When you hear about cutting back on calories, does it conjure up images of bland food and constant hunger? The good news is, flavor does not necessarily have to mean more calories. Here are some tips on how you can cut calories and keep – or even improve – the flavor of your favorite foods.
It’s been said that hunger cues may actually be thirst cues in disguise. When you feel hungry and it’s not time for a meal or healthy snack, reach for a drink. Water is good, but if you can drink something flavorful without calories, it may be more satisfying in staving off hunger. Try lemon juice, water, and stevia (or your non-sugar sweetener of choice), or add sparkle to unsweetened juice with carbonated water.
Did you know that most pickles have virtually no calories? Sweet pickles, of course, do have calories since they have sugar in them. But dill pickles, banana pepper rings, pickled green beans, and so forth are generally almost free of calories. Snack on these when you feel the urge for something strongly flavored and salty.
You can also mince or slice pickles to add flavor or heat to food without adding calories.
Explore Calorie-Free Condiments
Mustard, hot sauce, and horseradish are just some of the strongly-flavored condiments that are almost calorie-free. Another option that is low in calories is salsa. You can buy jarred salsa or make your own using fruit or vegetables. The flavors can be quite varied and creative.
Lemon juice can be treated as a condiment. It’s very low in calories and adds bright, tart flavor to many otherwise bland dishes, such as plain rice. You can also toss steamed vegetables with lemon juice and a little olive oil.
Cook with Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are just the thing to add flavor to dishes without adding fat or calories. Whether fresh or dried, adding on herbs like basil, oregano, garlic, and dill or spices like cumin, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon can really give your dishes a creative, flavorful kick.
Clear versus Creamy
Many calorie cutters eat a lot of salad, and that’s good; but loading salads with thick, creamy salad dressings kind of defeats the purpose. Instead, use a simple oil and vinegar combination. You can add flavorful herbs like minced garlic or use dried, packaged dressing mix to add to your oil and vinegar. The flavor burst can be intense, especially if you go heavy on the vinegar and sprinkle on a little coarse salt…but the calories are still low.