Zero-Calorie Flavor Boosters to Spice Up Your Dinner


Rice Vinegar
Losing weight doesn't have to be boring, and personal trainer Paul "PJ" James wants to make sure your meals are as exciting as possible, without sacrificing your health.

Below, click though for some of PJ's zero-calorie flavor boosters from his book, "Take It Off, Keep It Off," just in time for your summertime outdoor meals. Use these spices and flavors in any meal to help add some extra pizzazz to your meals.

Rice Wine Vinegar
These can range from sweet and mild to savory. Try it in stir-fries or drizzled on fish and vegetables.

Balsamic Vinegar
Splash this over salads or steamed vegetables for flavor and tang -- no need for oily dressings! You can also place some in a small saucepan; bring it to a boil, reduce to simmer for about thirty minutes until it has reduced by about half for a thickened, more intense version, and then drizzle over asparagus or chicken. (The best way to determine if the reduced vinegar is thick enough is to immerse a metal spoon into theliquid. If it runs right off like water, it's not thick enough; if it clings to the spoon, it's ready.)

Red Wine Vinegar
This is great in marinades for beef and vegetables.

Citrus
You can squeeze lemon over practically anything, from steamed broccoli to grilled fish. Or slice up an orange, some lemons, and limes and throw them in a pitcher of water to keep in your refrigerator. It's like having a spa in your kitchen.

Mustard
Zero calories, tons of powerful flavor.

Garlic
Add some garlicky goodness to roastedvegetables, chicken, and seafood. But beware: you may sweat it out during cardio tomorrow morning.

Basil and Oregano
Impart an Italian vibe to steamed or roasted vegetables, fresh tomatoes, chicken, or rice.

Cilantro
This leafy green herb works well withMexican flavors. Add to salads, vegetables, or meat.

Chili Powder
A blend of spices -- usually chili peppers, onion, garlic, oregano, paprika, and even cinnamon -- that kicks up chicken and fish.

Cumin
An ingredient in most curry powders, this savory spice is nice on chicken, lamb, fish, rice, beans, and vegetables.

Curry Blend
Experiment with warm Indian flavors -- a curry blend typically includes cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, gloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron.

Dill
Delicious and tangy on tuna fish, seafood, and green vegetables.

Garlic Powder (Not Garlic Salt)
Extremely versatile, shake it on steamed or roasted vegetables, chicken, fish and beef.

Ginger
Gives chicken, seafood or rice a spicy tang.

Paprika
Lends a deep, smoky flavor and beautiful, dark red color to chicken, egg or bean dishes.

Rosemary
Delicious on steamed or roasted vegetables, chicken, fish or steak.

Thyme
Use this fragrant spice on vegetables, chicken, fish, beef, eggs and beans.

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