10 Ways To Add Flavour Without Adding Calories

10 Ways To Add Flavour Without Adding Calories
Free From above of bottles with assorted oil and vinegar placed on wooden table in kitchen near fruit basket composed with corn and herbs
Pexels – CCO Licence

If you’re a foodie like me, then you want your food to have as much flavour as possible in every mouthful. But if you also, like me, want to stay as fit and healthy as possible, then it can often feel impossible to get the flavours you want without loading up your dishes with so many excess calories. As you know, I’ve been on a mission to be healthier this year and eating healthy is a part of that. I’ve always struggled with my weight and I’m finally at a place where I love how I look. So I’m not trying to add or reduce my calorie intake at the moment. And if you’re like me the good news is, there are actually a number of ways to add flavour to your meals without adding lots of extra calories! Here are 10 ways to add flavour without adding calories:

  1. Embrace the air fryer

If you try making air fryer chicken wings at home and you will instantly be converted to the air fryer by its ability to create the most amazing, crisp, and flavourful food with the minimum amount of calorific oil possible. You can cook pretty much everything in the air fryer and it will cut down excess calorie consumption significantly. It’s a modern miracle in the culinary world, and a must-have for the health-conscious gourmet.

  1. Harness the Power of Herbs

Fresh or dried, herbs have an uncanny ability to bring life to any dish. Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano – the options are endless! Not only do they add a burst of flavor, but they also come packed with numerous health benefits. From reducing skin inflammation to boosting brain health! So go ahead, sprinkle some magic onto your dishes with a generous helping of herbs.

  1. Spices Change the Game

If you haven’t explored the world of spices, now is the time! A sprinkle of cinnamon on your morning oatmeal or a dash of turmeric in your soup can transform your meal into a flavourful foodie masterpiece without adding any additional calories like sauces or rubs often would. Experiment with different combinations to create your signature spice mix for each dish. And make up a batch (stored in an airtight container). You will never have to worry about your food being bland, or too calorific, ever again.

Free Fruit Ingredients for Healthy Smoothie
Pexels – CCO Licence
  1. Citrus Zing

A squirt of citrus can elevate a dish from bland to grand! Whether it’s a zest of lemon on your grilled fish or a splash of lime in your salad, the unmistakeably fresh and tangy notes of citrus fruits can add a delightful burst of flavor without the extra calories you are hoping to avoid, and the freshness it brings really does make most dishes better.

  1. Vinegar Varieties

Vinegar comes in various flavours – apple cider, balsamic, rice vinegar, to name a few. A splash of vinegar can add a vibrant and tangy note to your dishes, giving them a depth of flavor that is both satisfying and calorie-free. So, although you might be most used to putting vinegar on your salad, it can actually be used in a wide range of dishes from bolognese (balsamic) to noodle soup (rice).

  1. Add Smoke

The smokiness you get from grilling your food is an excellent flavor enhancer if that is your thing, So, if you are looking to create flavourful, satisfying dishes without too many calories, you should try cooking everything from salmon steaks to veggie kebabs, on the grill. Just don’t forget to marinate with herbs, spices, and citrus first!

  1. Slow Cooking, Maximum Flavour

The art of slow cooking allows the ingredients to meld together, creating a rich and flavorful base for your dishes. The slow simmering process extracts every bit of flavor from the ingredients, offering you a calorie-free yet taste-packed meal.

  1. Garlic and Onions FTW

Garlic and onions are a match made in flavor heaven. Their aromatic and robust flavors can transform any dish ( well maybe not your desserts – that might be weird). Whether sautéed, roasted, or used raw, they add a punch of flavor that is hard to beat. So, if your soup is flavorless or your stew is lacking depth saute some down and throw it in. It won’t cost you very many calories at all.

  1. Fresh Salsa and Chutneys

Ditch the calorie-dense sauces and dips, and embrace the vibrant world of salsas and chutneys. Made with fresh fruits and veggies, these dips are not only low in calories but also brimming with flavour. And you can find a recipe to go with just about anything from mango chutney with your veggie curry to tomato salsa with your Mexican chili.

  1. Infuse

Infused waters, teas, or broths can be a great way to enjoy your favorite flavors without adding calories, especially if you are craving something sweet. Create your infusions with herbs, spices, or fruits, and savour the subtle yet delightful notes they add.


As you can tell, calories and flavour do not have to be intrinsically linked! There are so many ways to enhance the flavour of your food without adding too many calories to it. For those of you who are like me and are making a conscious decision to eat healthier, know that it’s totally possible to do that while still eating flavourful foods. I hope these 10 ways to add flavour without adding calories were helpful. 

These are my 10 ways to add flavour without adding calories and now I want to hear yours. What are some ways you add flavour without adding calories? Let me know in the comments section located below because I would love to hear from you. Or simply stop by and say hi!

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96 thoughts on “10 Ways To Add Flavour Without Adding Calories

  1. I love how you listed the air fryer as #1 on the list. The air fryer is an absolute Godsend and has really changed the game for us. I mostly make fries and potato wedges using the air fryer and I add lots of herbs to the potato wedges. Herbs also help a lot!

    I have yet to experiment more with infusions, like infused water. I love infusing water but don’t have the time or patience. At one point I had 2 infusion water bottles which ended up breaking in the end.

    1. Absolutely, air fryers are such a game changer and we can enjoy our favourite foods minus all the oil! I think it’s a great option for those looking to eat healthy but still want to enjoy their meals. Our fries haven’t been regular fried in so long but I honestly don’t even mind.
      Yeah, infusions can be a little more tricky so I totally understand.

  2. I keep hearing things about air fryers but haven’t pulled the trigger on one yet. I’m just afraid it would be yet another kitchen gadget we use a couple of times and then stick in the cupboard. …

    1. I totally understand that, the thing with air fryers is that it can take a little longer to cook things especially to make large quantities. However, I think it’s worth it and once you start using it you’ll never stop lol.

  3. Oh I love this blog post
    Surprisingly very different
    I love the things that you’ve mentioned.

    I personally love spices. They add the flavor and magic to the food.
    Hing, jeera, ajwain, lehsun, tomato, capsicum, onion, clove, cardamom, tej patta, neem, black pepper, rock salt, certain masalas, these add flavours.

    Then the cooking oil also needs to be given credit. Like you cannot cook everything in mustard oil. However good for some vegetables.

    The utensil in which you are cooking also have a lot to do with taste.
    Have you ever eaten a food cooked in clay pot/vessel?

    1. Thanks so much. Lol, you know me I’m random with posts.

      Same here, spices are amazing and I can’t cook without them. Plus they have so many health benefits.

      I’ve heard clay pot is one of the best things for cooking but I am not finding any good ones in Kenya, unfortunately.

      1. I had to check thrice wheather this was a guest blog.
        This was well written. I love the style. I love how you are capable of changing your style with different topics.

        Yes, spices are magical.
        I like clove, hing, jeera , ajwain, coriander, tej patta, these create special aroma and taste.

        Clay pot is common here, but people don’t use it even though it’s easily available. 🤷🏻‍♂️

        And that gives me a post idea. 🙏🏼🤗

        1. Thanks so much. I don’t like cloves lol. Or cinnamon but the rest of the spices are great.

          Yeah, my mum said they used clay pots when she lived in India. Wish I could get some here, maybe someday.

  4. I like to add my YL essential oils to foods and drink. There are so many options, all with major health benefits just by themselves! It’s really wonderful. I’m not sure how many calories they would add, but we’re talking about a few drops, so probably not much in relation to the amount of flavor!

    1. A few weeks ago I discovered putting miso in oatmeal! That’s a great game changer.
      I forgot about Mrs. Dash, I haven’t used it in years. I’ll have to seek it out again. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    2. That’s great. I don’t like cinnamon but the rest sound really good. Air fryers are such a game changer, would definitely recommend it.

  5. A very detailed and well-written, informative post. Thank you. Eating healthy is probably easier now than ever, with all the info that’s out there from trusted sources. Nom nom nom

    1. Thanks so much. I absolutely agreed, so much easier now with healthy ingredients readily available and lots of free information out there.

  6. The journey towards health and wellness doesn’t mean sidelining our love for food. Instead, as you’ve showcased, it’s about embracing methods that celebrate both flavour and well-being harmoniously. Thank you for this insightful piece, and I eagerly await more of your wisdom on this culinary and health journey.

    1. Exactly, it’s not about forcing yourself to eat bland foods. Healthy food can be well flavoured and delicious too. I eat healthy about 90% of the time but still love what I eat. Thanks so much.

  7. Beautiful post! I love it!
    I’m a healthy vegan foodie too, and I always say “Count chemicals, not calories.”
    I’m 60-years-old, a size 6, and never counted calories in my life. To me, they don’t make sense. Just eat healthy and your body will tell you when you get enough nutrients.
    Yesterday I made vegan jam by smashing blackberries and putting in chia seeds and maple syrup. It’s delicious, so good I thought I was going to eat it all in one sitting, but the chia seeds added the bulk my body needed and I didn’t over indulge. It was just a natural way to eat. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much!
      I totally agree with you. You can be a foodie and love your food and not sacrifice flavour but still eat healthy. That’s wonderful and listening to your body is best. I think our body knows what’s best for us.
      Mmm that sounds so good. I love homemade jam.

      1. And it’s awesome you’re putting the word out there that vegan food isn’t boring, nor does it have to be unhealthy to be fulfilling.
        One of the funniest comments I heard from a non-vegan was telling me I’m “limited” which of course is far from the truth. As vegans, we’re limitless! So many herbs, spices, flavors, food combinations … it’s a food wonderland for us! 🙂

        1. I’ve heard that too. People think we just sit there eating salad all day but I don’t even remember the last time I had a boring meal. As vegans I think we explore more than anyone because we have to get creative with our food. As a non-vegan I used to eat the same dishes every week. After going vegan I’ve tried more foods than I can remember. I like sharing food related content so people can know how fun being vegan really is!

    1. Agreed, spices make everything better. And same here, I love sour food so much. Yes, you absolutely do because air fryers are a game changer. I don’t mean to be dramatic but they will change how you cook forever lol.

  8. One of the more unique and original foodie posts I’ve read! Herbs and citrus are often overlooked, at least in the US. I got into using a wide variety of herbs at a young age. Citrus is somewhat new to me; I’ve used it but not in very creative ways until relatively recently. Oranges are a great way to replace straight up sugar.

    1. Thank you! It’s not just the US, I think a lot of people don’t know what a huge difference adding herbs, spics and citrus can make to your dish. Even in Kenya, not going to lie a lot of people don’t know how to flavour their dishes well. Absolutely, oranges are great and they’re my favourite fruit so I try to add them in as much stuff as possible lol. Recently I made orange “chicken” from scratch and it was so good. I would totally recommend it. And if you zest the orange you get even more flavour.

  9. love these ideas Pooja. I’ve gotta try Renee’s air fryer now that she’s living home. Looks awesome. I have been infusing my water with different fruits to entice more drinking❤️

  10. Excellent suggestions, Pooja. Whenever I feel that the food is too dry, I add pickle to it. It’s spicy, flavourful, and its tang just makes my day.
    I am a spice girl 😁

  11. I enjoyed reading your post. Lots of great ideas. When I cook and season my food, I use Garlic, Bell pepper, onions, and all kinds of herbs when I can afford to buy them. I like using different vinaigrettes to marinade certain things in, and I use vinaigrettes on my salads when I want to do something different. I like infused waters as well. It’s so much better than drinking regular water. I added some pineapple to to some ice water and it was good, cool, and refreshing. Thanks for sharing all of those good ideas. I Will be trying them. Have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks so much. That’s wonderful. Herbs are so great and so are onions, garlic and pepper. Infused water is like water with a kick and makes it more fun. Have a great weekend.

  12. Even though oils do have calories, I find that infused oils and specialty oils add a lot of flavor without needing to use a lot: garlic or orange peel infused olive oils, or toasted sesame oil are my favorites. We do need a certan amount of healthy fats, and I prefer the more flavorsome!

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