Herbs and spices are not only tasty, they can be nutritious too. They have a great number of vitamins and minerals, and some herbs are even known for their disease-fighting properties.
The main issue we all have with dieting is that most of us associate it with starvation, or at the very least, suffering and deprivation. Herbs and spices keep food tasty, and fresh, as well as wholesome and balanced when we are on a diet.
Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to what we eat without artificial ingredients, salt, sugar, or high fructose corn syrup. Herbs can be particularly healthful if you are trying to cut down on salt for the sake of your heart health or high blood pressure.
One of the easiest ways to get better nutrition on a diet is by not by skipping meals, but by adding a proper breakfast to your day. Thanks to the joys of a microwave egg poacher, you can have a fabulous breakfast in about 30-35 seconds, depending on how runny you want your egg. You can also beat it right in the poacher to make it scrambled. You don’t even have to add oil, so this diet food weighs in at a tiny 90 calories, for about 15 grams of protein, about 1/3rd of what you need in a day.
You can also mix in some herbs for a quick scramble, like dill, parsley, chives, red pepper flakes, and best of all, you can pop it onto and English muffin or piece of bread to have on the go. It is far fewer calories to make it yourself than to by it in a fast food joint, and cheaper too.
To liven up your poached egg, you can also stir in a bit of low fat goat cheese or light cream cheese for a real taste treat or lovely runny mini omelet, for only an extra 50 calories or so and a bit of fat that will help you feel fuller faster and longer. Or you could also add some salsa on top, and even put your egg in a low fat, low carb tortilla for a light homemade breakfast burrito with a bit of fresh coriander, parsley, and some cumin for spice.
With a glass of milk and a piece of fruit you have already covered protein, fruit and dairy in your day, with some greens as well, for a great nutritious start to your day for under 300 calories, far less than any breakfast sandwich you might eat out, and with a lot less salt, sugar and carbs.
You can also use fresh herbs in your home-cooked dishes. Add parsley to meat dishes for a fresh new twist. Try rosemary as well, which has been found to be ideal for lowering the cancer causing properties of some meats, particularly if you rub them with rosemary before grilling.
Try oregano and basil to spice up spaghetti sauce, roasted vegetables, bean and pasta soup, and more. Diet food like beans and vegetables never have to be boring, and you can explore cuisines from around the world with just a few flicks of your shaker. Stir-fried kidney beans with ginger take about 5 minutes and are great over brown rice, and are low in calories, high in protein and fiber, and contain no animal fat.
Herbs contain valuable antioxidants to build the body’s immune system, and they add a variety of tasty flavors that can enhance your meal and cut down on food cravings. The more seasoned variety you have, the less likely you will be to munch out of control because you're longing for something tasty.
Cravings are typically not about being hungry, but seeking a special flavor. Some would even argue that the craving is your body telling you that an essential nutrient is missing in your diet. The key is moderation on a diet, not deprivation. So herbs and spices can also help you with your dessert course too.
For ice cream addicts, add spiced nuts to your dish for an extra boost of heart-healthy nutrients. You can roast them with a bit of honey, and cinnamon or nutmeg for a sweet taste, or cumin and coriander for a more spiced Indian taste, or wasabi and soy sauce for an Asian flavor.
Or, you can make your own fruit based topping with fruit in the microwave, plus some cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, lemon and so on. You can even make your own sorbets and add spices to them to make them more flavorful. Dress up your plain vanilla ice cream without a whole bunch of sugary additives like so called chocolate sauce, which in many cases is just high fructose corn syrup with artificial flavorings. . You can do the same with cakes and pies. A bit of spice added makes for a more satisfying dessert. You can peel and core an apple, roll it in spice, or cut it into wedges and dip them, and just bake the apple for a delicious crust-less apple pie kind of dessert.
Variety is the spice of life. With herbs and spices, you can have all the variety you want on your diet without packing on the pounds.