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Add a flavour hit… without salt, sugar or fat

For meals bursting with flavour, there’s no need to reach for the salt or the sauce bottle. Consider these healthier alternatives.

Turmeric

This yellow spice is a natural anti-inflammatory, rich in protective antioxidants. Add fresh or ground turmeric to curries or other savoury dishes for great flavour, or add some grated fresh root to smoothies.

Lemons

Cut down on salt by adding vitamin C-rich lemon juice to your cooking to enhance the flavours. Add it at the end of cooking to minimise the loss of vitamin C, and use the zest as a refreshing garnish.

Wholegrain mustard

Add a teaspoon or two of tasty mustard to accompany your roast meat, chicken or fish. It’s low in kilojoules and doesn’t have the added sugar and salt found in most store-bought bottles of sauce.

Woody herbs

Woody herbs, such as rosemary, sage and thyme, add earthy, salt-free flavouring to dishes, imparting their flavours over a longer cooking time compared with their soft-leafed cousins.

Balsamic vinegar

A splash of balsamic vinegar over roasting root veges provides a delicious natural sweetness. Or you can use it by itself as a dressing for greens. The acidity of the vinegar helps to slow the digestion process and lower the glycaemic index of a meal, helping you feel fuller for longer.

Chilli

Did you know chillies are high in vitamin C? (See more on chillies here.) Add them to a meal, fresh or dried, for a flavour punch that beats opening a sugary-sweet bottle of chilli sauce.

Bring a dish alive!

Herbs and spices do more than add exotic flavour to meals — in fact, they’ve been used over many centuries for their great variety of medicinal properties.

A 2010 study found herbs and spices to have the highest antioxidant content of all fresh foods — about 300 per cent higher than berries, and 3,600 per cent higher than vegetables! Antioxidants help fight the damage that stress, pollution and an unhealthy diet put on our bodies.

Of course, we can’t eat huge amounts of spices in one go, but they are a brilliant way of improving the health and flavour of ordinary meals without adding salt, sugar or fat.

First published: Oct 2016



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