Switch It Up: 8 Ways to Conquer Meal Boredom After Bariatric Surgery
originally posted here.
How To Handle Meal Boredom!
Ever feel bored of the same old thing? Are you always trying to think of what to make for dinner? You are not alone. Boredom is the number one reason people stray from making healthy choices. Meal boredom is common but can cause us to stray off our healthy eating plan.
A very smart doctor once told me, “The only diet someone will follow is a diet they can follow.” This is so true. I have tried to include some interesting ways to avoid food boredom and stay on track to reach your health goals.
Food should be interesting and mealtime should be something that you look forward to. Sharing a meal with a friend or loved ones is an important time of the day and shouldn’t be sacrificed. A dinner table is a special place to join together and discuss the day and to regroup as a family or to relax in your home. Keep meals interesting, and avoid food rut and meal boredom!
8 Ways to Conquer Meal Boredom
CHANGE YOUR PATH
Do you always stop on the way to work at the same fast food places or drive through? A few times a week take a different route. Remove the temptation. Maybe you’ll find a healthier choice in your path. Or maybe on those days try bringing your meals with you to work. You’ll save money and be in charge of your food choices by planning ahead.
You are in charge of what you eat. Try not to let the easy or quick option dictate your choices for you. Be the owner of your daily routine. Taking charge of you and your choices give you the power to reach your health goals!
MIX UP YOUR DAY
Who says breakfast foods can’t be for dinner? Make eggs or oatmeal with fresh berries for dinner one night. Did you have a great dinner last night and have leftovers? Heat them up for breakfast or pack them for lunch and take to work. There are many mornings my family eats turkey meatballs for breakfast.
Starting the day with protein is the important thing. Pick a different protein than you usually do and it won’t be monotonous. Always think about your “carrier.” There are just so many choices of proteins (turkey, chicken, lamb, veal, pork, dairy, seafood). Make some delicious tuna fish with low-fat mayo or ¼ smashed avocado and one day put it in a scooped out red pepper. The next day, try a scooped out tomato or cucumber. Mixing up the carrier keeps it appealing.
EAT THE RAINBOW
Make a list: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and brown. Try to eat fruit and/or vegetable each day that is a different color. Each color provides essential vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that are good for your heart, supports your immunity, improves your digestion, helps guard against cancers, and boosts your metabolism. This will open the door to many other foods that are not as common.
It is a fun way to get the whole family involved too in helping plan the menu for the week. Remember to plan ahead and prep your food, you will make healthier choices. Try red cabbage, pumpkin, yellow peppers, kale, blueberries, purple cauliflower or plums, jicama, mushrooms, and almonds.
Spices and seasoning is something you add to your food to bring out the flavor. Don’t be bland and boring! Ideas can be salt, pepper, spices, herbs, and fresh juices like lemon or lime.
There is a whole world out there of spices and herbs. You can easily change the flavor of the same “boring” proteins by switching up the taste. The most popular spices and herbs are coriander, nutmeg, allspice, basil, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, dill, rosemary, saffron, sage, turmeric, thyme, cilantro, chives, garlic, ginger, mint, and many others. Try adding to soups and proteins to make a more interesting dish.
SPRING-CLEAN THE CUPBOARDS
Each season you should take inventory of your pantry and cupboards. Check expiration dates and discard foods that are outdated. Don’t forget your spices too!
Rotate foods by dates and use the ones that are close to expiring first to eliminate waste. This may spark some ideas to use foods that haven’t been seen in awhile. Make omelets out of leftovers in the fridge. Stir fry whatever veggies are left in the fridge at the end of the week with a protein.
Fruit salad is a great thing to take to work before those fresh fruits go bad. Have a lot of extras that you don’t know what to do with? Try Supercook and input the ingredients and it will give you recipes to try!
PLANT A GARDEN
There’s nothing better than watching your food grow before your own eyes! It is a fun family project, has a positive impact on the environment, saves money on groceries, provides you better tasting foods, gives you time outside to reduce stress and exercise, and healthier foods without fertilizers and pesticides. Designate a space outside or pick a nice windowsill in the sun.
Watch and enjoy what you have created. Plan new recipes around the foods that you are growing at home. Make morning green shakes out of veggies from the garden! Fresh tomato and onion salad compliments every meal.
GRILL. GRILL. GRILL.
‘Tis the season to barbeque. Eliminate the fat in cooking. Use a spray to coat the grill and say goodbye to butter and oils. Take some of those fresh veggies from your garden or store-bought ones and grill them with seasonings like thyme, rosemary, and lemon pepper. Don’t cover your healthy BBQ food in heavy sauces or gravy. Grill pineapple slices to top any protein for fresh citrus flavor. Grill shish kebobs, fish for fish tacos, skewered shrimp, turkey, and chicken burgers.
TRY AN ALTERNATIVE MEAL PLAN
Want to be inspired? Incorporate some vegan or plant based protein choices. These foods will provide you with essential amino acids that humans need. Lentils, chickpeas, nuts, spirulina, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, soy, edamame, mycoprotein, chia or hemp seeds, seitan, and Ezekiel bread are flavorful and nutrient-dense protein options.
Vegan and vegetarian diets do not just have to be for religious or personal preference. They provide wonderful selections of foods to incorporate into your daily diets. There are a tremendous amount of recipes using these foods to keep it interesting for you. How can you be bored with all of these possibilities!
If you’d like to try new recipes, check out the Recipes on ObesityHelp!
Your Healthy Lifestyle and Meal Boredom!
Living a healthy lifestyle is a daily commitment. Losing weight or maintaining your health goals is attainable. Keeping food interesting and exciting is your first line of defense to do away with boredom. There are endless possibilities. I hope you try some of the ideas in this article and enjoy your food. Consuming foods that will make you feel good and give you energy shouldn’t be a chore, but your right!
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon George, MS, RD, CDN received her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University. She completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at L.I.U.C.W. Post and received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Hofstra University. She has been published in OH Magazine and Bariatrics Today. Sharon has dedicated her career to Bariatric Nutrition for the past 15 years at the New York Bariatric Group.