It is easy to get into a food rut, eating the same things every day and night. We are creatures of habit and when we find what works for us we usually stick with it. I know I have my staples at the grocery store, but I also know the importance of getting a variety in my diet. Eating a variety of foods gives you the best variety of nutrients. Have you ever heard the saying “Eat A Rainbow?“. Every fruit and vegetable provides different nutrients that are essential to our bodies and eating a variety helps get them all in. The same is true of food in general. Every food has something different to offer, so it is best to switch things up to get in different vitamins and minerals.
Breaking a food rut can be challenging when you have a set routine. Routines are easy, predictable and match your taste preferences. Trying new foods can seem stressful, and what if you don’t like the new food? Below are a few ways to start trying new foods stress free:
- Plan ahead– Nowadays there are a ton of recipe websites and apps to help you plan your meals. Find 2-3 new recipes that you’d like to make and try a different one each week. Make a list of foods you might not normally get and browse the grocery store for new items. Then…
- Cook in advance– Often times our food ruts happen because of lack of time. We get used to eating cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a frozen meal for dinner. Take one day per week to cook meals in advance to have for a few days. If you don’t like to cook, find simple meals to make. There are a lot out there!
- Get creative with leftovers-If you have chicken every week, make different varieties with your leftovers. Try chicken tacos, chicken soup, chicken stir fry, a chicken sandwich or anything else!
The key is to start small. If you eat the same foods for breakfast and lunch every day, maybe start with trying new lunch meals. If you can’t break away from your normal breakfast routine, maybe add in one extra ingredient that will provide some different nutrients. Some examples are below:
- Try oatmeal instead of cereal in the morning
- Use peanut butter on your toast in place of butter
- Add flax or chia seeds to oatmeal or smoothies
- Try wheat toast instead of white
- Buy a different fruit to try with your breakfasts each week
Lunch and dinner
- If you usually have chicken, try turkey or fish
- If you usually have beef or pork try chicken
- Try making vegetarian meals every once in a while
- Use brown rice instead of white rice
- Add vegetables to your meals
- Have fruit as your side
- Try a new variety of granola bars (KIND and Kashi are my favorite!)
- Try a different Greek Yogurt Brand (Fage or Chobani)
- Pair fruits with nuts or nut butters. Have bananas, apples, berries, plums, etc.
- Add berries to yogurt
As you get more used to this try new foods and meals whenever possible. You may not like something but at least you tried it. And if you’re lucky, you’ll love the new food! Some of my favorite new foods are PB2, Chicken Sausage, Brussels Sprouts, and Polenta. Who knew?