When discussing healthy eating with clients I have noticed a lot of them have the assumption that eating healthy is boring. The truth is, it can be. But with a little effort it can also be adventurous, fun and good tasting. If you let healthy eating get boring, it is the easiest way to go back to your old, unhealthy eating habits. Here’s 3 strategies that will keep healthy eating enjoyable.
Trade like foods for like foods
This strategy is incredibly easy and can be done forever. If you, a dietician or a health coach has planned out your healthy meals, make adjustments before you get bored of them. However, you don’t want these adjustments to completely change the make up of the meal so the key is to trade like foods for like foods. A “like food” means a similar macronutrient (fat, carb, or protein) and a similar calorie count. For example, if your lunch is a salad with strawberries, chicken and walnuts trade out the: 1) strawberries (carb) for blueberries (carb) 2) chicken for another meat or protein like beans 3) walnuts for another fat like avocado, olives, pumpkin seeds or cashews. Obviously you’ll want to find the right flavor combinations but you get the idea. Trade them out frequently before your salad, or any meal, gets boring.
In my opinion, healthy eating can get boring because we tend to make the same dishes over and over again out of ease. That’s boring. Second, most of us are not expert chefs so when we try to make something new we don’t know the best flavor combinations to make the dish taste great. Seasonings, flavor combinations and everything else that comes with it is a science. So instead of going to culinary school, buy an easy to follow, healthy cookbook. Keep the cookbook visible on the counter and pick recipes that you want to try out each week the day before you go grocery shopping. This solves two things: your healthy food will taste good and you will try a lot of new things on a consistent basis keeping you wanting more.
My wife and I bought a healthy Mediterranean cookbook about a year ago. Our goal is to get through nearly every recipe, even ones we know we may not like. We can see our progress because we write the date when we made it and grade each recipe in the index of the book based on how much we liked it. It’s broadened our food horizons and has kept it a fun challenge to do together. It’s given us a lot of new things we never used to eat before and has kept our healthy eating fun.
There are other ways to do this. You can set up recipe shares with family and friends. You can pick a night where you and a friend trade a meal for the week. Or even better, pick a night to cook a new, healthy recipe together. There are online groups you can join who trade recipes and cooking tips. The options are endless and just takes a little effort to get started. By default, these individuals will help you stay accountable to healthy eating.
Try these strategies out. Let me know your thoughts on them or maybe you have a great strategy you use you can share!
You got this!