“I’m so sick of boneless, skinless chicken breast”, is one of the most common complaints in the world of nutrition. Coming in a close second are the typical “plain oatmeal tastes like sawdust” and “egg whites are boring”. When you’re eating the same thing day in and day out, yes, you will get bored of it. However, when you’re progress-oriented and have a specific goal in mind, these typical bodybuilding foods like chicken, egg whites, oatmeal, brown rice, cod, tuna, asparagus, broccoli, etc., are often the best bang you can get for your macronutrient buck. Fortunately, you can completely transform the taste a food you’ve grown bored of without sabotaging the nutrition, thanks to herbs and spices!
Herbs and spices are some of the most useful tools that a nutrition-conscious chef can utilize, so stock up on them. Here are some tips on how to season the most common bodybuilding foods so you’ll never get bored.
While they also sell a lot of herbs and spice blends out there, they are not always readily available at the store, and the choices may be lacking, especially if you are sticking to low-sodium or sodium-free spice blends. Making your own spice blends is great, especially if you already have a lot of spices on hand because many of these blends use the same ingredients over and over again.
Savory Foods: Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, Eggs and Egg Whites, Fish, Veggies, Rice, etc.
Tips: Also season with a little salt (pink Himalayan sea salt is awesome) and pepper for optimal flavor. For each category, use some of the spices, or all of the spices, depending on what you have on hand. If you are cooking fish, always include lemon pepper or fresh lemon as it works wonders in fish recipes.
-Classic: Rosemary, thyme, garlic powder
-Italian: Garlic powder, basil, parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, crushed red pepper
-Mexican: Cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, paprika, cilantro, lime
-Greek: Dill, garlic powder, lemon, oregano, mint
-Cajun: Paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
-East Asian Style: Ginger, garlic, lemon-pepper, turmeric, five-spice
-Thai Style: Ginger, lemongrass, cumin, garlic, coriander, thai chili
-Indian Style: Curry powder, ginger, turmeric, garlic, garam masala
They also sell a lot of herbs and spice blends out there, which are awesome too, but if you need some tasty food in a pinch, you’re more likely to have these common herbs and spices on hand. Plus, many of these blends are incredibly high in sodium. Some common brands that are actually salt-free are Mrs. Dash and Mccormick Perfect Pinch Salt-Free. If you can find these, go for it.
Sweet Foods: Plain, Steel-Cut, or Old-Fashioned Oatmeal, Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, etc.
Tips: If you really like sweet flavors, add stevia to impart a sweet taste without adding carbs. If you like a little salty flavor in your oats, add a dash of salt. For each category, use some of the spices, or all of the spices, depending on what you have on hand J
-Cinnamon Roll: Cinnamon, vanilla extract
-Chai Spice: Cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, cloves, cardamom (a little goes a long way with these last two, a tiny dash would be plenty)
-Cocoa: Cocoa powder, vanilla extract
-Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg
-Coffee: If you enjoy the flavor of coffee, adding a splash of black coffee to your morning oatmeal or yogurt is a good way to get that flavor. Sugar-free coffee creamer (comes in a bunch of different flavors) is also delicious in oatmeal and makes it super creamy and delicious.
Trying new spice blends is an awesome way to stay on track!
If you would like to work with one our nutritionists contact us through our website or call 732-462-LEAN(5326)
Written by: Emily Ventura BS Public Health