You've been hitting the healthy eating game hard. Congratulations! You've been cutting out the bad stuff, adding in the good, and counting your calories. Unfortunately, without getting a little creative, this transition can make your meals pretty bland and lifeless. The skinless chicken, mashed cauliflower and dry veggies is probably starting to get old, and we can't blame you.
Before you throw in the towel and dial up your local pizza joint, check out this flavor-boosting roundup. Huffington Post has collected 19 awesome ingredients that can add some serious flavor to any dish!
1. Lemon Juice | Calories: 4 per tablespoon (lemon juice only): This juice is a great way to finish off a dish with zesty tang. "It's delicious over a salad as a citrus dressing (mix one tablespoon olive oil with the juice of one fresh lemon), or season chicken with fresh lemon and sautéed garlic," suggests Lisa Stollman, RDN, author of The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy. Choose fresh-squeezed over the concentrated variety for a natural flavor.
2. Cucumber Slices | Calories: 1 per slice: Peel a raw cucumber and add slices to a water pitcher for a refreshing spa-like beverage. Not only does the flavor of the cucumber enter the water, some of the cucumber's nutrients do too, including vitamins C, A, K, iron, calcium and potassium. Munching on the cucumber slices will of course score you maximum vitamins and nutrients.
3. Orange Juice| Calories: 7 per tablespoon (orange juice only): Add two tablespoons orange juice to one tablespoon olive oil to make a citrus dressing for salads. Orange juice is packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C and may help protect against certain types of cancer. Choose calcium-fortified OJ to help meet your recommended daily calcium intake.
4. Hot Sauce | Calories: 2-5 per teaspoon: Most hot sauces have fewer than five calories per teaspoon, so a few shakes will really kick your dishes up a notch without adding many calories at all. Add it to grilled chicken or air-popped popcorn instead of piling on the salt and butter.
5. Fresh Herbs | Calories: <1 per tablespoon: "One of my ways to add flavor to dishes for nearly zero calories is using fresh herbs," says Devin Alexander, celebrity chef on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and New York Times bestselling author. To make them last longer, rinse with cold water and dry with a paper towel. Then, wrap a paper towel around them and keep them in the fridge in an open food storage bag. When you're ready to use them, just add the leaves to your dishes whole (like bay leaves in a stew) or dice them up and sprinkle them on top to finish a dish or mix them into sauces and soups. "They make for a great presentation in your dishes," Alexander says. "I make sure to always have fresh cilantro, flat leaf and curly parsley in my refrigerator."
Want to get the rest of these low-calorie flavor boosters? Click here to be taken to the original article on Huffington Post.