13 Feb How To Keep Your Diet Delicious Part 1: The Secret Sauces
Has your fat loss stalled?
Or maybe it’s just your sanity, stuck on an endless loop of eating the same boring foods again and again?
You’re making progress, but you seriously question whether you can eat another chicken breast without gagging.
I know, I know. It can be a struggle for all of us.
As you cut deep into a diet phase, the options for keeping foods flavorful undoubtedly dwindle. Since consistency is key to the ultimate success of any fat loss phase, we want to make the process as painless as possible while still meeting the criteria for fat loss.
That is, we want to maximize food volume, satiety, and flavor while minimizing excess calories beyond our essential requirements.
The right selections of sauces and seasonings can breathe life back into even the most boring of dry chicken or eggs just long enough for you to reach your new level of leanness. Hang in there.
When looking for an appropriate condiment to provide that taste satisfaction, it must do two things:
- Add tons of flavor.
- Contribute zero or minimal (less than 10 calories per serving) caloric content through sugars or fats.
These two requirements may seem conflicting at first glance since most familiar sauces depend on sugar and fat to trick you into thinking whatever food they accompany tastes good. In reality, adding salt, sugar, and fat will make just about anything taste better since it appeals to our primitive need for energy.
From a culinary standpoint, it simply doesn’t count.
Ready to spruce up your next meal?
Time to unveil the real powerhouses of flavor.
#6. Full Fat or Fat Free Plain Yogurt
First on the list is a gift to all the lovers of ranch dressing, mayonnaise, creamy heavy-handed salad dressings, and fully loaded baked potatoes.
Plain yogurt is a perfect alternative base for those creamy salad dressings and sauces, ready to be seasoned to your liking. It provides texture and tang while preventing your otherwise boring salad from being dull and dry (and adding needless calories).
Even full-fat yogurt is fairly low in fat by serving, but it tastes better and is far more satisfying.
Or by choosing the fat free variety, we keep additional calories to a minimum when fat loss is the goal. Not only that, but plain yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) also adds valuable protein to the overall content of your meal, which will keep you full and help to retain your lean muscle tissue during this phase of lower calories.
Personal Favorite: Store-brand Fat-Free Plain Yogurt
Suggested Use: Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream in your Mexican dishes to calm the fire and soften the caloric blow.
Or – try mixing a whopping dollop of yogurt (a small bowl, really) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and curry powder into a sauce that will complement a meal of shredded chicken, cucumbers, and chickpeas or hummus.
Mix everything together and enjoy! It works great enclosed in a wrap or as a standalone salad too.
Experiment with flavoring – get creative!
CAUTION: Your yogurt’s ingredients list should be super simple and contain only cultured milk/non-fat milk and several live cultures of active bacterial strains (like L. Acidophilus). Look out for unwanted additional sweeteners, sugars, starches or thickeners, and extra protein additives like whey concentrate.
#5. Szechuan Sauce
Continuing our homage to Asian cuisine is Szechuan sauce, a derivative of soy sauce that was first introduced to me by the MountainDog himself, John Meadows. I promptly hunted for this item in the nearest grocery market in utter disbelief that until that point, I’d never even heard of it.
Paying no attention to the fire-breathing dragon cartooned onto its label, I unwittingly doused a steaming bed of broccoli and chicken with this new sauce. Following my own first lesson in fire-breathing, requiring no less than a beach towel to mop up my snotty face, I finally noticed the dragon on the label.
But hey, if spicy food isn’t your thing, don’t write it off just yet!
While this sauce is definitely a kick in the teeth, a few dribbles left to seep into your lunch through the morning hours can add a world of flavor while leaving your smoke alarms silent.
Personal Favorite: San-J Gluten-Free Szechuan Sauce
Suggested Use: Drizzle a bit over your next stir-fry of lean beef cuts and tons of veggies. Or, before you go to work, drizzle a bit over the rice and veggies you’ll bring to lunch. The spice will relax over time and seep deep into the rice and veggies for rich flavor!
CAUTION: This sauce is super spicy fresh from the bottle.
Also – look out for sugars and oils in the ingredients that are near the top (the most prevalent ingredients). This product shouldn’t be adding more than 5-10 calories per use (the nuclear spiciness should help to offset that).
#4 Tamari (Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)
While soy sauce is effectively “flavored liquid salt,” don’t let its simplicity fool you. Any sauce that can turn a microwaved bowl of boring frozen vegetables into something delicious deserves a moment in the spotlight.
Personal Favorite: San-J Tamari – Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
Suggested Use: Do you like the taste of wasabi or horseradish?
If you can find some Chinese hot mustard powder, the mixture of the two gives birth to a bold Asian dressing that can be used to season your stir-fry of broccoli, carrots, and pea pods with pure excitement.
It will even grant flavorful superpowers unto your favorite cuts of lean steak or fish as a savory marinade.
CAUTION: Watch out for cheaper store-brand soy sauces that will use wheat as a primary ingredient, sweeteners such as corn syrup, and unnecessary artificial colorings and preservatives like sodium benzoate.
A southwestern staple, it’s mild in spice but rich in flavor. And what’s not to like about a sauce based around veggies?
Your meat and veggies love salsa. Boring old broccoli and chicken breast comes alive when salsa joins the party.
Personal Favorite: Tostito’s (Medium or Mild) Salsa (even my Mexican friend, a fresh-salsa purist, was impressed by this one)
Suggested Use: Scoop out some salsa to accompany otherwise boring scrambled eggs. Use it to top your chicken breast, black/pinto beans, mixed veggies or even potatoes. Thank me later.
CAUTION: Watch out for sweeteners and preservatives like sodium benzoate. Salsa is a simple item; don’t let the food companies mess it up.
#2. Spicy Brown Mustard
Enjoy the taste of the ballpark, the burger joint, and the deli, all wrapped into one. The classic taste of mustard will make whatever you’re eating taste like a hamburger. Can you believe this classic staple packs a punch of flavor with zero caloric contribution?
As an added bonus, like most of the sauces on this list, you don’t have to worry about it going bad!
Personal Favorite: Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard
Suggested Use: Spicy brown mustard works particularly well when mixed into a salad dressing base of olive oil, a little bit of fresh vinegar, and added spice like onion powder.
Try making burger patty salads – the mustard-based dressing works wonderfully.
Also try munching on fresh sweet carrots with a little brown mustard. Guilt-free snacking at its finest.
CAUTION: Avoid honey mustard or variations that are sneaking sugar in along with them. The ingredient list should be truly simple: mustard seed, vinegar, turmeric, and salt are all you’re looking for here.
#1. Hot Sauce (Cayenne Pepper Sauce)
At long last, bow before The Grand Pooh-bah of Flavor.
With simple ingredients like spicy cayenne pepper and tangy vinegar, hot sauce is a minimalist master of versatility. Even better, most hot sauces are rich in flavor without being so hot they’ll melt your flesh.
Personal Favorite: Frank’s Red Hot
Suggested Use: Put that #!$@ on everything.
Use it to enhance classic physique-friendly staples like lean chili, eggs / egg whites / omelets, rice and beans, or ground beef/turkey.
Just make sure you don’t put it in your ice cream…because you won’t be able to stop.
CAUTION: Avoid buffalo sauces that typically use a base of canola oil or any other fat source. Also look out for unnecessary thickeners like xanthan gum, corn starch, or maltodextrin, which invite unnecessary carbohydrates to your flavor party.
That’s it, the secret’s out!
It’s now up to you to try these and make your fat loss phases more enjoyable (tolerable?). Just hang in there, only a little longer, one day at a time…
Before you go, I have questions for you:
How do you like to use your favorite sauce during a diet?
Did I miss one? What do you like to use?