If you made a New Year's resolution to eat healthy and are still sticking to it (way to go!), here are five ways to add lots of flavor to your dinner without adding extra fat, salt, or sugar.

Toast It!

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Photo by SHARIKAY1

Rice-A-Roni had the right idea. Remember cooking with that San Francisco treat and toasting the rice and roni in oil? Well, skip the box and apply the toasting technique to cooking brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

The Method:

Heat a teaspoon or two of olive or avocado oil in a pot over medium-high heat and add your grain of choice or quinoa. Toast it, stirring often, until your kitchen is enveloped in the toasty aroma. Then, add liquid and proceed with cooking. Tip: since you've already cooked the grains for a few minutes, cut down on the cooking time listed in the original directions by a few minutes.

These tasty grain salads are even more delicious if you toast the grains a little before:

Take Stock

Blackbean and Couscous Salad
Photo by plantgrub

Remember that toasty, aromatic grains that you've just toasted? Don't just add water to cook them. Boost their flavor by adding a variety of stocks (chicken, fish, or vegetable), a touch of crisp and light wine, or even vegetable and fruit juice. Don't forget pasta - skip the salted-as-the-sea water and use homemade chicken stock instead. This Black Bean And Couscous Salad is extra flavorful with homemade chicken stock and fresh lime juice.

Save The Water

Homemade Chicken Stock
Photo by Meredith

When you're draining the water from cooking potatoes, don't just pour it down the drain. Save it! The starchy, seasoned liquid is perfect as a base for soups. What other liquid should you save? One from poaching chicken or shrimp. If you don't have plans to use this cooking liquid gold right away, pour it into freezer-safe containers, label, and store. Save the liquid from Boiled Chicken and Chef John's Shrimp Cocktail for extra flavorsome soups and stews.

Keep It Green

Lime Cilantro Rice
Photo by footballgrl16

Think herbs. Without adding any calories, herbs are a super easy and healthful way to add flavor and pure visual appeal to your dishes. Add fresh green herbs to soups, salads, scrambled eggs and omelets, and even plain yogurt. You'll be pleasantly surprised what an impact they'll make on your food. Something as simple and plain as rice can be totally transformed with some herbs, like this Lime Cilantro Rice.

Juice It Up

Chris' Grilled Orange Chicken
Photo by Nichele

When life gives you lemons... Citrus! From the zest to the juice, citrus is another handy way to add brightness and flavor to your dishes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to a cup of soup, zest a lime into a bowl of cooked rice, whisk juice grapefruit juice into a dressing for arugula salad, etc. And don't forget, citrus is a great way to flavor water and encourage you to hydrate more often. This recipe for Chris' Grilled Orange Chicken is packed with fresh juice and not an ounce fat. Or try this easy Lentil Soup with Lemon.

As you can see, these easy tips together or on their own will help add flavor to your food without adding what you are trying to avoid.

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