Something that is brought to my attention over and over when it comes to preparing food, eating healthy, and sticking to a consistent meal plan is the lack of flavor or the “boring” flavor of food especially when following a regimented plan day in and day out. A woman once told me that she would rather band her head against the wall than eat another chicken and rice meal lol. Let me tell you it doesn’t have to be boring, you just have to be creative with how you flavor your food. Now that does not mean you have to use sauces, marinades, and seasonings that are loaded with fat, sugar, salt and other not so pleasant ingredients, it means using staple items that maybe you forgot about. Here is a list of 10 ways to add flavor to your food (and please your taste buds) for 10 calories or less!
Orange Juice- Adding 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice to olive oil for salad dressing or drizzling over a piece of fresh salmon (even bake with a couple orange slices on top) is absolutely delish! Plus orange juice is loaded with vitamin C and helps your immune system fight over the funk. There are 5 calories per tablespoon for orange juice.
Fresh herbs- One of the best ways to add flavor without adding calories is to use fresh herbs when roasting, baking, and grilling. Try fresh chopped cilantro mixed with lime juice served on your chicken or add fresh basil to your salad mix. Try oregano in your farro grain or sweet mint mixed in your ice water. They are easy to add to any dish for no calories. Plus they are easy to grow!
Instant Coffee and Espresso Powder- These products are great low-calorie ways to add flavor to your smoothies or protein shakes (think chocolate mixed with coffee YUM). You can also mix them into your yogurt, sprinkled on top of your almonds or even added to your morning oatmeal pancake!
Calories per teaspoon for instant coffee powder are 4 while there are 0 per teaspoon of espresso powder.
Cocoa Powder- Satisfy chocolate cravings and add some sweetness to your meals with cocoa powder! Try adding cocoa powder to raw almonds, cashews and walnuts, or add a dash to oatmeal, rice, and sweet potatoes. Cocoa contains flavonoids (antioxidants that help prevent inflammation and promote blood flow). There are about 4 calories per teaspoon.
Cinnamon- I LOVE CINNAMON! It is perfect when you need something on the sweeter side. Add cinnamon to your oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes or sprinkle it over nuts. Studies have shown cinnamon to have anti-inflammatory benefits, cardiovascular benefits and possible cholesterol-lowering benefits. Plus there are only 2 calories per teaspoon.
Turmeric- This spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to aide in digestion and also relieve pain. Add one teaspoon turmeric and saute with diced zucchini or eggplant. Mix in with your quinoa or rice or rub your chicken with turmeric for a succulent flavor. There is one calorie per teaspoon.
Sautéed Onions and Garlic- To add flavor to plain veggies, proteins or grains, sauté two tablespoons of finely diced onions and two teaspoons garlic with cooking spray. Then add fresh chopped veggies (think broccoli, green beans, sugar snap peas, peppers, spinach and kale). These flavor-packed vegetables are delicious as a side dish or can be mixed with 1 cup of whole quinoa. There are 9 calories for the two combined.
Fresh Ginger- If your only experience with fresh ginger is when it accompanies your sushi dinner, it’s time get acquainted with this fabulous root. Ginger is delicious when grated and added to salads, or add chunks with olive oil as a marinade for tofu or chicken. Ginger has been shown to treat issues like upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and other digestive issues. There are 2 calories per teaspoon.
Flavored Vinegar- Flavored vinegar's are a great way to add sweetness (or savory) without calories. Most people stock white, balsamic, cider and/or red wine vinegar in their cabinets, but why not try a port or champagne (or even a blueberry) vinegar as a base for pasta salads, marinades, coleslaw and regular salad greens. There are about 5 calories per tablespoon.
Cumin- Cumin powder (or seeds) have a nutty, almost peppery flavor and can be added to dishes as seeds or ground up. This iron-packed spice is an awesome addition to chicken and can be tossed on popcorn for a savory snack! There are 7 calories per teaspoon.
Now go out and give it a try!