Working as a Holistic Nutritionist part-time at a health food store I get a lot of customers asking, "Does eating healthy taste good?" Just because you’re cutting back on certain foods doesn’t mean you have to cut back on flavour. Here are some healthful and delicious ways to liven up your meals.
Anchovies Rich in omega-3s, these tiny fish add depth to vinaigrette (see ** for details), marinades, sauces, and sautéed vegetables. Look for jars of walk-packed fillets, which when rinsed will actually taste less salty, or those packed in extra-virgin olive oil.
** Omega-3 Vinaigrette - whisk together 18 oil-packed sliced anchovies, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, 2 teaspoons chopped shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
Citrus A fresh squeeze of lemon or lime adds just the right amount of acidity to round out most any dish, savoury or sweet. The grated zest is equally flavourful.
Dried Pepper Red-pepper flakes and ground dried chili peppers, add a nice kick. Incorporate them into all sorts of savoury dishes, or sprinkle them over a snack of avocado and lime juice.
Finishing Oil Nut and seed oils (walnut, hazelnut, avocado, and pumpkin) drizzle them over finished dishes *they break down quickly when heated, so it’s best not to cook with them*
Fish Sauce A staple of Southeast Asian cooking, this fermented sauce is a good source of protein and B vitamins when used in moderation (it’s high in sodium). Look for an all-natural, first-press fish sauce without added water, preservatives, or MSG, which are often found in second- and third-grade varieties.
Fresh Herbs (my favourite) Aim to include fresh varieties of herbs in every meal. They have many health benefits (e.g. for inflammation, which will be my next blog post, stay tuned) and are a delicious way to enhance any dish.
Ground Seeds Grind seeds like flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder or clean coffee mill, then sprinkle over everything from salads to breakfast porridges.
Miso This protein-rich fermented soybean paste imparts a savoury taste the Japanese call umami (also called “the fifth flavour”). It comes in three varieties: shirt (white), aka (red), and awase (mixed). I prefer the mild taste of shiro.
Nori Sprinkles These have higher levels of minerals than sheet nori, making them a nutritious addition to many savoury dishes. Sprinkle over soups and salads, or incorporate into sauces, dressings and dips.
Salt It’s hard to think of an dish even a dessert - that isn’t improved by a sprinkle of salt. Opt for sea salts such as gel gris, fleur de sel, flake salt (such as Maldon), and Hawaiian sea salt. Himalayan salt is particularly rich in minerals and is believed to be one of the least processed salts available.
Tomato Paste Boost the flavour of savoury dishes with this concentrated tomato puree. For an even richer flavour, cook it in olive oil until deep red and caramelized. Freeze leftover tomato paste in ice-cube trays for later use (transfer to resealable bags once firm).
Vinegar Keep an assortment on hand to brighten virtually all manner of savoury dishes. Varieties include: red wine, white wine, sherry, balsamic, apple cider, and rice vinegar.
I have listed all-natural substitute flavour enhancers to liven up your healthy meals. If you would like to stay up-to-update with our blog post be sure to subscribe to our website and you won’t miss our blog post. We source the best information to help you with your “holistic” approach for living and cooking.