One way to combat the boredom many people complain accompanies eating healthy is to ‘eat outside your box’, by experimenting with new foods and cuisines and by challenging your long-held notions about what to eat and when. Iceberg is not the only kind of lettuce, apples and oranges aren’t the only fruits and there is no law that says you can’t eat mushroom lasagna for breakfast and a southwestern omelet for dinner. And just because your parents always eat turkey on Thanksgiving, fish on Friday and meatloaf on Mondays doesn’t mean you have to. Dare to step outside your comfort zone and put an end to your eating rut, by accepting one (or more) of the following challenges to eat and live more healthily and creatively.
1. Make a list of 10 foods that you eat on a regular basis. Over the course of the next month, eat outside your box by avoiding these foods.
2. Try a new food every day. Have you knocked eating brown rice, tofu, sushi, or kiwi without ever giving it a try? Don’t allow the opinions of others to inhibit your pallet. Give your taste buds an opportunity to decide.
3. Look back at your food diary. Don’t eat any of the same foods you ate last month. Use cookbooks to invigorate your mundane menus.
4. Do not visit any of the same restaurants you tried last month. If you eat out, it must be somewhere new. And don’t forget to order something new and nutritious off the menu.
5. Look back at your food diary from last month. Use a cookbook to explore ways to make the foods you ate more nutritious- and unusual.
6. Ask people from different racial, regional, and religious and cultural backgrounds to share their favorite foods and recipes. Incorporate at least 2 of these into your menus.
7. Buy a new cookbook with recipes from a cuisine you have never tried. Prepare at least one meal a week from the cookbook.
8. Sit down with a healthy cookbook. Make a list of 30 recipes that look appealing. You don’t have to use them immediately- but they will be there when you need them.
9. Make a special trip to the grocery store to shop for herbs and spices. Buy at least 5 you’ve never tried and experimented with at least 1 new herb or spice each week.
10. Take a cooking class. Check your local YMCA or community center for course offerings.
11. Flip the script. Make a list of the meals you usually eat for breakfast, a list of meals you usually eat for lunch, and a list for dinner. Then eat what you normally eat for lunch for dinner, dinner for breakfast and breakfast for lunch.
12. Each time you go grocery shopping buy at least 5 different brands than you usually do. You may be surprised to learn that different brands offer better taste, nutrition, and price.