What do you think of when you hear the word 'diet'? Eating the same lunch time salad every day? Grilled chicken with steamed vegetables, packed with nutrients but lacking in flavour? It's true that when you're trying to eat healthily, it's much easier to fall into a bland-food rut, which only serves to make fast food, salty snacks and sweet treats all the more tempting.
But you don't need to cut out flavour to maintain a healthy diet. After all, what's the point in living longer if you can't enjoy your meals? By making a few smart choices and learning a couple of handy kitchen tricks, you can both eat healthy and eat well.
Top quality meat
If you're a natural born carnivore, don’t feel like you have to give up your favourite cuts. You can still eat the meat you love in a healthy way. It's all about the quality of the meat, and the best way to get high quality meat to your dinner table is through online fresh meat delivery.
Companies like The Dorset Meat Company specialise in delivering high quality, ethical meat direct to your front door at a date and time chosen by you. All their produce comes from free range, 100% grass fed animals, slowly raised on one of twenty small, family-run farms in Dorset and Wiltshire, prepared by master butchers.
Because of their natural diet, the meat the animals produce is lower in fat and calories than the grain fed meat you often find in a supermarket, and is bursting with vitamins and minerals, as well as more intense flavour. Happier animals make tastier meat.
Try new herbs and spices
Speaking of intense flavour, it's time to get over any fears you have of strong spices. Spicy doesn't necessarily mean hot, it just means rich in flavour, so start experimenting.
If you find that your soups, stews and roasted veggies are bland and watery, add a hit of curry powder to deepen the flavour and make your taste buds sing. Herbs de Provence bring a light, summery flavour to grilled meat and fish. Toasted Nigella seeds are great for adding a slightly nutty, smoky taste to curries and stir fries that aren't quite hitting the mark.
There are literally hundreds of spices available to buy at the supermarket or on your local high street, from all across the globe, so stock up and start expanding your culinary horizons.
Experiment with sauces
Sauces can make an otherwise boring meal worthwhile. Settling for a quick bowl of pasta tonight, or thinking about what to do with that leftover chicken breast? Experiment with a new sauce recipe, or venture outside your comfort zone by buying a bottled sauce you've never tried before on your way home from work. You might accidentally stumble upon a new favourite dish.
Start adding citrus
You'll be amazed how much difference one ingredient can make. If your stew is turning stodgy, or soup too heavy, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to instantly lighten and brighten it. Citric acid cuts through fat, meaning it can bring many over-rich dishes back from the brink.
And it's not just the juice you should use. The zest is where the favour really lies. Add it to grilled meat and fish, marinades, salad dressing, desserts and smoothies for an extra kick.
Balance your flavours and textures
Every professional chef will tell you that contrast is the key to success. Two seemingly opposing flavours can actually complement one another, helping you to appreciate the flavours of both. Chinese cuisine does it all the time with sweet and sour flavours, so do the same yourself. Add a few berries to a fish dish, serve a sweet naan bred with a savoury curry, or sprinkle a more savoury herb over a strawberry dessert.
Do the same with texture too. A few nuts or seeds in a salad, or crunchy veg in a stew can make the whole dish much more interesting, and therefore far more enjoyable.