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Ten Ways to add BIG Flavor for 10 Calories or less

Ten Ways to Get Big Flavor for 10 Calories or less

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.

Jackie Dodd headshot

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.

Ten Ways to Get Big Flavor for 10 Calories or less

  1. Lime juice–10 calories. Perfect to balance out a spicy dish.
  2. Chipotle– 2 calories per serving. Huge smokey, spicy flavor for just two calories!
  3. Garlic– 2 calories. Roasted, minced or dried, it adds a warm bold flavor to any savory dish.
  4. Chicken broth– 2 calories. Use this instead of water to make quinoa or brown rice for bigger flavor
  5. Balsamic vinegar– 10 calories. Great on salads for a fraction of the calories of creamy dressing.
  6. Hot sauce– 1-10 calories. Nothing will kick up the flavor of boring white meats like Franks Red Hot!
  7. Mustard– 3 calories. A little goes a long way to give a bold flavor to chicken or pork.
  8. Fresh herbs– 1 calorie. Gives you a bright, fresh flavor that makes dishes more satisfying, plus added health benefits!
  9. 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).
  10.  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!

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addie | culicurious February 14, 2014 um 11:28 am

I love this list, Jackie. I use many of these items frequently to add flavor. A little soy sauce or tamari is also a great way to addd flavor without lots of calories, assuming one can handle the salt. 🙂 Cheers!


Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen February 17, 2014 um 8:35 am

Loved this post Jackie! And, you’re right – very easy to get big flavor with just a few ingredients!


Maggie February 19, 2014 um 7:57 am

I am obsessed with Paprika. Every time I use it everyone asks as they stuff their faces, "what’s in this?" That makes me happy. So simple! Also, obsessed with great salt. It’ll change you life.


Kitchen Belleicious February 25, 2014 um 7:49 am

what great tips! They are all so useful and easy too! The right ingredients and the freshest ingredients are all you need for big flavor. You nailed it


RavieNomNoms February 28, 2014 um 8:13 am

Love your list! Some people don’t realize how big flavor can be with just a few small changes!


Aqiyl Aniys April 4, 2014 um 9:15 am

i love the use of lime juice, fresh herbs, and mustard the most.


Lisa August 1, 2015 um 8:50 am

I’m always stunned when i read a recipe with two gloves of garlic for a pounds of meat. I’m not garlic shy.


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