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Hungry Girl Today: 06.10.11

Not only do herbs and spices provide flavor for very few calories, but they're also nutritional powerhouses. Here are some super-popular picks and HG recipes that use 'em...


We all know that fresh basil tastes incredible and is super-versatile, but did you know that its fancy flavonoids could protect your cells and chromosomes from radiation and other damage? WHOA! Basil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, plus it packs in heart-healthy beta-carotene and is an excellent source of vitamin K. Go, basil!

Use It In...

Crispy White Pizza

Simply the Pesto sauce


"HG, isn't parsley really just a garnish?" Gasp! NO WAY. Parsley is great, not only for brightening up the look of a meal, but also for adding a punch of fresh flavor. Need more reasons to use the leafy green stuff? It's a great source of vitamins A, C, and K; it's got lots of antioxidants; and eating it can promote a healthy heart and all-around optimal health. BOOM.

Use It In...

Bean There, Yum That Salad

Falafel Pita Pockets with Dill-icious Yogurt Dip


Mint is more than a flavoring for toothpaste and chocolate chip ice cream. Get acquainted with the herb itself -- it's got vitamins and minerals, including manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It's also known to be calming and soothing when eaten... So chill out and eat some mint!

Use It In...

Watermelon Frojito

Black Cherry Mamba Mojito

HG Tip! Make refreshing virgin versions of these drinks by subbing water or diet lemon-lime soda for the rum!


Often polarizing yet (in our opinion) delicious, cilantro has benefits besides making salsa and guacamole taste amazing. It can help to control blood sugar and cholesterol, plus it contains phytonutrients, fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium. And some research indicates it may help to fight salmonella bacteria too. Impressive!

Use It In...

Mexilicious Shrimp & Corn Fandango Salad

Totally Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups


One of the most frequently used spices at the HG HQ, we were pretty excited the day we learned about the benefits of cinnamon. (You know, in addition to making almost everything taste better.) Consuming cinnamon could help balance your blood sugar, which could ward off hunger pangs, mood swings, and other no-fun side effects. And get this -- the mere smell of cinnamon has been shown to boost brain function!

Use It In...

Peaches 'n Cream Oatmeal Parfait

Cin-sational Cincinnati Chili


Another popular flavor booster in HG land, garlic packs some serious benefits -- anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, to name a few. Basically, if you're feeling lousy, have some garlic. We also love that it can lower cholesterol and potentially regulate the production of fat cells. Add in a good dose of vitamins B6 and C, plus possible cancer prevention, and you've got an ingredient that's worth the bad breath!

Use It In...

Vampire-Proof Chicken 'n Veggie Pasta

Eggplant Parm Frittata

Chili Pepper

From dried cayenne to fresh jalape