A healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring. Start with nutritious ingredients, such as whole grains, lean meats, and plenty of vegetables. Then use herbs and spices to jazz up your meals.
“Herbs and spices add flavor without salt,” says Jessica Crandall, RD, a dietitian in Denver. Even better, you can often make flavorful blends with ingredients you already own. “It’s helpful to have a list of spices that go with certain foods so you can season your meals easily.”
Use this spice cheat sheet to make a handful of versatile blends. Start with 1 to 2 teaspoons of each spice, and add more to taste. For grains, add spices to boiling water before grains are cooked for the biggest flavor impact.
Italian Blend: Basil + Oregano
Sweet basil and savory oregano create a classic Italian flavor. Use equal parts for a blend that works well in marinara sauce or on fresh tomato slices.
Roast Blend: Rosemary + Sage
Use equal parts rosemary and sage to season any roast: chicken, pork, or lean beef. You can also use this blend on baked chicken or grilled eggplant.
Tex-Mex Blend: Chili Powder + Cumin + Paprika + Oregano
Never buy packaged taco seasoning again. Use these spices to give any dish a Tex-Mex flavor. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you want more heat.
Asian Blend: Ginger + Garlic + Red Pepper Flakes
When you want Asian-inspired flavor, skip the soy sauce, and use equal parts of these spices instead. The blend is great on stir-fries or steamed vegetables.
Indian Blend: Curry + Cumin
Give your dish an Indian flair with these warming spices. Add red pepper flakes if you want more heat or garlic powder for savory flavor.
Sweet Blend: Cinnamon + Nutmeg
Swap sugary syrup in your coffee for this blend. Start with equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg, and adjust to your liking. Try it on sweet potatoes instead of butter, too.