5 Spices Even A Beginner Should Embrace {With Infographics}


Have you found yourself staring at the rows of colourful spices in the grocery aisle, wondering where to start? 

Do you feel confused about how to regularly incorporate beneficial and flavourful spices into your family's food? 

Do you equate spices with 'ethnic food' and are unsure about whether that's something your family will enjoy day in and day out? 

If you answered yes to any of the above, this post is for you. 

5 Spices For The Spice Beginner

Before we dive into my favourite spices for beginners, here are reasons why ancient, healing spices deserve a prominent spot in our modern kitchens:

1) Spices have a plethora of health benefits. 
2) Spices are all natural.
3) Spices add gorgeous flavour to simple foods.
4) Spices reduce the need for salt and sugar in the diet. 
5) Especially for kids, spices expand palates and result in more adventurous, arguably healthier eating.

In my experience, the following five spices are a wonderful place to start experimenting in your kitchen. They are aromatic, flavour-packed yet mild, health-boosting and pair well with many dishes we all enjoy on a regular basis. 


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Whether you are a beginner or an advanced spice user, I hope these ideas will inspire you to keep experimenting with these magical, natural ingredients. More importantly, offer them to your kids and families for a healthier, more flavourful life. 

Explore delicious spiced recipes to please the whole family:

3 Spiced Smoothies To Smoothen Out Your Mornings

There is nothing easier than a nutritious, delicious smoothie for busy mornings when seconds on the clock feel precious and the tendency is to slather some bread with jam and be done with it. Smoothies are the ideal carrier for healthy ingredients that many, especially kids, find awkward on their own like omega-3 rich chia and flax seeds and gut-healthy probiotic powders. 

To celebrate summer's beautiful produce which is still abundant in markets even though the season has come and gone (sigh), here are 3 nutritious smoothies with a hint of spice for flavour and health. I usually serve them as an accompaniment to a boiled egg for a complete breakfast. Here's hoping these speedy smoothies will inspire smooth mornings for your family. 

Mango Lassi Smoothie
Baby, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
This cardamom-infused Indian restaurant classic gets a healthy makeover with fresh mango, probiotic, protein and calcium-rich Greek yoghurt, honey for natural sweetness (swap for maple syrup for babies under 12 months) and luxurious cardamom, which has anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, digestion-promoting and anti-nausea effects. Mangoes are brimming with carotenoids like alpha and beta-carotene, precursors to vitamin A and potent anti-cancer agents due to their antioxidant free radical-scavenging activities. Vitamin A is especially important for eye development in children. Being fat soluble, it is well absorbed with the full fat Greek yoghurt here. Mangoes also offer a boatload of vitamin C and some B vitamins, particularly folate, which is ultra important in pregnancy. That's my current excuse for inhaling this anyway <wink wink>. 

2 servings

2 mangoes chopped, about 2 cups
1 cup Greek Yoghurt
1/2 cup water
2 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon honey (swap for maple syrup for babies under 12 months)
1/2 teaspoon kid-friendly probiotic powder (optional) 

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Slurp! Freeze for the yummiest, healthiest popsicle treats.


Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Toddler, Kid, Adult


Science Corner
Inspired by decadent strawberry shortcake with rich shortbread, sweet strawberries and whipped cream, this healthy smoothie is so good it's hard to believe it's good for you. It contains protein, fibre and magnesium-rich cashew nuts (for a buttery effect), anti-oxidant and flavanoid-packed strawberries, calcium, protein and vitamin-D fortified whole milk and a pinch of cinnamon. It's so delicious that I'm not lying when I saw this smoothie is honestly hard for me to share with my family <LOL>. Cinnamon has a host of health benefits including anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, cardioprotective, antiinflammatory, cognition boosting, anti-cancer and female hormone cycle balancing effects. And always remember - Ceylon cinnamon with its low coumarin content is the way to go. 

2 servings

1 cup or ~10 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/4 cup whole milk (can use soy or almond milk if necessary but taste will be compromised)
1/4 cup cashews
2 dates
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably Ceylon

Blend all the ingredients until ultra smooth, especially the cashews. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender and blitz a few times. Enjoy for a decadent yet healthy, nutritious breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.

Peaches And Cream Smoothie
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
Peaches are not just juicy summer treats but packed with nutrients like most gifts from mother nature. Peaches have vitamins A and C as well as fibre which is powerful for digestive regularity and for the prevention of type II diabetes and heart disease. Peaches also offer a plethora of anti-oxidants and plant-based phytochemicals that prevent inflammation and cancer. Chia seeds are protein rich and have beneficial omega-3 fats, important for brain health. Vanilla beans were used by the ancient Mayans as an aphrodisiac although modern research hasn't confirmed any benefits in that regard. Vanilla does have some trace vitamins and minerals but most importantly, lends the most beautiful aroma and flavour to this smoothie. I guarantee you will love it. 

2 servings

2 medium to large peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup whole milk (or other milk of choice)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (available at health food stores and perfect for smoothies as it's alcohol-free)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 ice cubes
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

Blend all the ingredients together until creamy. Inhale.