Savor the Flavor!

Linsey Johnson - Nutrition & Physical Activity Peer Educator, UND Health & Wellness Hub

Everyone has their own definition of healthy eating, we always hear people talking about they’re new trends and practices to lose weight or become healthier. Ultimately everyone is going to do things differently because we are all unique and have our own goals. As National Nutrition Month is now upon us it is important to think about some small improvements we can make in our lives that may have a bigger impact than we think. The theme of National Nutrition Month this year is Savor the Flavor.  Sometimes we do not realize that seasoning basic foods themselves can not only save them money, but it can also save calories and greatly cut back on sodium intake.

It is important while grocery shopping to realize the small modifications we can make to optimize flavor while reducing fat, sugar and sodium. The other day I was grocery shopping and I grabbed a microwavable package of rice without realizing it was teriyaki flavored. After looking at a little closer (since it was a product I have not tried before), I realized that the teriyaki flavored compared to the unflavored rice almost had eight times the amount of sodium. This made the decision easier that I would just season the rice at home. Sometimes people do not make these observations until it is too late or they do not realize it at all. It is important to always check the nutrition label for sodium, fat and sugar content because these are areas that can have serious health implications.

Spicing your own foods can seem overwhelming at first. It is difficult to know whether or not certain spices always taste good with what you are making. Luckily, we have resources to help us decide what goes well with certain food groups. Most the time when I am trying something new I try to look it up on the Internet and make variations of multiple recipes. If I am really confused about if something will taste good or not, I call my mom. When it comes to spicing things it is important to realize that the options are endless and creativity is key. It takes practice to know what tastes good, so the more we do it the easier it will become!

Getting to know your spice rack: Spices to use when cooking certain food groups

Vegetables (stir fry): Black pepper, red pepper, season salt, basil, sage, thyme, cloves, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, parsley, rosemary, sage, ginger

Fruits: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mint, thyme

Grains (pasta & potatoes): Basil, celery seed, chives, coriander, dill, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Meats: Basil, chives, dill, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, mint, rosemary, parsley, sage, pepper, season salt, thyme