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
1. 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.
2. 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.
2. Herb-infused olive oils - tarragon, ginger, fennel and more.
3. 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!
4. 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.
Still need some help? Here is a list of the absolute best cookbooks on the market to help you fight those diet boredom blues!
The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
This cookbook features polenta, couscous and more!
Laurie’s Low-Carb Cookbook
This everyday chef shares recipes that are so easy to do!
Low Carb Meals In Minutes
Use this book and get six weeks worth of complete menus that include shopping lists.
Dr. Atkins New Diet Cookbook
This one’s from the creator of the Atkins Diet
The South Beach Diet Cookbook
This book is packed with more than 200 recipes for delicious low-fat foods
Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites
If meat isn’t your thing, this cookbook shares recipes from one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in America
American Heart Association Low-Fat Low-Cholesterol Cookbook
Are you trying to lower your cholesterol or take care of your heart? This book has great tasting recipes that are good for you—and your heart!
American Heart Association Meals in Minutes
If you’re constantly eating fast foods because you simply don’t have the time to create great tasting healthy meals, check out this book!
Joslin Diabetes Center's Vegetarian Diabetic Cookbook Meatless and vegan recipes that are low fat, high fiber, and delicious
The Guilt-Free Gourmet Famous cruise ship chef Sam Miles put together this wonderful cookbook from his six years traveling on ships as a cook.
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!