Not too long ago, my mother and I were talking about food and diets. “Your grandmother used to feed you pasta five nights a week,” my mother insisted.
“She did not!” I exclaimed, stung. After all, I remembered my grandmother as a wonderfully varied cook who could make anything taste wonderful. She served all sorts of meals, not just pasta! There was spaghetti, of course — she was Italian, after all. But she also made Ziti with vegetables. And Linguine. And tuna casserole with. ..elbow macaroni. By the time I’d finished naming off a typical week’s worth of menus, I had to concede my mother’s point — but I made mine as well. “But… it didn’t FEEL like we were eating pasta every night!”
There’s a point to this story, I promise, and here it comes:
One of the biggest reasons that people slip off their diets and eating plans is BOREDOM.
It’s very easy to look at the foods allowed on your diet and see it as restrictive and boring. Chicken four nights a week. Fish three times a week. Green leafy vegetables till they’re coming out of your ears. Who wouldn’t get bored?
The answer is — anyone with a good set of cookbooks and a healthy imagination. Perk up your cabinet with spices and fill your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables, then look for novel ways to combine them.
Here are a handful of tips for non-boring, healthy, low-cal eating
- Spice it up!
Spices are one of the quickest ways out of the diet doldrums. Rosemary and fennel with chicken, mint rubbed into pork, pepper and lemon mint on fresh fish — the ‘blander’ the food, the higher the effect of the spices.
- Dress it up. Fruit vinaigrette dressings make wonderful marinades for meats and dressings for warm or cold vegetables. Try broccoli drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette or cabbage spiced up with apple vinegar and pepper.
- Herb-infused olive oils — tarragon, ginger, fennel and more.
- My brother the chef gave me a set of three oils for Christmas one year and it completely changed the way I’ll cook forever!
- Low sodium soy sauce is a great way to flavor up just about anything.
The bitterness of dark leafy greens like spinach were practically designed to be eaten with mandarin oranges, raspberries or chunks of pineapple.
So, now you’ve got some ideas and some resources — there should be no reason that you have to live with boring foods — even if you are on a diet!