Spice Up Your Meals Naturally

Many Americans suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) and part of treating this disease is a low-sodium diet.  Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of watching how much extra sodium you’re adding to your food.  However, if you’re used to adding a fair amount of salt to your meals, this can be quite a shock to your palate.  The good news is there are plenty of ways to add flavor to your food without breaking out the salt shaker.
Photo courtesy of How Stuff Works

Herbs are ideal for adding flavor to your favorite dishes.  They come in fresh or dried form and each have their own unique flavor.  In fact, many people enjoy growing their own herbs in a small herb garden outside their home.  Since it doesn’t require much space you can even use pots and do it on your deck or porch.  Some common herbs used in everyday cooking are:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Mint
  • Coriander

Jalapeno Peppers
Turn Up the Heat

Adding a little spice to your dishes increases the flavor.  Try adding some minced hot peppers like a jalapeno, Serrano chili pepper or habanero chili pepper.  Just be careful of how many you add as these peppers can be quite potent.
bulb veggies
Photo courtesy of Epicurious.com
Flavorful Additions

Certain vegetables naturally add flavor to your meals.  These are commonly known as bulb vegetables.  Members of this family include onions, garlic, leeks and shallots.  Sautéed, roasted, grilled or boiled, these veggies will always add an extra zip to your meal.
Photo courtesy of zsazsabellegio
Citrus Fruit

Lemons and limes are wonderful as a substitute for salt in your meals.  They are commonly used in vinaigrettes and their zest is used in many recipes.  In addition, it’s simple to squeeze a slice of lemon or lime over fish or chicken for even more flavor.  Michael Marks, Your Produce Man, has some great tips for using their juice in drinks or main meals in this quick video.
I hope this has given you some helpful ideas for passing on the salt shaker.  Remember, it’s all about adding different flavors and textures to your plate to make it more interesting.  I’ll be back next week with some delicious recipes that are Southern favorites.
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