This is the last day of our healthy mini storecupboard challenge. As a quick reminder, you also have the option of catching up with this at the weekend, if you’re happy to make five courses (breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks, dinners or desserts are all possible).
Today we’re looking at that grand storecupboard staple: flavourings, and we’re going to use herbs, spices and more to make our food tastier and healthier.
As humans we seem to be hardwired to find fat, sugar and salt especially tasty, and as fast food and convenience food have taken up more prominence in our diets we’ve collectively been consuming too many of these flavoursome ingredients, often without even realising it. There’s hidden sugar, fat and salt all over the place.
The problem is, once you’re used to eating like this, cutting down can leave your food tasting a bit…cardboardy….at least for a few weeks or months while you get used to natural flavours again.
The good news is that most storecupboards contain lots and lots of ingredients that can make your food taste delicious, so you won’t need to add so much of the unhealthy stuff to get a good flavour.
Here are a few examples of things you might have:
- Herbs such as bay, oregano, marjoram and thyme
- Herb mixes
- Lower sodium ‘salt’, and low salt seasonings
- Low salt vegetable stock or soy sauce
- Longlife lemon juice
- Wine or vinegar
- Sweet spices such as cinnamon or cardamom
- Savoury spices such as ground coriander or smoked paprika
- Spice mixes
- Natural flavourings like coconut, rosewater, orange flower water
- Peanut flour (naturally reduced fat varieties)
You can also get a more creamy flavour into some dishes by adding a little skimmed milk powder, depending on the recipe. Works really well in ice cream. Longlife almond milk works in other dishes too, including breakfast smoothies and mousses.
You might want to try combining these flavoursome ingredients with healthier cooking methods too, such as steaming or cooking ‘en papillote’. That’s French for ‘shove it in a paper bag and throw it in the oven’, but they make it sound waaaay more sexy.
Tonight I think I’m going to be making some coconut, vanilla and chia seed pudding, with some extra almond milk, and just a tiny bit of honey (about a quarter of what most recipes suggest). What doesn’t get eaten right away is going to be eaten for a lazy breakfast in the morning, along with some pears and tinned peaches. Pudding for breakfast rules the school.
Do you have any ingredients that will help you add lots of flavour without adding too much salt, sugar or fat? What are you going to cook up?
That’s it for the week – come back for a September Wardrobe Challenge next week, starting on Monday!