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There are so many creative ways to add variety to your healthy meal selections.  One fun way to add some variety to your meals is to select a culture and add some of their staple flavors to your in-home cuisine.  When it comes to adding a kick to a meal, Mexican spices come second to none.  The next time you are looking to add something new to your lunch or dinner entrees, try some diet friendly recipes with a few of the Mexican herbs and spices we have listed below.

Cumin: Cumin is a herb that is not always associated with Mexican cuisine, but it is used in authentic Mexican cooking frequently.  It is closely related to parsley and was discovered in the Mediterranean region.  Cumin is easily accessible and easy to grow across many climates.  If you have ever cooked with store-bought taco seasoning, you have definitely tasted cumin before.  It has a bitter and somewhat toasted taste.  Cumin can be used alongside other Mexican herbs and spices in meat dishes and soups.

Chili Powder: Chili powder is a mixture of herbs and spices including oregano, cumin, and chilies.  You can find chili powder in many different forms, including ancho and chipotle.  Chili powder is found at your local grocery store.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own chili powder by processing dried chilies of your choice with other Mexican flavors.

Mexican Cinnamon: Mexican cinnamon tastes very similar to the cinnamon that we see in our local markets.  Unlike American cuisine, cinnamon is used in sweet and savory dishes in Mexican cooking.  You will see cinnamon featured not only in Mexican desserts but in meat dishes, too.  It is not uncommon to find cinnamon as the secret ingredient in many Mexican dishes.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a staple herb in Mexican cooking.  It is hard to find a salsa that does not contain cilantro.  Cilantro is typically featured in sauces and salsas.  It can also be easily grown in indoor herb gardens.  Cilantro is also another easy herb to incorporate into diet friendly salads and meals.

Anise: The star of anise is a small fruit that is native to Asia.  Anise is the seed of the herb that is also a member of the parsley family.  It has a licorice-like aroma and taste.  In Mexican cooking, it is typically used in cookies and dessert cakes, but that does not mean you cannot explore anise in savory dishes.  There is also a Mexican tea that is made from the herb.

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