Healthy Seasoning Alternatives That Won’t Break the Bank

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Seasoning adds flavor and depth to meals that elevate the dining experience. However, many commercially available seasonings contain excessive amounts of sodium, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients that can negatively impact overall health. As a result, frugal and flavorful seasoning alternatives have become increasingly popular. These options offer the opportunity to add depth and richness to dishes without compromising health. But with so many choices, it can be challenging to know where to start. In this article, we will explore the best frugal yet flavorful seasoning alternatives and provide tips for incorporating them into your cooking repertoire.

Why Go For Alternatives?

Why Go For Alternatives?
When it comes to seasoning our dishes, our first instinct is to grab the salt shaker or the trusty bottle of seasoning blend. But have you ever considered the impact excessive salt and processed seasonings can have on your health? With so many frugal yet flavorful alternatives available, it’s time to explore healthier options for seasoning our meals. By doing so, not only can we improve our health but also cut costs in the long run. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons why it’s worth seeking out healthy seasoning alternatives and how it can benefit us in the kitchen. Looking for more budget-friendly tips to improve your health and wellness? Check out our article on meal planning on a budget.

Why Excessive Salt is Not Good for You?

Consuming excessive amounts of salt is not good for our health. Here are a few reasons why:

  • High blood pressure: When we consume too much salt, our body retains water to balance the salt concentration in our blood. This leads to the increased volume of blood, putting added pressure on our heart and blood vessels. Over time, this can lead to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, which is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
  • Dehydration: While excess salt can cause water retention, it can also lead to dehydration. This is because our body needs to use additional water to flush out the excess salt. This can cause us to feel thirsty and fatigued, and if left unchecked, may lead to more serious health problems.
  • Kidney issues: Our kidneys are responsible for filtering out excess salt from our body. When we consume too much salt, it can overwork our kidneys and potentially lead to kidney damage or disease.

To avoid these health problems, it’s important to watch our salt intake and use alternatives as much as possible. You can find some great budget-friendly and healthy pantry essentials here, as well as some tips on cooking with seasonal produce to save money here. Also, check out our article on healthy substitutions for expensive ingredients for more ideas on how to eat healthily without breaking the bank.

How Processed Seasonings Affect Your Health?

When it comes to seasoning your food, it can be tempting to reach for the processed seasonings in your pantry due to convenience. However, these seasonings are often high in salt, sugar, and artificial flavors and preservatives, and can have negative effects on your health.

Consuming excessive amounts of salt from processed seasonings can increase blood pressure, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Processed seasonings often contain hidden sources of sugar, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

Artificial flavors and preservatives found in processed seasonings may also have negative impacts on your health. Some studies have linked these additives to headaches, allergies, and ADHD symptoms in children.

To avoid these negative effects, it is best to opt for healthier alternatives when seasoning your food. By using fresh herbs, spices, and other natural flavorings, you can add delicious flavor to your meals without compromising your health. Check out our affordable healthy meal prep ideas, which include lots of flavorful seasoning alternatives.

Here’s a table summarizing the negative effects of processed seasonings on your health:

Processed Seasoning Negative Health Effects
High salt content Increases blood pressure, risk of heart disease and stroke
Hidden sources of sugar Contributes to weight gain and other health issues
Artificial flavors Linked to headaches, allergies, and ADHD symptoms
Preservatives Can have negative impacts on overall health

By choosing to use healthy seasoning alternatives, such as fresh herbs and citrus fruits, you can improve the flavor of your meals without sacrificing your health. Check out our budget-friendly recipes and zero-waste cooking tips for more ideas on how to incorporate these alternatives into your meals.

The Best Frugal Yet Flavorful Alternatives

The Best Frugal Yet Flavorful Alternatives
When it comes to cooking healthy, the first thing that comes to mind is bland and tasteless dishes. But who says you can’t have both healthy and flavorful food? Luckily, there are plenty of affordable and delicious alternatives to processed and high-sodium seasonings. Let’s explore some of the best and most economical options that will give your meals a punch of taste without compromising your health.

1. Herbs and Spices

When it comes to frugal yet flavorful seasoning alternatives, herbs and spices are at the top of the list. Not only do they add a burst of flavor to dishes, but they also come with a host of health benefits. Here are some of the best herbs and spices to consider:

  • Cumin: This earthy spice is great for adding depth to dishes like chili and roasted vegetables.
  • Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric adds a beautiful golden hue and warm flavor to soups, stews, and rice dishes.
  • Basil: This fragrant herb is perfect for adding to tomato-based sauces, soups, and salads.
  • Paprika: Whether sweet or smoked, paprika adds a lovely, subtle heat to dishes like roasted chicken and potatoes.
  • Cinnamon: Not just for sweet dishes, cinnamon adds a warm and cozy flavor to savory dishes like roasted vegetables and stews.

These are just a few examples of the many herbs and spices available for seasoning your food. Experiment with different combinations and find your favorites. Not only do they add flavor, but they can also reduce your reliance on salt and processed seasonings.

2. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can be an excellent addition to your cooking as a seasoning alternative. They not only add flavor but also provide a generous amount of vitamin C, which is essential for boosting your immune system. Here are some citrus fruits to consider incorporating into your dishes:

Citrus Fruit Flavor Profile Best Used In
Lemon Tart, acidic Salads, marinades, dressings, sauces, and baked goods
Lime Tangy, acidic Mexican dishes, seafood, marinades, dressings, and cocktails
Orange Sweet, citrusy Salads, marinades, dressings, sauces, and baked goods
Grapefruit Tart, slightly bitter Salads, cocktails, marinades, dressings, and sauces

Apart from being used as a seasoning for your dishes, citrus fruits can also be used to make homemade vinaigrettes or marinades. To make a simple citrus vinaigrette, mix together fresh lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can adjust the sweetness or sourness to your preference by adding more honey or lemon juice.

You can also use citrus fruits to add an extra kick of flavor to your water. Simply slice a lemon or lime and add it to a pitcher of water with some mint leaves or cucumber slices for a refreshing and healthy drink.

Opting for citrus fruits as a seasoning alternative can also be a great way to cut down on added salt or sodium in your dishes. So the next time you’re looking to add flavor to your cooking, consider reaching for a citrus fruit instead of processed seasonings.

3. Homemade Seasonings Mixes

When it comes to seasoning your dishes, making your own spice blends can be a great way to add flavor without breaking the bank. Plus, you have control over the ingredients and can make sure that they are healthy and fresh. Here are some homemade seasoning mixes that can be great alternatives to store-bought seasonings:

Seasoning Mix Ingredients Usage
Taco Seasoning Chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried oregano, salt, black pepper Use to season ground beef or turkey for tacos, burritos, or nachos
Fajita Seasoning Chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper Use to season chicken, beef, or vegetables for fajitas
Pumpkin Pie Spice Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice Use to spice up pumpkin pie, pancakes, or oatmeal
Italian Seasoning Dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram Use to season pasta sauce, salad dressing, or roasted vegetables
Ranch Seasoning Dried dill, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried chives, salt, black pepper Use to make homemade ranch dressing or to season roasted potatoes or chicken

These homemade seasoning mixes can be easily customized to your personal taste preferences. Additionally, by using fresh herbs and spices, you’ll be adding more flavor and nutrition to your meals. Experiment with different combinations and use them to create tasty and healthy dishes.

4. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent seasoning alternative that is both nutritious and flavorful. This yeast is a type of deactivated yeast that is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent addition to your diet.

Benefits of Nutritional Yeast:

  • Low in calories, fat, and sodium
  • High in protein, fiber, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12, and minerals such as zinc and magnesium
  • May help boost immune function and reduce inflammation
  • Contains no gluten or dairy, making it suitable for people with dietary restrictions

Nutritional yeast is a great ingredient for adding a cheesy and nutty flavor to your dishes, making it an excellent alternative for cheese. It can be used as a topping for popcorn, salads, pasta dishes, and more, or as a main ingredient in sauces and dips.

How to Use Nutritional Yeast:

  • Sprinkle it over dishes for a cheesy and nutty flavor
  • Add it to sauces, dips, and dressings for a creamy texture and savory taste
  • Mix it with breadcrumbs as a coating for baked or fried foods
  • Use it as a vegan alternative to Parmesan cheese

Nutritional yeast can be easily found in health food stores or online. It usually comes in large containers, but a little goes a long way, so it is a cost-effective option for seasoning your meals.

Nutritional yeast is a tasty and nutritious alternative to processed seasonings and cheese. It is easy to use and can be added to a variety of dishes to enhance their flavor and nutrient content.

5. Soy Sauce and Fish Sauce

Two popular seasoning alternatives that are not only flavorful but also affordable are soy sauce and fish sauce.

Soy Sauce Fish Sauce
Commonly used in Asian cuisine, soy sauce is a fermented condiment made from soybeans and roasted wheat. It has a salty umami taste and adds depth to savory dishes such as stir-fries, marinades, and soups. Also a staple in Asian cooking, fish sauce is made from fermented fish, salt, and water. It has a pungent aroma but adds a unique salty and savory flavor to dishes. It is often used as a dipping sauce or mixed into curries and stews.
Soy sauce is relatively low in calories and provides small amounts of protein and iron. However, it is high in sodium, so it should be used in moderation, especially for those with high blood pressure. Fish sauce is also low in calories and a good source of protein and vitamins B12 and D. However, it is also high in sodium so should be used with caution.
Soy sauce can be found in most grocery stores and is available in different varieties such as light, dark, and low-sodium options. Look for brands without added preservatives or MSG. Fish sauce can also be found in most grocery stores, usually in the Asian section. Look for brands that use only fish, salt, and water as ingredients.
When cooking with soy sauce, a little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and taste as you go. It can be used as a marinade, a seasoning for stir-fries, or a dipping sauce for sushi. Fish sauce should also be used sparingly. It can be mixed into dressings or marinades, or added to soups and curries for an extra burst of flavor.

While soy sauce and fish sauce are great alternatives to processed seasonings, it is important to use them in moderation due to their high sodium content. Look for brands with simple, natural ingredients, and experiment with different ways to incorporate them into your cooking for added flavor without compromising on health.

Where to Shop For Healthy Seasonings?

Where To Shop For Healthy Seasonings?
When it comes to shopping for healthy seasonings, there are a variety of options available to you. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to purchase healthy seasonings is by shopping online. With a few clicks of a button, you can order a wide range of herbs, spices, and other seasoning alternatives from various online retailers. Some popular online stores for purchasing healthy seasonings include Amazon, Thrive Market, and Whole Foods Market.

If you prefer to shop in person, you can visit natural food stores, health food stores, and farmers markets in your local area. These stores often offer a variety of fresh, organic herbs and spices, as well as other unique seasoning options such as nutritional yeast and homemade seasoning mixes.

Another great option for finding healthy seasonings is to grow your own herbs and spices. You can easily grow a variety of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, and cilantro in your own backyard, or in a small indoor garden. This not only ensures that you are using fresh, organic seasonings in your cooking but it also helps you save money in the long run.

No matter where you decide to shop for healthy seasonings, it’s important to look for options that are minimally processed, low in sodium, and free from additives and preservatives. By incorporating healthy seasoning alternatives into your cooking routine, you can add flavor to your meals while also improving your overall health and well-being.

How to Use Alternatives In Your Cooking?

If you’re new to using alternative seasonings in your cooking, it can be a bit intimidating at first. But with a little bit of experimentation and practice, you’ll quickly discover that there are many ways to add flavor to your meals without relying on excessive salt or processed seasonings.

Experiment with Different Herbs and Spices

One of the simplest ways to get started with alternative seasonings is to try experimenting with different herbs and spices. Whether you’re looking to add a little bit of heat to your dishes with cayenne pepper or paprika, or you’d prefer to use herbs like basil or thyme to add a subtle depth of flavor to your meals, there are countless options to choose from.

Use Citrus Fruits to Add a Tangy Twist

Another great way to add flavor to your meals is by using citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges. Squeezing fresh lemon juice over grilled chicken or fish, for example, is a simple yet delicious way to add a tangy twist to your meal.

Make Your Own Seasoning Mixes

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making your own seasoning mixes at home? You can easily create your own blends of spices and herbs to suit your personal tastes, and you can save money by buying your ingredients in bulk.

Experiment with Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast may not be the most commonly recognized seasoning, but it can add a delicious umami flavor to your meals. It’s also a great source of B vitamins and protein, so it’s a healthy alternative to traditional cheese and other dairy products.

Try Using Soy Sauce and Fish Sauce

Soy sauce and fish sauce are both excellent alternatives to salt, and they can add a savory flavor to your dishes that’s hard to resist. Whether you’re stir-frying veggies or marinating meat, these sauces are a great way to add a punch of flavor without adding excessive salt.

Ultimately, the key to using alternative seasonings in your cooking is to experiment with different flavors and find what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and remember that a little bit of seasoning can go a long way towards making your meals more delicious and satisfying.


In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the types of seasonings we use in our cooking. Traditional seasonings like salt, sugar, and processed mixes can have negative effects on our health, including high blood pressure, increased risk of chronic diseases, and decreased nutrient intake.

However, there are many frugal and flavorful alternatives available to us. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor without adding extra sodium or sugar. Citrus fruits can brighten up a dish and add a tangy flavor. Homemade seasonings mixes can be tailored to your specific taste preferences and also be a cost-effective way to spice up your meals. Nutritional yeast is a tasty and nutrient-dense option that can be used as a topping or seasoning. Soy sauce and fish sauce can add depth of flavor to your dishes.

When shopping for healthy seasonings, look for options that have minimal added ingredients and are ideally organic. The best places to find healthy seasonings are at natural food stores or farmers’ markets.

When using alternatives in your cooking, experiment with different combinations and flavors to find what works best for you. Remember to use seasonings in moderation and be mindful of any allergies or dietary restrictions.

Overall, making the switch to healthier seasonings can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. By incorporating these frugal yet flavorful alternatives into your cooking, you can enjoy delicious meals without sacrificing your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common examples of herbs and spices?

Some common examples of herbs and spices include basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, and paprika.

Can citrus fruits be used as a seasoning alternative?

Yes, citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and orange can be used to add flavor to dishes without excessive sodium or processed ingredients.

How can homemade seasoning mixes be prepared?

Homemade seasoning mixes can be prepared by combining herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients such as onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a container and mixing them together well.

What is nutritional yeast and how can it be used as a seasoning alternative?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is sold in the form of flakes or powder. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor and can be used to add flavor to dishes such as soups, stews, and roasted vegetables.

Are soy sauce and fish sauce healthy seasoning alternatives?

Soy sauce and fish sauce can be used as seasoning alternatives in small amounts, but they are high in sodium and should be used in moderation.

Where can I buy healthy seasonings?

Healthy seasonings can be purchased at health food stores, specialty stores, and some grocery stores. Online retailers such as Amazon also offer a wide selection of healthy seasoning options.

How much of a seasoning alternative should I use in my cooking?

The amount of seasoning alternative to use depends on the recipe and personal preference, but it is recommended to start with a small amount and adjust based on taste.

Can herbs and spices be used to replace salt in recipes?

Yes, herbs and spices can be used to replace salt in recipes, especially when using bold flavors like cumin, paprika, or garlic powder.

What are the health benefits of using natural seasoning alternatives?

Natural seasoning alternatives like herbs, spices, and citrus fruits can add flavor and nutrients to dishes without the negative health impacts of excessive sodium and processed ingredients. They can also help reduce inflammation and boost immunity.

What are some tips for incorporating seasoning alternatives into my cooking?

Some tips for incorporating seasoning alternatives into your cooking include starting with small amounts, experimenting with different flavor combinations, and being mindful of the overall sodium content of your dish.