Whether you’re just starting a plan for healthy eating or have been following a healthy diet for years, sticking to it can sometimes be challenging. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or tiresome. Flavorful food combinations, new cooking ideas, and an inventive spirit can add pizazz to your meals and snacks and keep you motivated to meet your goals for healthy eating.
Here are 10 ways to keep you on course toward healthy eating:
- Get out of the rut. Experiment with new foods and combinations. Try mango or peach slices on whole-wheat toast with a little peanut butter and honey. Toss some mandarin orange or peach slices into a salad.
- Think beans. Add chick peas (garbanzos) or black beans to your lunch or dinner salad. If you typically buy a salad at work and no beans are available, bring a container of beans from home.
- Try tofu. Stir-fry with extra-firm or firm tofu rather than meat in Asian-style dishes. Freezing and then thawing tofu before use gives it a firmer, chewier texture.
- Go short. Make a nutritious snack rather than a full meal when time is tight. For example, spread a brown rice cake with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries or low-sugar, spreadable fruit. Or try low-fat corn muffins with apple and cheese slices, or fat-free refried beans mixed with salsa, a small amount of low-fat sour cream, and baked tortilla chips.
- Be sneaky. Add crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to baked products, such as meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes, and cookies. Also, use bran products as a crunchy topping for casseroles, salads, or cooked vegetables.
- Go greener. Vary your salad greens and enjoy the multitude of flavors and textures that are available besides plain iceberg lettuce. Choices include arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, or watercress. Buy a different variety each week or just mix and match.
- Multitask. Choose a dish that serves as a full meal for quick and simple cooking. Healthy examples include beef, barley, and vegetable stew; chicken, vegetable, and rice casserole; turkey and bean casserole with tomatoes; or vegetarian chili with diced vegetables.
- Spice it up. Use salsa for more than just chips. Whether it’s mild, fruity, hot, smooth, or chunky, salsa is a great companion for potatoes, vegetables, fish, chicken, meats, and even eggs.
- Go herbal. Use herbs and spices to add color, savory taste, and sensational aroma. Add cilantro to rice or bean dishes. Sprinkle rosemary on roasted potatoes or grilled meats. Add freshly chopped chives to omelets or pasta salads.
- Explore the world. Discover and enjoy foods from around the world: Mexican, Latin American, Indian, Greek, French, and Asian cuisines, just to name a few. Some of the world’s most intriguing ingredients — quinoa, edamame, bok choy, bulgur — are as healthy as they are delicious.
This article was prepared by staff of the Mayo Clinic.