Variety Really IS The Spice of LifePublished on Thursday, October 27, 2022 by
We’ve heard the old saying “variety is the spice of life” plenty of times, in plenty of scenarios.
Does this saying apply to food? It’s not to say that you can’t enjoy the same foods every day or have your favorite meals. We are all creatures of habit, right? But there is a lot to be said about eating seasonally and switching up your meals regularly.
If you are someone who eats the same breakfast every day, drinks protein shakes or replacement meals, and relies on the same dinner menu week after week, keep reading.
Try thinking about all the vitamins and minerals, macro and micronutrients as pieces of a puzzle. When you have all the puzzle pieces, you end up with a complete, balanced picture. But, if you are missing some pieces you might never know what you are looking at. We can apply the same theory to our diets. If you are eating the same foods over and over again, you are getting the same nutrients over and over again.
Having a varied diet is all about adding more foods in, not restricting any of the foods you already enjoy. Eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, and fish will provide you with more than enough of the daily requirements.
Here are 7 tips on how to easily increase your variety:
Offer and enjoy fruits and vegetables as your snack.Many people snack 1-2 times a day pretty regularly. By planning ahead and opting for an apple with cheese or carrot sticks with hummus, you’ve already increased your fruit and vegetable serving for the day.
Save your grocery list!If you save your grocery list week over week, you can make fast choices at the store to add variety. Did you buy strawberries, apples, spinach, and broccoli last week? Go for oranges, pears, grapes, carrots, peas, and peppers this week.
Taste the rainbow:Different colors of food provide different nutrients. For example- the red in foods such as cranberries and tomatoes is lycopene, which is heart protective, and orange in foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes are carotenoids which protect your eye health and immune health. The North Dakota State University Extension has a great resource on eating the rainbow!
Plan ahead!Meal planning can seem tedious at first or even overwhelming. But planning out your lunches, prepping an easy breakfast, and having a dinner rotation is a great way to have variety. Here’s an Easy Sheet Pan Fajita meal prep recipe to save you time this week!
Shopping with kids?If your budget allows, let your child pick a color and go food shopping. Does your son love purple? Look for plums, eggplant, blueberry yogurt, or grapes. Have another one who is obsessed with all things orange? Grab some carrots, clementines, or pumpkins.
Bring your kids into the kitchen.Cooking with kids is…complicated. For some of us, we love adventure and embrace the mess. For others, maybe the kitchen is your quiet space and you like to cook alone or with minimal distraction. I encourage you to give your kids jobs in the kitchen. Something as simple as washing the grapes, chopping the broccoli, or peeling a cucumber will drastically increase the chances of your kids trying new foods! Exposure is key! I highly recommend these knives, this magical crinkle-cutting tool, and this peeler for young helpers.
Eat seasonally.Many of us are fortunate enough to have access to fresh foods regularly. We can find strawberries in January if we really want them. But when we eat foods in season, they are fresher, tastier, and often less expensive.
Having go-to meals that work for you and your family is always a good idea. But making small changes can make a big difference in your overall health. What foods will you try this week?
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