Despite the crazy late snowstorms in the east, it’s nearly gardening season again for much of the Western Hemisphere! And one of the simplest produce to grow, even in an apartment, are herbs. They don’t take up too much space and have a great fresh flavor that brings the garden right to your table.
Weight loss bonus: While fresh herbs add plenty of zing and zest, they don’t add calories. So, don’t be shy to generously toss them in with your favorite foods and beverages to satisfy cravings. They deliver full flavor without damaging your waistline.
Here are the top 10 most powerful ‘weight loss’ herbs to add some personality to your meals and drinks:
1. Sweet Basil
This fragrant herb has a savory flavor with a bit of a bite. Sweet basil turns up cocktails easily, and it goes with so many different flavors. It’s a great addition to just about any natural fruit water. This sweet herb pairs well with pineapple, lime, cucumber, cinnamon, strawberry, and club soda.
Traditionally, cilantro has been used in Mexican and Asian culinary dishes. This fresh herb is a little bit sweet, so it’s great in cocktails. Add chilies, lime juice, and cucumber with a touch of soda water for a naturally flavored water with just a few calories.
Mint has a sweet, refreshing flavor that goes well with foods as well as beverages. Toss a sprig of mint in with crushed ice and peach slices for a mint drink that has just a few calories, and a naturally sweet, invigorating flavor. Mint also goes well with lemon, cucumber, ginger, and club soda.
Dill is a delicate herb with a playful appearance and flavor. Add this to your favorite foods and drinks for a pickled flavor that calls to mind the feelings of summer. If you’re grilling fish, dill is a great way to enhance seafood sauces and fresh butter. This herb goes well with lemon, lime, orange, and soda water.
With its fresh flavor, oregano is a welcome addition to red meat cuts, salmon, and in natural soda recipes. Add oregano to egg dishes, or even to hamburgers for added flavor. Try adding fresh oregano in teas, or along with basil and peaches, with plain sparkling water for a lively beverage that satisfies without compromising your diet.
With its assertive flavor, rosemary goes well with natural sweeteners. A potent and fragrant herb, it is especially useful on the grill with meats or fresh veggies. Sprigs of rosemary can also add a savory flavor to grilled fish or chicken, and in chicken soup. Rosemary mixes well with blackberries, grapefruit, cucumber, and soda water.
Sage has a classic flavor that inspires creativity in the kitchen. Add a few sage leaves to your BBQ grill on meat or veggies to add a fresh, warm flavor. Chopped sage instantly adds zest to any salad as well. This herb pairs well with onion, white beans, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Add sage to apples, pineapple, grapes, and basil with soda water.
This herb is an edible flower that can provide the calm feeling of lazy summers, right in your glass. Lavender is quite pretty, and it has a delicate flavor that’s almost as delicate as its flowers. This herb can be a substitute for rosemary in many dishes, though be careful not to overdo – a little goes a long way. Lavender’s sweet, floral flavor goes well with rosemary, lemon, blueberries, lime, and mint with soda water.
Thyme is a popular herb for cooking, with good reason. It’s great as a dry rub on meats before grilling. It’s also an outstanding way to inject tons of flavor into roasted chicken. It pairs well with rosemary in dishes.
This herb is also essential for drink making. It can also be mixed with other herbs for a fresh garden taste. Try it in summer cocktails with cucumber, apples, peaches, your choice of berries, and soda water.
This ancient healing root herb has so many health benefits there’s no reason not to use it. Turmeric adds a nice flavor to egg dishes, particularly scrambled eggs and frittatas. Grated turmeric is also excellent in salad dressings. Add this herb with fresh ginger, cinnamon, almond milk, and crushed ice for a refreshing summer drink that boosts your immune system.
Bonus: Herbs and Spices For Weight Loss
Want to add even more low-calorie zing to your diet? How about turning things up a bit with spices? Unlike herbs — which are derived from the leaves of plants — spices come from the roots, bark, and seeds.
Here are some great spices for weight loss to use:
Cinnamon is a spicy-sweet classic that’s reminiscent of cozy winter evenings. And it does pair well with toasty foods and drinks, like coffee, oatmeal, or roasted root vegetables.
Another great reason to get more cinnamon in your life? Studies show that cinnamon consumption is associated with healthy blood pressure levels and lower body weight.1
Native to the Middle East, cumin adds a touch of earthy warmth to dishes. But it’s not just tasty, it can also help boost weight loss efforts! Consumption of cumin can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.2
Cumin blends in well with lots of other spices. Try adding it to vegetarian chili, or simply add it to yogurt with chickpeas for a healthy snack.
You’re probably already using this spice! Black pepper has the potential to inhibit the creation of fat cells.3 So go ahead and add an extra dash of pepper to just about everything you’re eating. (Yes, even the sweet stuff!)
Fresh herbs take foods from frumpy to fab! You can use these herbs in meat, vegetable, and drink recipes to bring out the natural flavors, instead of sugary sauces that also contain tons of calories. Try bringing fresh herbs from your garden (or your grocery) to your table and slim down with these fresh, natural flavors.
Article updated: April 6, 2018
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