Bam! Kick it Up a Notch!

Jan 14, 2009 | January 2009, Nutrition

Spice up your diet with this new nutrition trend

By Janis Turk

Have you ever had one of those “healthy” frozen foods or a low-calorie frozen entrées at that carry a popular weight-loss or healthful-choice type brand? What did you notice — beside the small portions and lack of salt?

Perhaps you noticed the pepper.

They use lots of it, and for good reason.

These companies are wise to follow the recent nutrition trend that says those who watch their weight, fat and sodium intake will be more inclined to like and, thus, actually eat, healthful low-calorie foods if, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, they “Kick it up a notch! Bam!” with spices, peppers and exotic seasonings.

Without salt, many healthful foods, like grilled vegetables, broiled fish or baked chicken, can seem more than a bit bland and boring after years of dousing them with butter and sodium to enhance their flavors. So now, the current cooking and nutrition trend is to perk up your portions with peppers and other spices as well as more healthful exotic ingredients.

According to, Greg Drescher, senior director of strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., maintains that the addition of these items to recipes may add flavor and encourage a more healthful diet:

* Pomegranates, pistachios and peaches.    

* Exotic grains such as quinoa, millet, and bulgur.    

* Bread alternatives like rice paper, tortillas, and pita bread.    

* Spices with a Middle Eastern twist, like cardamom and zatar

The more exotic the spice used, the more exciting the taste, claim some. So if your tastes are adventuresome and you want to give your menus a little extra “kick,” put away the salt, pour on the pepper, and leave the butter behind.

Spice up your diet. BAM! It’s healthful, and it’s fun.

South Texas Fitness & Health