Eating healthy doesn't mean eating bland, boring food. You should be eating nutritious food that's delicious and satisfying, otherwise you're bound to abandon your good intentions for the first pizza or cupcake that comes along.
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There are plenty of spices that can add a kick of flavor to your meals — along with health benefits that will stick around longer than your leftovers. Herbs and spices can do more than amp up the flavor in your favorite meals, they can also provide protection against health issues like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and inflammation.
The 7 Best Spices for Healthy Eating
You might be tempted to overlook this spice, since it seems to be everywhere. But cinnamon adds sweetness without extra calories to drinks and desserts. It may also help lower blood sugar and help you lose weight. Plus, it's a perfect addition to your morning coffee.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Not only is it a great rub for meat and poultry and adds some heat to sauces and marinades, but it also has health benefits for your gut and heart. Add some cayenne to spice up roasted vegetables.
Ginger adds a spicy kick to baking and desserts, savory sauces and as a spice rub for meat. It's also a great addition to vegetable stir-fries or any other Asian-inspired dish. This spice is especially helpful if you're feeling nauseated or have sore muscles.
Often found in dessert sauces and baked goods, nutmeg can help relieve pain, soothe indigestion and improve cognitive function. It also rounds out the flavor in savory sauces or when sprinkled on grilled veggies. And like cinnamon, nutmeg is a great addition to your morning java.
You can press fresh cloves to add zest to sauces, use garlic powder as a dry rub for meat, mix into burger patties or sprinkle on popcorn in lieu of salt. Basically, there's no wrong way to use garlic. Plus, it can help you fend off the common cold, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and may even help you live longer.
This spice gives a smoky, spicy kick to soups, chili or stir-fries or add it to ground turkey for spicy turkey tacos. As far as health benefits go, it can help your digestion, prevent diabetes, boost your immune system and promotes detoxification.
Turmeric (also known as Indian saffron) has tons of health benefits, which has made it a trendy "new" anti-inflammatory ingredient in the wellness world (even though it's been around forever). It lends a sweet and pungent zip to curry sauces and rice dishes or add some to Greek yogurt for a sweet treat.
Cooking is a great way to ensure your meals are healthy and nutritious, and you'll enjoy and appreciate them more knowing that you created them. With the right spices, you can make food that will please your taste buds without all the fat, sodium and artificial flavors.
Plus, with some of the most powerful antioxidants available, you'll bring more to the table than just tasty dishes — you'll bring extra health benefits as well!
How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge
1. Download the MyPlate App
Documenting your food and activity might seem like overkill, but it’s not. People who track their calories and physical activities enjoy greater success losing weight and keeping it off for good!
Tracking everything honestly is essential to making the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge work for you. Sometimes you’re not even aware of everything you consume, but once you start tracking it, you’ll think twice before you make poor choices. And that’s a good thing.
- Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks
- Exercise and activity
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
2. Print Out Your Daily Calendar
Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge, you're accountable for five key steps: tracking breakfast, lunch and dinner; tracking your water intake; and either walking or running.
We created a helpful calendar to keep you on task for all 30 days. Print it out and check off each activity as soon as you complete it.
3. Stay Connected on Facebook
For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.
4. Get Even More Information on Beneficial Spices
- 10 Herbs and Spices to Help You Lose Weight
- How to Add the 11 Healthiest Spices to Your Meals
- Delicious Spices That Make It Easy to Hold the Salt
Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge? If so, what's your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight-loss challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.