Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Myth: Low-calorie foods I prepare have no taste.

Answer: BUSTED!

Various herbs, spices, peppers to add flavor to meals
Although you might be right, your dishes may just be in need of some flavor boosters. To compensate for the fat, sugar and salt that you may be missing, a few additions may be just what you need. Here are some ideas:

  • Have you heard about Sriracha? It is a hot sauce made with chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. It's low in calories but high in flavor. Here are some ways you can use it to boost flavor: add to low-fat sour cream as a tasty dip for veggies or to low-fat mayo for a flavorful sandwich dressing. Think turkey or vegetarian burgers have no flavor? Add Sriracha to a turkey/vegetarian burger on a whole wheat bun. Tofu not flavorful enough for you? Add Sriracha to your stir fry to bring up the flavor.

  • Sambal oelek is another flavoring that you may not have heard of. It is a chili paste made with salt, sugar and vinegar. Add to a low-fat cheese sandwich for a flavor boost. If you are looking for some new flavor for egg substitutes, add sambal oelek for that extra ‘kick.’ If you are making veggie sandwiches your ‘go-to’ way to get more vegetables in your diet, add this chili paste.

  • Herbs and spices always add that extra flavor boost that dishes need. Some flavors that you may not have tried include smoked paprika and chipotle powder – both add a smoky flavor especially in dishes that are made with little to no salt added.

  • Curry pastes are my favorite flavor to add to stir-fry dishes. They are low in calories but add a nice pop of flavor. You can find pre-made curry sauces in the grocery store but make sure the calories and fat aren’t too high or your stir fry dish will not be as healthy a choice as you might have thought.

Find more healthy food preparation information at

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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