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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 jalapeƱos, chili peppers clearly pack heat in the spice department. Here are a few more qualities... Chili pepper can fight inflammation and provide natural pain relief, and it's currently being studied as a natural aid for arthritis patients. The heat can also clear congestion, and studies suggest chili pepper could be effective in aiding weight loss. As for the fiber and vitamins? Bonuses!

Use It In...

Thai-Oh-My Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

JalapeƱo Poppers, Three Ways!


Last but not least, we have ginger. The horn-shaped spice is easy to use, whether dried and ground or fresh and grated. We appreciate that it's good for gastrointestinal and nausea relief. The immunity-boosting, cancer-preventing tendencies aren't bad either!

Use It In...

Wowowow! Wonton Soup

Shrimpylicious Egg Rolls

Herb 'n Spice Related Tips!

Stock up! Fill up that spice rack... or cabinet... or drawer. (It's a drawer at HG HQ.) This way, you'll always be ready to flavor up your food.

Go green... thumb! Keeping potted fresh herbs handy is a great way to get in the habit of using herbs more often. And you can't beat the flavor factor!

Got problems keeping cut herbs? Check out the Herb-Savor -- anyone who's ever reached for day-old, market-bought cilantro only to find it wilted and yellow will appreciate this.

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Would you look at that? It's June 10th, National Herbs & Spices Day! And we just told you about a ton of herbs and spices. It's good to know that we're on top of this stuff, isn't it?

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark. For more info on the new PointsPlus® program, visit

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