Spice Up Your Healthy Eating To Stop Food Boredom

Spice Up Your Healthy Eating To Stop Food Boredom

"Eating healthy is so boring," is a phrase I hear a lot as a fitness instructor.  The truth is that it's not boring; but the other truth is that most people don't have a clue what is considered healthy eating (or, at least, how to add variety).  Most people fall back on frozen veggies and frozen chicken breasts, and I will tell you that, YES, those things ARE boring.  Trying to eat everything out of the freezer will leave you unsatisfied because most of that food has lost it's flavor and will taste extra watered down.  On top of that, a lot of people get stuck on "healthy" frozen dinners, which are NOT a great choice.  They are bland, not filling, and filled with sodium.  So, how DO you make healthy eating not boring?  The following post from P90X creator, Tony Horton, says it all...

"I'd like to put forth a concept regarding the trials and tribulations of sustaining a healthy eating plan. Simply put, it comes down to staying disciplined without feeling deprived.
There are many variables when it comes to staying disciplined and many other forces in play when discipline turns to deprivation. How do you stay disciplined with your healthy diet without it feeling like torment? The answer in my opinion is variety and flavor.
The transition from unhealthy to healthy is often fraught with angst and misery because fast food, processed food, and food -like products filled with fat, sugar and salt are often replaced with steamed veggies and salads.
All the discipline and good intuitions in the world can't sustain such an abrupt dietary switcheroo. Spices, sauces and a variety of dishes allow you to stay disciplined and prevent your from feeling deprived."

Where to start?

Buy Fresh

You will get the MOST flavor out of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Yes, they won't stay good as long as frozen ones, but you'll be much more satisfied and much more likely to be excited to eat them.  To get the best price, buy what's in season (obviously, buying raspberries in January will get a higher price than buying squash in January).  You will also get the best flavor by buying local.  I'm ad avid Whole Foods shopper, as well as a Farmer's Market consumer (in the summer).  You'll also get better tasting meat if you get free range organic meat.  I noticed a huge difference between the chicken I get at the meat counter at Whole Foods and a chicken breast I ate at a restaurant that had been obviously plumped up with hormones (yeah, I didn't finish that... yuck).  If you must stick with frozen vegetables and fruits... frozen IS a better option than canned.

Spice It Up

I love going to The Spice House in Evanston (there is also a location in Chicago) to pick up fresh spices and spice blends for my foods.  One of my favorite things right now is to use Vadouvan French Masala Curry with a little extra virgin olive oil on cubed sweet potatoes.  I bake them in the oven at 425 for about 20-30 minutes (depending on how large your cubes are), and sometimes add other veggies like onions or fennel.  Spices are a great way to add lots of flavor but no fat or calories (very few calories if any).  Oh, and HEY... the website for The Spice House has lots of recipes!  Check them out!  If you've never used many spices before, it's time to spice your life up!

Spoonfuls of Spices

Sauce It Up/Dress It Up/Spread It Up

You have to  be careful with sauces, dressings and spreads, because many of them can be filled with fat and calories.  So, sauce wisely, read ingredients labels, and measure portions.  One of my favorite ways to flavor many foods is with mustard (zero calories in standard yellow).  Some of my other favorite sauces/dressings/spreads include Whole Foods Teriyaki Sauce, Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce, Annie's organic dressings, broth (braised greens/veggies in either veggie or chicken broth can add lots of flavor!), salsa (I'm counting that as a sauce), bruschetta, chunky tomato sauce, hummus, baba ghanoush etc.  Like I said, though... p0rtion and measure your sauces to avoid over-saucing.

Give Feta a Try!

I just have to give a shout out to feta cheese.  A one ounce serving won't cost you tons of fat or calories, but this little cheese is filled with zest and can add tons of flavor to a salad or sandwich!

Plan a Menu

There are so many healthy recipes out there.  You can click off this blog and do a Google search and be overwhelmed with recipes.  There are also tons and tons of magazines full of healthy recipes.  What I'm trying to say is... the information is out there, so saying that you "don't know" is a lame excuse to use nowadays.  Pick recipes and plan out your week's worth of meals.  If you need it done for you, why not try something like the meal planner on Team Beachbody?  It'll give you a week's worth of recipes and a shopping list so that you know what to get.  Easy peasy.  You just need to commit to it and remain disciplined.

Happy Eating!

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