Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Spices and Condiments

Hello readers! I know that many of you on the clean eating journey often times like to spice up your meals in some way. Whether its spices, seasonings, sauces, or condiments, we all add a little something to our meals. Besides, do you know anyone who can eat bland chicken and broccoli everyday? I didn't think so! Allow me to break it down for you below.
Spices/Seasonings: These are my personal favorites to use. As a matter of fact, I keep 3 containers of black pepper in my spice rack. When buying spices, I like to look for mixes that contain the least amount of sodium possible. My favorite seasoning pick are herbs. I know that they can be a bit expensive but stocking your college pantry with black pepper, low sodium seasoned salt, crushed red pepper, and assorted herb varieties. 
When to Use- when marinating meats or tossing after vegetables have been steamed (go light on the vegetables though)
Upsides - They come in many varieties and can you change the flavor of your food. You can create a Cajun, barbecue, or lemon pepper dish all with the shake of your wrist.
Downsides - As I stated earlier, they can be expensive. Seasonings can cost around $3-$5 and when you are on a minimal budget, it can be hard to justify buying one shaker of lemon pepper over a basket of vegetables. Another downside is that not all all spice mixes are created equally. For example, your jar of lemon pepper might contain preservatives, soy, and GMO ingredients that you may not want in your body. 
Me using Italian dressing to marinate a chicken dish
Sauces/Condiments: Possibly my favorite! I know these can be hard to forgo since their creamy nature makes them utterly delicious but they can wreak serious havoc on your body and diet when making clean eating choices. In the words of  Ben Stinard "anyone can eat a clean meal or salad but their choice in condiments makes all the difference." Here is his explanation why:
"Ranch dressing contains 14g of fat per 2 tablespoons, Italian dressing has 7g of fat and 4g of sugar...Sweet Baby Rays BBQ  has 18g carbs and 16g sugar per two tablespoons"
Now, the nutritional content I listed above was for 2 tablespoon serving size. However, when you are eating a salad or adding extra flavor to your chicken, how often do you gob it on? Do you really stick to the suggested serving size? Even if you did just consume 2 tablespoons, you are still adding additional fat, carbs, and sugar to your diet that you most likely were not planning on eating. 
When to Use- When your food is so bland that you cannot take the torture of consuming it. Or, you could do it like I do and use the sauces as a base for a marinade. My favorite is Italian dressing because it compliment many of the spices and herbs that I add on it to. I simply marinate my chicken overnight and toss the remaining liquid when I am ready to bake or grill.
Upsides- Tasty and can be cheaper than spices
Downsides - All the unwanted fats, carbs, sugars, and foul ingredients. 

-Eating Clean in College

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