Add a Little Spice for Good Health

Throughout nutrition school, spices have come up over and over again as an easy and affordable way to enhance the nutritional value and flavor of even the most basic meals.  I have some great tips to share for using spices to up the nutritional value of your meals, the health benefits of some of the super spices and a few recipes to get your started.

Using Spices to Up the Nutritional Value of Your Meals:

Herbs and spices can be used in hundreds of combinations to add a variety of rich and delicious flavors to any meal.  These flavors reduce our need for less desirable ingredients like sugar, salt and bad fats.  They also enhance the taste of bland foods, like oatmeal and quinoa, making them appealing and allowing us to customize their flavor to different palates.  But that’s only the beginning.  The health value of spices isn’t just in their flavoring ability.  It’s actually in the spices themselves.

Many herbs and spices are extremely rich in antioxidants at levels equivalent to some of the most popular super foods. Antioxidants help support our immune system and reduce inflammation in the body.  This is important because inflammation has been found to be the root of many diseases in the body from allergies and arthritis to cancers and heart disease.

Learning to use more spices in the kitchen is an easy and affordable way to up the nutritional value of your meals, support your immune system, help reduce inflammation in the body and even boost metabolism.

If your spice rack is currently limited to salt and pepper here’s a list of the super spices to get you started.  Focus on adding more of these to your meals and you’ll be off to a great start.  Each spice is also a link to a great recipe.

Meet The Super Spices:

Tips for Using More Spices:
  1. Keep some of your family’s favorite spices along with a variety of other condiments on a lazy Suzan in the middle of the table.  Let them flavor simple dishes like roasted veggies, brown rice, quinoa or chicken to meet their own taste palate.  It’s a great way to start teaching your kids the basics of flavor.  Plus, my kids are more likely to try something when they’ve been given some control over it.
  2. Replace seasoning packets for things like tacos and ranch dressing with fresh spices.  You’ll get less sodium, no preservatives and an enhanced flavor.  Check out this recipe for homemade taco seasoning.
  3. Experiment and be creative.  When you find flavor combinations you love try them on different things.  Spices aren’t just for meats and soups. They do amazing things to popcorn, teas, coffees, even homemade ice cream.
  4. For more tips and recipes using some of the super spices check out McCormick’s on Facebook.

If you’re heading to FitBloggin next weekend, you can join me and the team at the McCormick’s headquarters for an educational tour of their kitchens focusing on the benefits of spices for healthy everyday cooking.  I’m so excited to learn new ways to experiment with some of the super spices as we work our way through a variety of stations including the basics of flavor, cooking demos, and  flavor as a proven part of wellness and healthy living.

If you’re going to FitBloggin and will be available Thursday, Sept. 20 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. you should definitely join us!  Register for the McCormick’s event at FitBloggin here.  

I’ve never considered myself a great cook, but as I learn to play with spices I’m discovering a whole new world of flavors and finding it easier to customize meals to my family’s taste.  I’ll be sure to share all my new tips and tricks after the McCormick’s event.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your favorite spices and how you use them to add antioxidants and flavor to your favorite dishes.

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