The other day a client was telling me about how a business trip derailed her healthy eating efforts. She lives in NYC and went to southern CA. There are plenty of healthy options in the golden state, but what she didn’t anticipate was her reaction to the availability of delicious Mexican food, her favorite cuisine. She said, “I just couldn’t get enough, and it was so good I didn’t want to stop eating it.”
The more we talked about it the more it became clear that her reaction had a lot to do with how bored she was with her NY daily diet. Like many busy people she had fallen into a rut of eating the same breakfast every day and alternating between the same few lunch and dinner options. Although she had been eating foods she truly liked, felt great and was getting results, eating had become rote. When I asked if she was tasting and enjoying her meals she thought for a minute and said, “No, now that I think about it I kind of tune out while I eat.”
Healthy eating is a lot like a relationship – you have to keep it interesting! Getting too routined can quickly lead to boredom and without even realizing it you may find yourself feeling enticed by more exciting options (and then overdoing it).
If you’ve found yourself in a food rut, set a goal of mixing it up. It can be as simple as swapping out one food within a meal, like making wild rice instead of brown or trading your daily apple for a pear. One of my clients got excited about eating healthfully again when she began alternating peanut butter with almond, cashew and macadamia nut butters (yum!).
If you can relate, try this experiment: this week change out at least one item at every meal just for a day and see how you feel. Tune in while you eat - pay attention to the textures, flavors and even aromas of your food. You may be surprised how much satisfaction you get by expanding your food horizons!