Getting tired of steamed vegetables and that old boring salad? Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be tasteless or complicated when you know how to use flavor boosters that are both extremely low in calories, fat and sugar-free, AND give you added health benefits to boot!
Follow this fun guide to outfit your kitchen so you can make healthy meals that taste great and make sense for your busy lifestyle.
Flavor Booster #1: Hot chilies
Heat up your dishes with a little hot chili. Fresh chopped jalapeno, or a splash of hot sauce on your meal may mean that you’ll eat less. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chillies, not only helps you to burn calories more effectively, but it also tingles your tongue and makes you slow down while you’re eating.
Flavor Booster #2: Ginger
Ginger has a spicy fragrant aroma that can perk up a dish the minute you add it in. Go for fresh ginger root that you’ll find in your grocer’s local produce isle. Peel off the rough gray-brown skin with a potato peeler, then simply mince or grate on a microplane to add to your favorite dishes.
Start with just 1/2 teaspoon since ginger can be strong in large amounts — then increase the amount as you because accustomed to its flavor. Add grated ginger to sliced apples and top with old fashioned oats to bake up a zesty apple crumble. Top with low-cal frozen yogurt or frozen coconut milk.
Flavor Booster #3: Spices
All spices are high on the ORAC scale which means that they have high antioxidant levels — Nature’s way to fight inflammation in your body which can not only keep you from losing weight but can also trigger many illnesses. If you’ve never cooked with spices before, try sprinkle the basic ones on your meals first: think paprika, mild chili, freshly ground black pepper.
Ready for some adventure? Then graduate on to more exotic spices that can really make your meals special — like ground clove, turmeric, and cardamom. These three go well in sweets, add a pinch of each to your hot cocoa or try them on white fish or on a veggie stir-fry.
Flavor Booster #4: Fresh Herbs
Want more flavor with less calories? In place of cheese, butter, or other calorie-dense sprinkles, add freshly chopped basil, parsley, or fragrant cilantro on your meal. You can cut 100 calories or more from your meal.
Confused on how to pair your herbs with food? There is no hard-and-fast rule, but certain herbs are tastier when paired with food that compliment their flavor. So here’s an easy way to think of pairing herbs:
- Basil and parsley are two “basic” herbs that go with just about everything, and you can use them in large quantities.
- Rosemary, thyme and oregano are stronger in flavor and have a harder texture, so use them more sparingly on root veggies, meats, and tougher textured foods.
- Sage is the strongest of all, you can fry it in a little oil to make it mild. Then crumble it on just about anything, like this side of Zucchini with Sage. Otherwise use just a pinch of dried sage in casseroles. Sage also pairs well with mustard and garlic, so combine it for a delectable rub for roasting white meats like chicken and pork.