Spice mixtures add flavor without significant calories
One of a nutritionists’ best tips to clients, is to keep blends of spices pre-made in your pantry, so you can “rub” meat or fish before cooking, coat beans to add flavor, or add a punch to yogurt when making a tangy dip. Ethnic spice mixtures allow you to enjoy the delicious flavors native to certain regions of the world, without the calorie burden that can accompany creamy, oily versions of Italian, Indian and other ethnic recipes. Just make the mixes ahead of time and store in well closed mini plastic bags, or small plastic or glass sealed containers.
Italian: 1 teaspoon each of garlic, dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano plus 1 cup of marinara sauce
Mexican: 1 teaspoon each cumin, dried onion, dried oregano, ½ cup fresh cilantro + 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Indian: 1 teaspoon each of dried garlic, dried onion, curry powder, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Asian: 1 teaspoon of dried garlic, 2 bunches of scallions, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon of dried ginger, and ½ cup of low salt soy sauce
Middle Eastern: 1 teaspoon each ground dried garlic, dried onion, ground cumin, ¼ cup fresh mint, tiny pinch of saffron and ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt.
(Source: IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips, November/December 2013)