Spice up your healthy meals

Man cooking at stove

They say variety is the spice of life, and what better way to add enjoyment to your day than by spicing up your meals! They’ll be more delicious and healthier at the same time!

When you’re cooking meals for someone living with diabetes, adding flavour without adding salt and sugar is key. Herbs and spices have few to no calories and provide taste without adding salt, so they are the perfect ingredient to reach for when you want to give your meals a tasty boost.

Always check with your health care team before making any dietary changes. If you get the go-ahead, try making these flavourful additions to your meals, as suggested by Diabetes UK.1

  • Add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Citrus adds a zesty tang to steamed vegetables, broiled fish, rice, salad, pasta and stir-fry.
  • Sprinkle on some smoked paprika. This is delicious on sweet potatoes, and try it in stews, soups and chili.
  • Look for salt-free herb and spice blends. These are becoming more readily available as more and more people look to add flavor to their homemade meals without adding extra sodium. Check out your spice aisle for salt-free Italian seasoning, Tex-Mex seasoning, steak seasoning and more.
  • Make your own spice blends. Visit Diabetes Food Hub for spice blend recipes including Italian, dry rub, Jamaican jerk, Moroccan, Tex-Mex and Curry and make custom blends to suit your family’s tastes.
  • Use fresh herbs. Dried herbs are convenient and delicious, but fresh herbs have a way of adding even more depth of flavour to the dishes you prepare. When you can, try adding fresh herbs instead of dried.
  • Make your own flavoured oils. Herb-infused oils are a great way to add a flavour boost to salad dressings and marinades without adding salt.
  • Add a little extra onion or garlic. Both pack a flavour punch without adding anything unhealthy to your meal.
  • Make your own marinades. Meat, fish and poultry love a good marinade, so use a healthy, plant-based oil, some salt-free herbs and spices and infuse your protein with a tonne of flavour.
  • Add cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. While these each have a reputation for having specific health benefits that could be beneficial to people living with diabetes, research still has yet to prove their efficacy.2 In the meantime, all three can add tons of delicious flavor to your meals.

Until science proves otherwise, it’s wise to look at herbs and spices as flavour boosters, not medicine. But the fact remains that food that smells and tastes delicious is food you’ll want to eat, so by all means add that extra dash of flavor to your healthy, homemade meals and you won’t feel like you’re missing a thing!


1 https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/cooking-for-people-with-diabetes/getting-started/spice-up-your-seasoning
2 https://diabetesaction.org/article-spice

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