About the time I started to get really into cooking was right about the time I was talked into doing some runway modeling. At 5 foot 7 and 120 pounds, I was know as the “short chubby model,” which was equal parts laughably ridiculous and self-esteem crushing. I only did a few runway shows before I realized that this was not a world I wanted to be a part of.
During those brief months of trying to fit into an unrealistic idea of what I was supposed to look like, the only thing of value that I walked away with was a few tricks to cooking healthy. I was never willing or able to starve myself to attain the coveted double zero dress size, I always wanted food that was full of flavor, even if I was cutting back on calories. Even now, several years and about a dozen pounds later, I need to eat. Healthy or un-healthy, my food has to taste good.
Lucky for us, there are a lot of ways to add big flavor that don’t add calories. Even if you aren’t trying to walk a cat walk, (and I would not recommend it, to be honest, it sucks), we all have times when eating healthy is more important to us. But flavor should always be on the top of the list.
- Lime juice–10 calories. Perfect to balance out a spicy dish.
- Chipotle– 2 calories per serving. Huge smokey, spicy flavor for just two calories!
- Garlic– 2 calories. Roasted, minced or dried, it adds a warm bold flavor to any savory dish.
- Chicken broth– 2 calories. Use this instead of water to make quinoa or brown rice for bigger flavor
- Balsamic vinegar– 10 calories. Great on salads for a fraction of the calories of creamy dressing.
- Hot sauce– 1-10 calories. Nothing will kick up the flavor of boring white meats like Franks Red Hot!
- Mustard– 3 calories. A little goes a long way to give a bold flavor to chicken or pork.
- Fresh herbs– 1 calorie. Gives you a bright, fresh flavor that makes dishes more satisfying, plus added health benefits!
- Grill pan– 0 calories or less. This is my go-to! Removes fat from meat and gives you a nice grilled char! I use one similar to this grill pan (affiliate link).
- Smoked paprika– 1 calorie. I use this all the time. It’s warm and satisfying, my favorite spice to add to anything savory! Use it with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt and pepper for an easy, healthy, homemade spice rub!