5 Ways To Build Flavor Without Adding Calories

Some people think health-conscious food is boring or bland. (Open any pre-packaged portion control meal from the freezer section at your local grocery store and you'll see why.) But the truth is, flavor doesn't always come with extra calories.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to build flavor without adding heavy fats or oils (although some can be exactly what the doctor ordered). Check out the list and see what you might add:

Heat
Even though you might not want to chew on a chili, that doesn't mean you have to shy away from heat. Flavor and satisfaction often come from heat and a little can go a long way. Try new seasonal flavors from your local grocer or grow your own. Try toasting or roasting peppers for extra zip. In addition, spicy greens can also give you something different without the worry of rubbing your eyes with chili oil on your hands!

Acid
Acids are sneaky. Even though it's easy to think about using things like lemons and limes in your cooking, other citrus like oranges or even a basic vinegar can really pack a punch. They're what give most store bought dressings and sauces their kick, so make them work for you too!

Herbs
Herbs are calorie free for the most part and are a sensational way to add a serious zing. Just make sure to bruise tough ones like rosemary to get the most bang for your buck. Plant your own and go crazy with those intense flavors!

Char
Grilling, either indoors or out, is a great way to add something special to your food.

Salt
Although weight loss doesn't usually go hand in hand with salty foods, a sprinkle of good salt (heck, even basic kosher salt) can change a ho-hum dish to a holy moley dish!

Do you have a favorite way to add flavor to your meals? A perfect combo the world needs to know about? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Related: Low-Fat Pesto: Can It Be As Good As the Real Thing?

It's Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by kalajo.

(Image: Sarah Rae)