When’s the last time you stopped to think about exactly what you were eating and why? It’s easy to fall into a rut when it comes to food choices, buying what we always do, making what we always make, and taking in the occasional unexpected food or beverage when someone leaves cake or other food out in the break room at work. Stop the boredom! As a partner of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living, we believe in the power of spicing up the regular meal routine and trying new foods whenever possible. Here are three easy ways to shake things up and make better choices easier.
- Take pictures of new favorite meals or foods. We’ve all been to a friend’s house or restaurant where we’ve been wow’d by a dish. We say we want the recipe or to try to recreate it at home—but then we forget. Smart phones make it simple to snap a photo of a new favorite. Start an album on Facebook or a board on Pinterest for new food finds and you’ll always have access to the new taste thrills, and by posting online, you may get other awesome suggestions from friends who love what you post, too.
- Write on your recipes. Have a favorite recipe or cookbook? Write on it! Mark the page, highlight when you made the dish and who you were with when you did it. This helps jog memories when you come back to it even years later, and you’ll be able to remind those who were involved of the great time you had. Take a picture of the recipe, too, so it’s with you on your phone when you shop. This way, you know you’ll always remember the ingredients needed to make your favorite things.
- Forget the rules. Meals don’t need to have 10 zillion ingredients or be fancy and elaborate to be nutritious, delicious, and appropriate for you and your loved ones. Mix plain Greek yogurt with seasonal fruit and whole grain granola. Make a salad with whatever vegetables you have on hand, then add leftover cooked meat or chicken, cheese, and/or beans, and use salsa for dressing. Make soup with reduced sodium broth or bouillon, frozen veggies, and noodles or rice. Sometimes the simple things made with ingredients you have on hand are more satisfying than something that takes hours to prepare.
Even the smallest things can make a difference—all you have to do is give them a try!
IGA Health & Wellness Advisor Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND (@KimKirchherr) is a Registered Dietitian and the Vice President of National Dairy Council. Kim completed both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at Eastern Illinois University, where she was a graduate assistant for the Dining Services Department. For nearly ten years, Kim was the dietitian/nutrition spokesperson for Jewel-Osco (and SuperValu’s Midwest region 2006-2012). Prior to working in the supermarket industry, she worked in hospital-based health and fitness centers and in an outpatient education program, providing one-on-one sessions as well as community outreach.
For more smart eating tips, take a look at these other posts from Together Counts!