As registered dietitians, when people come to us and want to get leaner and healthier, we typically notice two road blocks that most people are faced with when it comes to achieving their goals. The first difficulty usually surrounds snacks (click here to see how to prevent this from being your pitfall). When it comes to the second road block, it usually occurs after work, post- workout or at dinner-time. This is when people are tired and hungry (especially if they didn’t have a good snack) and grab take-out or a quick dinner at home that is high in calories and leaves out the good stuff, like nutrients to refuel workouts. Many people don’t know where to even begin trying to create a meal that’s healthy and tastes good, and when they’re dealing with a growling stomach after a long day it isn’t the best time to think about it. The truth is that healthy, nutrient packed meals can be prepared in moments and don’t need a lot of slaving over the stove to make them tasty. Simply knowing a few easy secrets can make all the difference.
There are a handful of simple tricks that add tons of flavor to healthy foods—and you don’t have to be a star in the kitchen even though you’ll feel like you are! Simply start with the lean protein (like chicken or turkey breast, fish or eggs); veggies (all vegetables work great and are nutrient and antioxidant-packed to aid in muscle recovery) or wholesome carbohydrate (like quinoa or whole grain pasta or brown rice) and merely, bake, sauté, roast, etc.. From there, just add delicious flavorings/seasonings. They are an easy way to make healthy foods taste great—and they bring out the flavors without packing in the calories or preservatives. Here are some spiced-up ideas to flavor the foods you may find bland without using unhealthy additives and artificial preservatives.
• Vinegars: From balsamic and fruity raspberry, to coconut vinegar, flavored vinegars add a great twist. Add a splash of these ultra-low-calorie flavors to your salads, veggies, lean proteins like fish and poultry, and healthy, high-fiber grains. You can also kiss creamy jarred dressings like ranch and heavy sauces like alfredo goodbye—along with their fat and calories—as you enjoy these vinegars on their own or add a teaspoon of olive oil, lemon and spices for a tasty twist.
• Flavored Sea Salt: Sea salts are very flavorful, so just a tad is needed. Plus Sea salt has bigger crystals so there is less salt in a serving than other salt because it has less volume. Gourmet Nut Himalayan Pink Salt, Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt and Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt are an easy and inexpensive way to add a lot of flavor with a simple sprinkle and they just hit shelves at GNC! Each salt has a different flavor too – try the Himalayan Pink Salt with lean grilled or roasted meats.
• Ripe tomatoes – use to flavor sauces, add garlic and fresh herbs for extra taste..
• Citrus fruit juices such as lemon and limes – add a great zesty flavor to fish, chicken and pork (use the grated rind for even more flavor and texture).
• Oregano: Perfect in pizza, tomato sauces, Greek salads, fish or lamb dishes, omelets and vegetables
• Basil: Ideal on tomatoes or tomato sauce and pasta dishes
• Bay Leaves: Yummy in casseroles, soups and pates
• Try this easy dish of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken by simply lightly steaming your favorite veggies and grilling, sautéing or baking chicken breast and then adding a dash of Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt or Smoked Sea Salt, which breathe so much life and delicious flavor in it!
The Nutrition Twins work with Gourmet Nut to help people enjoy healthy foods.