Clean Doesn’t Have to Mean Bland
Noora Kuusivuori shares her secrets for turning bland food into clean eats bursting with flavor
Let's talk about flavor. You know how to eat clean and what to put in your body to stay healthy, right? Hopefully lean proteins, different vegetables and clean carbohydrates are already staples in your diet and you are getting the maximum results from your workouts by feeding your body right. Although energy levels will be noticeably better when you eat clean, a lot of people view "diet food" as flavorless and bland, and they end up going back to food that they think tastes better but isn't as clean. I live on clean foods as a lifestyle and make sure that my meals taste as good as they are for me.
So what are some things that you can do to add flavor to your clean eats? There are a million ways, so don't be scared to experiment a bit. Key to this is to read the food labels when you are choosing condiments and flavorings, and choose low/zero calorie and sugar-free options. If you love BBQ sauce, you might have been avoiding it if trying to eat clean because you know that most are full of sugar and calories. Well, here’s the good news: there are now calorie and sugar-free options out there like the several flavors made by Walden Farms.
To give a lot of flavor to my proteins, I cut up my chicken and turkey breasts into small pieces, evenly sprinkle on the flavor that I'm in the mood for, cover with foil and put it in the fridge for a while before baking in the oven to allow the flavors time to soak up. Sometimes I use a chicken seasoning, sometimes I use Frank's Buffalo Sauce, which is calorie free, but it gives that spicy buffalo chicken wing flavor. Other favorites are a combination of a low-calorie salsa and a ton of fresh cilantro or a little bit of Chipotle Tabasco for extra spice and a smoky flavor. The same flavors can be used for fish as well. A few other things that I like to do with my fish are add a fresh dill and lemon combo, or just simple lemon pepper.
How about condiments? You can now purchase both ketchup and mustard in calorie- and sugar-free varieties. I get mine mainly from Whole Foods and Sprouts. They also have other calorie-free products such as pancake and blueberry syrup to top your oatmeal protein pancakes with. Walden Farms even makes a Chocolate Fudge that is calorie free and tastes heavenly with a few fresh strawberries if you are craving a clean dessert.
As far as the vegetables, Mrs. Dash makes many amazing flavors now that really give great flavor without the sodium! I have all the flavors and pick the one that sounds good for each meal keeping boredom at bay. I make my broccoli taste like a treat with some calorie-free spray butter and the garlic and onion Mrs. Dash.
What about the carbohydrates? Oatmeal becomes a tasty breakfast with a scoop of vanilla protein powder and a little cinnamon. As far as sweeteners go, I prefer Truvia. I make yams into sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon and Truvia, and then bake them in the oven.
Experiment with your flavors. We have so many healthier options available now that your food never has to taste bland again, even if you are getting ready to step on a competition stage. Keep it flavorful and you'll stay much more satisfied keeping unhealthy cravings away.
I would love to hear what you do to flavor your clean eats and what some of your favorites are.
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