Diabetes Diet: Flavor Enhancers That Qualify As Free Foods

Free foods are those that do not affect our blood sugar levels. Some free foods are crunchy or chewy edibles, such as cucumbers, but others function as flavor enhancers.

Free foods have fewer than 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving. Several can be eaten in moderation, as often as desired, but other free-foods have daily portion limits.

Free Foods: Flavor Enhancers

To keep snacks and meals interesting here are seven flavor enhancing free-foods that diabetes conscious cooks may want on hand.

  • Broth. Broth adds a tremendous amount of flavor to our meals, and fat-free broth or bouillon can be consumed in moderate amounts as often as wished. However, some people should purchase low-sodium, or sodium-free versions since a serving of packaged broth may contain half our recommended daily sodium limit.
  • We can enrich the flavor of grains such as couscous, or quinoa by cooking them in broth, and veggies may be sauted in broth instead of oil. It’s also simple to load a broth-based soup with favorite spices, herbs, and chopped vegetables.
  • Vinegar. Vinegar ratchets-up any meal’s flavor without adding calories, sodium, or fat. It can be used in moderate amounts, often as desired.
  • Red wine vinegar is the perfect choice for perking up grilled veggies—sprinkle it on just before serving. Balsamic vinegar complements the taste of sliced tomatoes, leafy greens, or strawberries, and vinegar-herb mixtures make tasty meat marinades. People enjoy dipping fries (baked, of course) in malt vinegar, or eating whole grain breads splashed with flavored varieties.
  • Fresh Herbs. Fresh herbs add negligible calories to meals, but provide a mother lode of antioxidants. When recipes call for dried herbs, we need to substitute two to three times the called for amount with fresh herbs—since dried herb flavors are more concentrated. Fresh herbs should be added during the final minutes of cooking to maintain their potency.
  • Rosemary sprigs can serve as savory skewers for meat or veggie kabobs, and chopped cilantro does well in salsas, fruit salads, soups, and casseroles. A sandwich of fresh basil, mozzarella, and sliced tomato creates a delightful lunch, while vegetable, and grain (e.g., bulgur, quinoa) dishes are mouthwatering with fresh mint and parsley added.
  • Spices. Like fresh herbs, spices are full of antioxidants, and can be used in moderate amounts as often as wished. The creative use of spices - from subtly sweet to pungent, or peppery - can eliminate the need for salt, butter, or sugar in many dishes.
  • Hot cereal and baked fruit taste great dusted with cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg. Curry powder perks up egg and chicken salads, lentil, and rice dishes, while ginger jazzes up roasted sweet potatoes or carrots. A dash of cayenne pepper gives zest to meatloaf, soups, and pastas.
  • Horseradish, Wasabi, Hot Sauce. Wasabi, horseradish, and hot sauce add an eye-watering kick to our cuisine. Use these flavor rockets in moderate amounts, as often as desired.
  • Plain yogurt makes an interesting sandwich, meat, or potato spread when its laced with wasabi, or horseradish, and a few drops of hot sauce turn ground meat, egg, pasta, rice, and bean dishes into taste bud teasers.

  • Mayo, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream. The free food portions of these creamy condiments are: one teaspoon of reduced-fat mayonnaise made with olive or canola oil, one tablespoon of fat-free cream cheese, and one tablespoon fat-free or low-fat sour cream.
  • Whole grain crackers spread with cream cheese, and topped with salsa, or sliced turkey makes a satisfying snack. Give mayonnaise a lift by adding basil, garlic, or curry powder, and a spoonful of sour cream complements many foods, including tomato bisque soup.
  • Lemon or Lime Juice. The juice, or zest of limes and lemons can be used in moderate amounts, as often as liked. Fresh lemon or lime juice is best since it has more flavor and nutrient value than bottled versions.
  • Steamed, grilled, or roasted green vegetables are delicious drizzled with lemon juice. Lime juice with cilantro, cumin, garlic, or other favorite spices creates a zesty marinade. Citrus juice is also great on fruit salads, leafy greens, and baked fish.

No meal need be dull with these free taste enhancers on hand, and they don’t count toward anything—except flavor.

Source: Diabetic Living

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