Healthy eating has always been a significant part of a healthy regime. They say weight loss is 80 percent food and 20 percent diet for a reason. But that does not mean it needs to taste dull and boring. You can spice up your menu without compromising your healthy eating plan.
How? Well, it’s simple. Low-calorie ingredients – most of which you can find at your local grocery store. They add flavour to your food. Most of these are low in fat and salt. The secret is knowing what seasonings to use in which food. Hence, this blog, today!
15 Healthy Ingredients to add flavor to your food
Try these kitchen tricks to please your taste buds.
Lemon juice can kick flavour into any food with its zesty tang – be it fishes, veggies, chicken or salad. You can use it with salt, pepper and garlic to marinade your chicken and steak. Or simply drizzle it on your veggies.
You can use lemon juice while steaming, grilling and even baking to get your taste buds going. Mix a tablespoon of olive oil with fresh lemon juice, or use it to season your chicken with sautéed garlic.
Raw cucumber contains less than one calorie per slice. Add a slice of cucumber to a water pitcher and you have got yourself a refreshing spa-like beverage. The water will contain not just the flavour but also nutrients like vitamins C, A, K, iron, calcium and potassium.
Take one tablespoon olive oil, two tablespoons orange juice and mix them up. It adds up as the perfect citrus dressing for salads. With only seven calories per tablespoon, orange juice is all about its immunity-boosting vitamin C and the ability to prevent cancer. You can also go for those calcium-fortified orange juices to keep your daily calcium balance in check.
Herbs are good. Using it to season meat and vegetables drastically reduce the need for excess fat and salt to make your food taste good. Use finely chopped, fresh herbs and distribute it evenly on your dish. If you are using dried herbs, crush them with your fingers to release more flavour. Garnish with them at the end. This keeps their flavours intact.
Pepper also adds great flavour to any dish. Be it red pepper flakes, black ground pepper or white pepper, each has an aroma of its own. If you are sceptic about making your meal too hot, go for black ground pepper. But feel free to experiment with red pepper, white pepper and crushed black pepper too. Not to forget, cayenne pepper! Options are many.
From salsa, lemon pepper sauce to the infamous barbeque sauce, there are a lot of these in the market. They are low in calories and a wonderful source of good taste. Just a dab of low sodium soy sauce at times does the trick too. The red hot sauce works great for chicken, pork and beef to add the much-needed flavour to your meal. Mustard sauce is another good addition. Make sure you go for the one with low calories, sugar, and fat.
Salt-Free Seasoning Blends
If you love seasoning blends, go for those salt-free ones. You can save up to 200 mg sodium per teaspoon. They are a great source of flavour which can be easily found on the grocery aisle.
Who does not love Indian spices? Add a tablespoon of your favourite Indian spice over roasted vegetables and eat it with brown rice. Another seasoning is curry. You can add it to tofu, chicken and sautéed vegetables. Some studies suggest curry can help with cognition function and prevent heart disease too.
Cumin seeds have a peppery Middle Eastern flavour which is rich in iron. It can be added as whole seeds or be sprinkled as powder. You can use it to prepare your veggies or on your popcorn bucket for added flavour.
Since ancient time, turmeric is popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can heal digestive problems and relieve pain. Adding half a teaspoon can give a beautiful yellow colour to whatever you cook – rice, beans and soups. It projects a mild aroma and a spicy flavour.
Take a teaspoon each of turmeric powder and olive oil and adds it to chopped onion. Sauté well and add diced zucchini. Serve as a side dish or with rice as the main course. If unwell, you can also add it to your milk.
With two calories per teaspoon, adding ginger to your food is another way to go. It is the best accompaniment for your sushi dinner. It tastes delicious when added to salads. You can also add it to teriyaki sauce while marinating chicken and tofu. Ginger is a huge hit in China and India. People have been using it to treat stomach issues, nausea, vomiting and digestive troubles.
While fresh rosemary contains two calories per teaspoon, dried rosemary contains three. It is a very good source of iron and calcium, and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
In the mood for chicken? Tuck fresh rosemary into a whole chicken before baking for the perfect, delicious aroma. Add two teaspoons of dried rosemary before baking your potatoes or to your veggies before roasting them in the oven.
Unsweetened cocoa powder contains four calories per teaspoon. It contains flavonoids, antioxidants and promotes blood flow. So whenever, you fall for those chocolate cravings, you know what to do now, right? Sprinkle cocoa powder on raw nuts, smoothies, oatmeal, puddings to create your own flavour.
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Add it to your morning cup of coffee, oatmeal, or sprinkle over plain yogurt. It gives out sweeter flavor without adding many calories (two per teaspoon). Benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, stronger heart and lower cholesterol level.
Flavoured Vinegar can be used as a base for pasta salads, salad greens, coleslaw and marinades. With this one you can get as creative as you can.
Try to these ingredients to add flavour and smile. Happy Eating!