×

Spice Essentials & 5 Homemade Seasoning Blends

About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.

Flavor can make or break any recipe which is why I encourage people to spend equal amounts of time trying new fresh foods AND experimenting with new spices and seasonings.  It can be a little daunting at first, especially when you are unfamiliar with a lot of spices, but it’s much easier than you think.  Just start with a base/core group of spices and work you up from there.

Below is my A-Team list, or better stated, essential seasonings, dried herbs and spices that I use weekly to bring my food to life.  It’s by no means exhaustive but these are among the most common.


MY ESSENTIALS

SEASONINGS
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
  • paprika OR smoked paprika
  • cayenne
  • cumin

 

HERBS
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • thyme

 

SPICES
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • allspice

CREATING BLENDS

The next step after identifying your essential spices and seasonings is learning how to pair them together to create blends and rubs for your food.  This is the fun part!  To help you get started, I have created and re-created some common store-bought blends to show just how easy it is to get started.  The good thing about creating your blends is that you can customize them to meet YOUR flavor preferences.  Some people may like something spicier or nuttier or sweeter or milder, etc – so the blends that follow are largely “written in pencil,” meaning use them as an overall guide and “initial compass.”  Make them your own!

 

SODIUM

Sodium has gotten a bad rep in the healthy eating community.  But, sodium is especially important for active individuals because of the loss of fluids and electrolytes during workouts. So, it’s important to not only stay hydrated and drink adequate amounts of water, but also incorporating moderate sodium into your regular diet to help regulate water levels in the body.

To better control and regulate how much sodium, I recommend seasoning to taste whenever possible at the end or middle of recipes.  When we add salt at the very beginning we can easily over season the food and use way more sodium than necessary.  So, I’ll generally add sea salt after the flavors of the recipe have melded and I just need a pinch of sea salt & pepper to get that serving “just right” (for me).  Same goes with blends whenever possible – I keep the sodium at minimal amounts, or remove altogether, and then add sea salt to taste for each portion of food.

logo

Chili Seasoning Blend

Ingredients

essential seasoning blends

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano (or dried)
Steps

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

Download the fitmencook app

Track your macros, plan your weekly meals, add recipes to your grocery list, as well as get access to over 300 healthy recipes by FitMenCook.

  • logo
  • logo
Calories
Protein
Fat
Carbs
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
logo

Cajun Seasoning Blend

Ingredients

essential seasoning blends

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (store bought or your homemade blend)
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne (or more if you like it HOT)
  • 2 tablespoon ground thyme (or dried)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground sage (OPTIONAL)
Steps

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

Calories
Protein
Fat
Carbs
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
logo

Sweet Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend

Ingredients

essential seasoning blends

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (OR chili powder if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground oregano (or dried)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Steps

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

Calories
Protein
Fat
Carbs
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
logo

Herb Seasoned Salt

Ingredients

essential seasoning blends

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sea salt (or ground Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (granulated or powder)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne.

 

Steps

Mix seasonings together and place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.  Note: this blend is a SALT REPLACEMENT so use a pinch or two of this in recipes INSTEAD OF using regular sea salt.

Calories
Protein
Fat
Carbs
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
logo

Thai Coconut Seasoning Rub

Ingredients

essential seasoning blends

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried (or toasted) coconut flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 2 teaspoons peanut powder
Steps

Place ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Blend and process until well mixed, textured, fragrant rub.  Place in a spice jar.  To taste the blend, place 1/2 teaspoon in the palm of your hand, add a pinch of sea salt and taste.  Customize the blend with more/less of desired ingredients.

Calories
Protein
Fat
Carbs
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.