The holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year to resist salty, fatty, sugary foods. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the special dishes and treats that evoke memories and meaning — especially during the pandemic? Physical distancing and canceled gatherings may make you feel that indulging is a way to pull some joy out of the season.
But stay strong. While it’s okay to have an occasional bite or two of marbled roast beef, buttery mashed potatoes, or chocolate pie, gorging on them frequently can lead to weight gain, and increased blood pressure, blood sugar, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Instead, skip the butter, cream, sugar, and salt, and flavor your foods with herbs and spices.
The bounty of nature’s flavor-makers go beyond enticing tastes, scents, and colors. Many herbs and spices contain antioxidants, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds that may help control blood sugar, mood, and inflammation.
Amp up holiday foods with herbs and spices
Try flavoring your foods with some of the herbs and spices in the list below. Play food chemist and experiment with combinations you haven’t tried before. The more herbs and spices you use, the greater the flavor and health rewards. And that’s a gift you can enjoy all year through.
Allspice: Use in breads, desserts, and cereals; pairs well with savory dishes, such as soups, sauces, grains, and vegetables.
Basil: Slice into salads, appetizers, and side dishes; enjoy in pesto over pasta and in sandwiches.
Cardamom: Good in breads and baked goods, and in Indian dishes, such as curry.
Cilantro: Use to season Mexican, Southwestern, Thai, and Indian foods.
Cinnamon: Stir into fruit compotes, baked desserts, and breads, as well as Middle Eastern savory dishes.
Clove: Good in baked goods and breads, but also pairs with vegetable and bean dishes.
Cumin: Accents Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes, as well as stews and chili.
Dill weed: Include in potato dishes, salads, eggs, appetizers, and dips.
Garlic: Add to soups, pastas, marinades, dressings, grains, and vegetables.
Ginger: Great in Asian and Indian sauces, stews, and stir-fries, as well as beverages and baked goods.
Marjoram: Add to stews, soups, potatoes, beans, grains, salads, and sauces.
Mint: Flavors savory dishes, beverages, salads, marinades, and fruits.
Nutmeg: Stir into fruits, baked goods, and vegetable dishes.
Oregano: Delicious in Italian and Mediterranean dishes; it suits tomato, pasta, grain dishes, and salads.
Parsley: Enjoy in soups, pasta dishes, salads, and sauces.
Pepper (black, white, red): Seasons soups, stews, vegetable dishes, grains, pastas, beans, sauces, and salads.
Rosemary: Try it in vegetables, salads, vinaigrettes, and pasta dishes.
Sage: Enhances grains, breads, dressings, soups, and pastas.
Tarragon: Add to sauces, marinades, salads, and bean dishes.
Thyme: Excellent in soups, tomato dishes, salads, and vegetables.
Turmeric: Essential in Indian foods; pairs well with soups, beans, and vegetables.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
Acts 4:18-31 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
2 Chronicles 25:19 “You said, ‘Behold, you have defeated Edom.’ And your heart has become proud in boasting. Now stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, would fall and Judah with you?”
1 Samuel 2:3 “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
Micah 2:3 Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity From which you cannot remove your necks; And you will not walk haughtily, For it will be an evil time.
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