Oftentimes, one of the most difficult things about sticking with a diet is staving off boredoms. Most diets designed to help you drop pounds or lose fat restrict processed, sugary foods and consist primarily of low-calorie foods that are rich in nutrients but aren’t always the most fun mealtime option. When you build a diet that you get tired of after a few days or weeks, you probably won’t stick with it for very long.
Making sure that you don’t get bored with the foods you eat every day is an essential part of developing a healthy, sustainable diet that doesn’t make you want to give up. You don’t have to choose between sticking with your diet and enjoying the foods you eat. Eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t have to bore you to tears. If you make an effort to keep your diet interesting and yummy, you’ll find that it’s much easier to stick with your healthy lifestyle long-term and make more progress toward your ultimate fitness goals.
1. Go Out More
Going out to eat more often is rarely a suggestion thrown at those who are trying to maintain a healthy diet. However, exploring healthy options at restaurants is a great way to put fun back into healthy eating. Check out places that are known for their healthy plates. Many restaurants have capitalized on the popularity of clean eating by adding flavorful meals that are low in calories, fat, and sugar to their menus.
Beware of giant restaurant portions. Most restaurants, even those that advertise healthy options, serve you way too much food on one plate. Always pay close attention to your body and stop eating when you start feeling full. If you have trouble listening to your body, divide your meal in half when it first arrives and set one half aside. After you eat half of your food, you’ll be forced to stop and reassess your hunger before reaching for the rest of your meal.
2. Use Substitutes
You can make diet-friendly versions of your favorite foods using healthier substitutes for standard ingredients. This way, you can still indulge in the meals you love to eat without completely breaking your diet.
Look into sugar substitutes if you’re missing homemade baked goods. Applesauce, maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar can all be used in place of over-processed, refined white sugar in many recipes. When making substitutions in recipes, always do your research to figure out how much of the substitute you should add. Most ingredients and their substitutes are not perfectly interchangeable.
3. Get Into Meal Prep
There are tons of diet-friendly recipes out there that are exciting and filled with nutrients. Many of them just take a little more time and effort to prepare than a plain grilled chicken breast or a simple salad. Oftentimes, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to cook up meals that are more flavorful but more complex.
Meal prepping can help you keep your diet interesting without taking too much time out of your busy schedule. If you can carve out a couple of hours one day a week, you can prep a weeks’ worth of meals so you won’t have to choose between eating a boring lunch and being late to work. Separate the meals you prep into portions and store them in the fridge or freezer in individual containers. This way, you can easily take the food to work with you or just warm it up and eat it at home within minutes.
4. Keep Up With the Seasons
Nature provides you with a new variety of healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables on a seasonal basis. It’s hard to get bored of the fruits and veggies you can eat when different types become available every few months. Find a local farmer’s market near you and have fun exploring your produce choices there as they change with the seasons.
You can also freeze some of your favorite fruits or vegetables when they’re about to go out of season. Blend these frozen treats into a smoothie if you get bored of the produce selection in the market and find yourself longing for the fruits and veggies of seasons past.
5. Balance Wisely
Over-restrictive diets are almost never a good idea. Diets that don’t allow you to eat certain foods at all are not sustainable and get very boring very quickly. Focus on maintaining balance in your diet rather than cutting out food groups altogether.
When you’re feeling tired of eating the same bland, healthy foods over and over again, make a meal that includes a food you really love, like pasta or red meat. Keep your portion of not-so-healthy food small and supplement it with a larger amount of low-calorie, nutrient-rich sides like veggies or lentils. This way, you keep your meal interesting and delicious without sacrificing nutrition or gorging on empty calories.
6. Get Creative
There are many ways to make healthy diet staples more interesting and more fun to eat. Sources of lean protein like fish, lean meats like chicken, vegetables, and eggs all serve as healthy foundations which you can manipulate and add other ingredients to in order to make them less bland.
Try eating eggs every morning for a week, but cook them differently each day. Try out different spice blend recipes and sprinkle them over chicken or fish. Find or create natural salad dressing recipes low in sugar and calories and experiment with pairing them with a variety of salads and vegetables.
7. Look at Labels
You can find low-calorie, low-fat, and reduced sugar versions of many foods that are normally high in unhealthy ingredients. You can buy healthier versions of anything from cheese to bread to ice cream.
Beware of foods that are advertised as low-fat, low-calorie, or reduced sugar but also contain a bunch of unfamiliar chemicals. Steer clear of these artificial chemical-laden foods and opt for food products with more recognizable ingredients instead.
Healthy diets and boring food don’t have to be synonymous. With a little bit of creativity, you can devise a diet that’s both nutritious and delicious to keep yourself on track toward your health goals without getting bored or discouraged.