Thankfully, adding calories is not the only way to add flavor to food. Nature has given us a variety of ingredients that can turn a blah dish into a gustatory delight without abandoning your diet. In fact, these little jewels add pack a punch of healthy benefits as well as flavor, so use them often and in whatever quantity you like.
Garlic is the quickest way to add a kick to many savory dishes, from entrées to vegetables. If bread is part of your diet, and you relish the thought of eating it without butter, try roasting some elephant garlic and using it as a creamy spread—absolutely delicious
Lemon and Lime
A sprinkle of citrus adds freshness and awakens the natural flavors in many dishes. Use it on chicken, fish, lamb, vegetables and in homemade salad dressings to add a little life.
Herbs and Spices
The array of herbs is endless: from the common basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley to the less common herbs de Provence, cilantro, sage, tarragon, etc. Diets should be an adventure and they provide a great excuse to experiment. Try to use fresh spices. They’re easy to grow in season, and the essential oils found in fresh spices have proven health benefits. If you have to use dried spices, be sure to crumble them between your fingers to release some of the essential oils.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice are terrific spices to spice up winter vegetables, especially squashes, and to add to your ground coffee. Expand your horizons by experimenting with some of the spices that you haven’t used in cooking: anise, turmeric, saffron, ginger, etc.
Peppers – Playing with Fire
Peppers are guaranteed to kick up your mealtime. Whether you add sweet bell pepper or some of the hotter peppers on the Scoville scale (habanero, Thai, cayenne, etc.) or anything in between, you’ll not only add a little kick, but your body will receive the documented benefits of capsaicin: lowered blood sugar levels, improved circulation and reduced inflammation, not to mention clearing the sinuses!
Vinegar and Mustard
When you think of oil and vinegar as a salad dressing replacement, you may think, “BLAH! I’d rather just skip the salad.” That’s because you haven’t experimented with making your own salad dressings. You’ll find an endless array of vinegars, from champagne to red wine to raspberry and citrus varieties. Each, paired with an appropriate oil, produces an entirely different flavor. And, don’t forget balsamic vinegar, which makes a great reduction to top grilled asparagus!
If you’re used to relying on mayo (high in fat) or ketchup (high in sugar) to flavor meats, try mustard, a vinegar-based condiment, instead. Steer clear of sweet mustards; you’ll still have a huge variety from which to choose. Mustard is low in fat, and most are low in sugar. You can also add mustard to chicken and vegetable stocks to make creamy sauces when you sauté chicken and fish.
Dieting and eating healthy are not life sentences to plain, unappetizing food. In fact, if you adopt a sense of adventure, it might just introduce you to some of the most flavorful food you’ve ever eaten. Incorporate one or more of the suggestions above, and awaken your taste buds to new and different ways of healthy eating.
“5 Ways to Add Flavor Without Adding Calories”