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Flavour your food the healthy way

Kate Freeman

True or False? Healthy eating is boring.

Years of strict diets has left many people with a poor taste in their mouth – for healthy eating.

A lot of the processed foods that we eat can be high in salt, and processed sugars and fats. This gives these kinds of food huge flavour which is one of the reasons we keep going back for more. When we’re dieting we remove these foods and often find ourselves stuck with boring old chicken and broccoli.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

My main message for healthy eating is to eat as close as you possibly can to the way nature intended. And nature has given us some incredible foods. Foods that add flavour, taste and excitement to our meals, without adding excessive kilojoules from sugar, fat and salt.

Here are 12 ways you can add flavour to your food and keep it super healthy at the same time:

Lemon, mustard and rosemary

Combine the juice from 1 lemon with 2-3 teaspoons wholegrain mustard and ½ tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. Mix together well. Allow chicken or lamb to marinate for about 30 minutes or longer. Cook on a char-grill or BBQ. Serve with a fresh garden salad.

Lemon, basil and garlic

Combine the juice of 1 lemon with ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 crushed garlic clove) and 1 tablespoon each of chopped fresh basil and Italian parsley. Pour over char-grilled vegetables such as zucchini, capsicum, Spanish onion and eggplant. Serve.

Spiced Vegetables

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Toss vegetables (pumpkin slices, red onion quartered, zucchini sliced length ways) in teaspoon of minced garlic and 1½ tablespoon middle eastern spice – Harissa. Place on a baking tray and spray with a small amount of olive oil. Bake in the over for 20 minutes. Serve with couscous or toasted Turkish bread.

Chilli, lemon and rosemary

Mix 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 teaspoons lemon rind, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary. Sprinkle over chicken breast and cook in a non-stick pan or char-grill 2 to 3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with a fresh garden salad or spiced couscous.

Greek marinade

Combine the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 crushed garlic cloves). Add lamb or chicken and marinate for about 4 hours. Barbecue or char-grill and serve with a fresh greek salad and wholemeal flat bread.

Dijon salad dressing

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Combine 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a jar. Shake to combine well. Taste and adjust by adding any of the three ingredients to your liking. Drizzle on a fresh salad or cooked meat.

Balsamic steak 

Combine ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and and 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 crushed garlic clove). Toss steaks in the marinade and cover in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Tasty couscous

Cover ¾ cup of dry couscous with 1 cup of boiled water and 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable stock. Once all the water is absorbed fluff the couscous with a fork and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon cumin powder and ½ teaspoon of paprika. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and then mix through some finely chopped fresh parsley. Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt and any kind of char-grilled meat. Serves 2.

Tomato salsa

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Combine 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoon of finely shredded fresh basil, ¼ Spanish onion finely chopped and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Toss together and serve with grilled fish, chicken or steak. You can also serve it on top of wholemeal or sourdough toast.

Garlic and thyme

Combine 3 teaspoons minced garlic (or 3 crushed garlic cloves), 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind, the juice of half a lemon & a quarter of a cup of fresh thyme leaves. Marinate chicken or lamb covered in the fridge overnight. Cook on the BBQ or char-grill and serve with a fresh salad and flat bread.

Mexican with lime

In the spice isle of your supermarket find a Mexican based spice mix (paprika, cumin, chilli, oregano and coriander). Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of this with lemon juice and a small amount of olive oil. Rub it onto steak, chicken or fish and grill. Serve with natural or greek yoghurt.

Chilli, lime and coriander

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Sauté chilli, garlic and ginger in a hot wok. Add chicken, prawns or vegetables and cook until meat is done and vegetables are soft, but still have some crunch. Remove from heat and toss in fresh coriander leaves and lime juice.

All images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman is a Registered Nutritionist and the founder and managing director of The Healthy Eating Hub. Kate’s healthy eating philosophy is all about whole, fresh foods, being realistic about life and creating long term healthy eating habits. She doesn’t believe in detoxes, fad diets or quick fixes. Once you’ve finished working with Kate, you’ll be empowered to feed yourself well for the rest of you life! More about the Author