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
O Lord, forgive your people Israel whom you have redeemed. Do not charge your people with the guilt of murdering an innocent person.’ Then they will be absolved of the guilt of this person’s blood. (Deuteronomy 21:8)
The Lord will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the Lord will erase their names from under heaven. (Deuteronomy 29:20)
Then Joshua warned the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. (Joshua 24:19)
But now, please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.” (1 Samuel 15:25)
Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. (1 Samuel 25:28
l of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. (2 Samuel 14:14)“
My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. (2 Samuel 19:19)
Judgment for David’s Sin But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.” (2 Samuel 24:10)
May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive. (1 Kings 8:30) “
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