One of the biggest struggles to sticking with any healthy eating plan is to keep food flavorful and interesting while also low calories and healthy. This can be a challenge on the Mediterranean diet because, even though you are eating fresh food, the palate often needs a change from monotony.
Luckily, there are a range of flavorings that not only complement the foods you eat on the Mediterranean diet, but also provide health benefits of their own. Here are a few that pack a lot of flavor without adding a lot of extra calories.
1.) Balsamic vinegar is a versatile flavor that perfectly compliments fruits and vegetables while still being very low in calories and lower in sodium than other condiments like soy sauce. It can be used as a base for many salad dressings and marinades.
2.) In savory dishes, chicken broth is a tasty substitute for high fat butter and oils and can even be purchased in a lower sodium variety for those that are monitoring their salt intake. Chicken broth serves as the base for low calorie sauces as well.
3.) Fresh parsley is not only low in calories, but also a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and iron. This herb can be used as a topping for salad or cooked with proteins like chicken or fish.
4.) Mustard comes in many different varieties and adds an intense shot of flavor without piling on additional calories, but be aware of any additional sugar that might be lurking in sweeter types of mustard. This condiment can be used as a marinade, whisked into a salad dressing, or used as a dipping sauce.
5.) Cinnamon has been found to help stabilize blood sugar levels which can prevent spikes and crashes that make you feel artificially hungry. While traditionally cinnamon is used in baked good and sweet foods, it can also be used as a shot of spice in savory dishes as well.
Sample Menu: The following sample menu shows just a few examples of how using low calories flavorings can perk up your meal plan.
Yogurt with cinnamon flavored granola
Grilled Dijon mustard chicken
Seafood Paella made with chicken broth and parsley
Balsamic fruit salad with walnuts