The following items improve the flavor and nutrition content of everyday dishes:
- Purchase a variety of spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of foods and reduce sodium in recipes. Seasoning blends are especially nice for beginner cooks and people looking to streamline the food preparation process. Store all spices and herbs in a cool, dry place (preferably far from the stove and oven!).
- Keep nonstick pans and cooking spray available for quick, nutritious meal preparation.
- Canola oil is a good choice for baking because it is flavorless. Olive oil is ideal for salad dressings and as a dip for bread and rolls. Both types are mainly monounsaturated fats. Peanut, walnut, flaxseed (linseed), avocado, and many other gourmet oils can add pizzazz to your dishes—use all oils in moderate amounts.
- Mustard, ketchup, low-sodium soy sauce, marinades, salsa, olives, pesto, and light salad dressings are flavorful additions—monitor the amount to keep sodium in check.
- Lemons, limes, flavored vinegars, and bottled minced garlic and ginger are high-flavor, low-calorie choices—use liberally in your favorite dishes!Purchase 100% whole-wheat flour for your baking needs—you can substitute it for part of the all-purpose flour in many recipes. Whole-wheat pastry flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour in most recipes and provides a light texture with whole-wheat goodness.
- Look for whole-wheat pancake and waffle mixes—great alternatives to regu- lar quick baking mixes!
- Find ground flaxseed meal in the specialty flour section of many grocery stores. Store it in the freezer or refrigerator to keep those healthy omega-3 fatty acids fresh longer. Sprinkle on cold or hot cereal or toast, stir into yogurt, or use for part of the fat in homemade baked goods.
- Keep nonfat dry milk powder on hand to boost calcium in soups, stews, hot cereal, and smoothies (also comes in handy for “end of the week” milk needs!).
- Keep a bag of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, and so on) in the freezer for adding to salads, cereals, baked goods, yogurt, homemade trail mix, and even for coating fish and chicken before baking!