In order to get lean, you have to stay consistent with your food. But we all know that sticking to your nutrition plan can be really tough if you’re eating boring grilled chicken everyday!
Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland. I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep my meals interesting is to play around with spices, seasonings and sauces. However, the important thing to remember is that the sodium in seasonings can add up quickly. Here are some of my favorite healthy spices and sauces.
Look for Salt-Free Options
Most of us grew up thinking that salt-free is basically flavor-free. Not true! There are many delicious no-salt spices out there, particularly the Salt-Free line from Mrs. Dash. My favorite Mrs. Dash no-salt seasonings are Southwest Chipotle, Tomato Basil and Hamburger. They all have zero salt but tons of flavor! Johnny’s Garlic is one of my favorites as I use it in just about everything.
If you can get around under 100mg of sodium from every 1/4 teaspoon serving, that’s a good place to start. Weber’s Bold Chipotle has 100 mg of sodium (Sam’s Club) and is another great seasoning to try. Johnny’s Garlic (Costco) has 60 mg of sodium. The Simply Asia blend you see above (Costco) is another good option with 80 mg of sodium. I’m also a big fan of any Kirkland seasonings (Costco).
Natural seasonings with little to no salt in them are the best. Fresh onion, cilantro, jalapenos, shallots, lime, paprika, garlic and ginger are all delicious natural flavors to play with. When you can’t do fresh seasoning, keep your pantry stocked with some pre-packaged seasoning blends such as an Italian seasoning, chopped onion or garlic powder.
Hot, Hot, Hot!
I’m half Brazilian, so for me, the spicier the better! I love Sriracha but it does contain sodium, so use it in moderation. Another favorite of mine is the TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce (can be found inside a – Chipotle – Mexican Grill – restaurant); anything chipotle-flavored is amazing to me! Use that sparingly as well; you can get into the 1,000s of mg of sodium quickly if you pour this all over your Chipotle salad/brown rice bowl (which already has a lot of sodium). By the way, Chipotle Mexican Grill has the best tasting healthiest meals from any upscale fast food place ever! Pre-workout or post-workout, you can eat there. Try that pepper sauce out!
At the end of the day, I’d rather have more sodium than unnecessary fats and additional carbs. No matter what type of sauces you love, just be sure to check the nutrition facts. You don’t have to avoid your favorites if they contain sodium – just use them sparingly.
Sriracha Nutrition Facts
Mix it Up
Variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to mix it up! Create your own perfect blend for chicken, steak and turkey. Keep containers of your favorite special seasonings and sauces to shorten your weekly food prep time.
The right seasonings do a lot to keep your healthy diet interesting and delicious. Keep your spices in stock without blowing the bank by checking out farmers markets or buying them in bulk. To learn more about keeping your food costs down, read my blog post about Eating Healthy on a Budget.
To your health!