and it is possible to follow a low calorie or low-fat eating plan by just knowing how best to combine foods, make simple but tasty nutritional meals for you and the whole family. Making the best of your diet foods is about using cooking methods that retain the nutritional value and the flavour. There’s nothing wrong with wanting really flavoursome food and you can get this by using herbs and spices. The beauty of herbs and spices is that not only do they enhance the taste, but they don’t add any calories or fat to the meal.

Another point to adding herbs and spices to your food is that besides increasing taste, many of them have medicinal or health beneficial properties. Both herbs and spices contain excellent anti-oxidants which attack free radicals and spices contain phytonutrients which are believed to inhibit the formation of cancer cells. Ginger, for example has been used by the Chinese since time began and it is widely accepted as having a positive effect on digestion, and one of the most common of all, garlic, is a natural antibiotic and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.

1. Herbs

Herbs can bring an instant freshness to your food. They are best used fresh, and many varieties are available in shops and supermarkets. Dried varieties are more plentiful and will include the more unusual and less common herbs and the dried versions are excellent in slow cooked dishes. Dried versions tend to be a bit stronger than fresh so need to be used more sparingly.

Fresh herbs in their simplest form – the leaf, are a really easy way of making a simple tasty salad by combining a variety of herb leaves with some fresh lettuce leaves. Try a handful each of rocket, baby spinach, basil leaves, and coriander leaves.

Turkey and chicken are the best low-fat meats to include in a healthy diet and they are excellent flavour carriers meaning that herbs work wonderfully. For example chicken has a particular affinity with tarragon and many classic French dishes use this herb.

Certain cuisines are defined by the herbs and spices they use. Many Italian dishes contain basil, rosemary and oregano and of course garlic. The Spaniards have a particular penchant for parsley and garlic and these feature together in a variety of tapas dishes. All the Mediterranean cuisines make prolific use of garlic together with olive oil and the Greek love to mix these with rosemary. Rosemary is particularly effective with lamb which is the main meat in Greek diets. Far Eastern cuisines love the flavour combinations of lemon grass and coriander together with a range of spices and an Indian curry can be given a light fresh taste by a garnish of fresh fenugreek leaves. Other than the ubiquitous mint sauce and the old-fashioned curly leaf parsley garnish, the British diet doesn’t really have a signature flavour or flavour mix, but modern British cuisine is alive with every herb and spice you can think of. There are also some foods that have specific partnerships like salmon and dill, tomatoes and basil and chervil with just about any white fish.

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