10 Spice Shortcuts To Make Healthy Foods Taste Great

by Jackie Wicks

(This is something I pulled from my upcoming book The Cheat System Diet, which has now cracked the best seller list in the diet and weight loss category on Amazon. There is a LOT to the book, and I want to give you some samples from the different sections over the next few days.)

One of the best ways to lose weight and love you food is to discover what flavors and spices you love. What is it that you love about the taste of pasta meat sauce?

To replicate the flavor of a tasty Italian sausage sauce you can use tomatoes with basil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and red pepper flakes in a recipe for a healthy tomato soup that tastes like the sauce you love.

It’s really easy to use spices to create delicious meals that taste similar to those bad-for-you “Cheat” foods. And once you start to use the spice shortcuts listed here, you will develop a sense of what works together to make meals taste great.

Feel free to experiment with your spice rack and your must-have condiments. These spice combos make anything taste great!

  • Fresh lime, cilantro and red pepper flakes for Mexican-inspired meats, soups, fish and vegetables
  • Lemon, olive oil and fresh garlic for Mediterranean-style fish or salads
  • Mustard, olive oil and lemon for grilled vegetables, salads and chicken; you can give this a little kick by using spicy mustard instead of yellow
  • Cilantro, Avocado, and lemon puree, which adds a crisp flair to vegetables and salads.
  • Cumin, turmeric and ginger for a Middle-Eastern, Indian-inspired mix to chicken, beans and meat.
  • Curry powder or Muchi Curry (available at Whole Foods) for Indian flavors.
  • Ginger, garlic and red onion, which is great for all meats. This is the base used for Chicken Tikka.
  • Oregano, basil, and thyme for Italian-inspired meals great for vegetables, chicken and fish.
  • Wasabi, lemon and ginger for Japanese-inspired fish, and vegetables like asparagus and broccoli.
  • Coconut milk, red pepper flakes, lime and onions for Thai-inspired dishes, and great for meats, vegetables and fish.

You can also use these spices to make easy salad dressings. A favorite of mine is Magic Lime Dressing, which I think is quite delicious and incredibly versatile, only has 3 ingredients: the juice of 2 limes, a pinch of salt, and 4 shakes of red pepper flakes.

Though you can add ¼ of avocado or some olive oil to it, that’s not necessary to make a delicious dressing for any salad or as a sauce to top protein like chicken or fish.

Remember, the most important thing is that you learn and you understand not only how to make great tasting, nutrient-rich foods when you are at home cooking, but also how to find those same meals out and about during your day. If you find that you like tomatoes and onions and avocado, you will start to look for those combinations when you are at restaurants and you will find them!

You’ll start to see yourself eat better because it’s easy to do when those foods are in your fridge. You will feel more full because you are eating nutrient-rich foods, and you’ll take small steps to make vegetables taste better than you ever imagined. You will discover flavors that you never thought you’d like—and that you’ll soon love.


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