When it comes to weight loss and healthier eating, condiments are a calorie count killer. You can prepare a wonderfully healthy meal but once you sit down at the table and start to pile on the butter, sour cream, Bar-B-Que sauce, and the high sodium seasonings, you’ve pretty much undone all the good you did during cooking.
One reason we feel the need to take our healthy meals and assault them of calorie and sodium laden condiments is to enhance the taste. Makes sense, right? So why not use Mother Earths flavor enhancers? Fresh herbs.
The thing I love about fresh herbs is that you can grow them right on your kitchen window. Your kids will love snipping the plants at meal time and the benefits are immeasurable.
Chives, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme are just a few of the common herbs that can be easily grown indoors. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Choose a window in your home that gets approximately 5 hours of sunlight each day. Herbs are native to the Mediterranean and they love their sun. Most homes are kept between 68-74 degrees which is ideal for herbs since their sweet spot is 60-70 degrees.
I recommend buying starter plants instead of seed. Starter plants give you a jump start since they are already in healthy soil and thriving. Seeds require a bit more diligence from the onset.
Make sure to choose a pot or planter that your herbs will enjoy. There are so many options these days that you will be sure to find one that compliments the décor of your home. While “pretty” is important, it is more important that the planter has holes in the bottom for excess water drainage. This will help avoid root rot from overwatering. (Note: remember to place a plate or other item under the planter to catch the excess water.)
You also want your plant to have room to grow so select a pot that is 6-12” deep. How wide your pot is will be up to you. Herbs can be planted in the same pot or in individual ones. That is completely up to you. If space is an issue, one long narrow planter may be perfect for your window sill.
Avoid using your backyard soil for her herbs. Purchasing a store bought potting soil will help minimize the risk of plant disease which herbs are susceptible to catching. Most gardening centers have amazing staff who love to talk all-things-plants and will be happy to help you choose the appropriate soil for your needs.
Now that you have your starter plants, planter, and potting soil, it’s time to start your window garden. Begin by placing soil in the bottom 1/3 of your planter. Gently place your starter plant on top (remove the plastic container it’s in). Add additional potting soil to fill in around the plant. Do not firmly press the dirt but rather lightly press it down into place. Water sparingly until you see a few drops running out of the drainage holes on the bottom.
All that’s left to do is use your imagination. Ground fresh herbs with olive oil make a yummy replacement for your high caloric salad dressing. Greek yogurt and fresh herbs will make an awesome topping for your baked potato. We’d love to hear what creative ways you come up with to use herbs in your final meal prep. Stop on by my Facebook page and let’s start sharing.