Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Anyone else get a bit tired of eating the same things? Me too, but you get:
stuck in a rut of knowing what you like
lazy to find anything new
comfort and so on....
It's easy to fall out of love with food. When you eat your meals out of routine, "it's lunchtime so...here goes another ham sandwich!" day in, day out, you get bored, You look forward to the weekend and stuff your face with your favourite things to make up for the boring but convenient options during the week. It doesn't have to be like that! Variety is indeed the spice of life so here are some possible ideas. This really helped me use routine to actually VARY my diet whilst I worked the 9-5 office hours. These tips can however be adapted to suit your lifestyle, so...let's go.
I would prepare the porridge the night before by putting all the dry stuff ready for the morning in the pan or in a bowl ready to tip in. This was because I found myself to be really hungry first thing in the morning and then my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I would make too much and either eat it all even though I was full because I didn't want to waste food, or, well wasted the food. So I began to measure out the ingredients when I wasn't hungry and still half asleep. Saved time, money and unnecessary calories.
Each day I would have 2 types of fruit a day.
E.g. FIRST portion I get with my breakfast. I might have porridge and add fruit like bananas, blueberries or cherries (in fact, so many fruit options are easy and quick and go with porridge).. I use either soya or semi sk
immed milk. I add chia seeds, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds. I usually added either cinnamon or cacao powder and raisins. Or wholewheat toast with peanut butter (Natural no added sugar/ salt / palm oil! And no - it's not expensive. Aldi do a very lovely peanuts only peanut butter. Use any other nut butter but go easy on them especially Cashew nut butter.) I’d drink 500ml of warm water whilst this was cooking before I ate anything and have a cup of tea / coffee with it my breakfast.
Try overnight oats (1 grated apple, 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt, soya or any other non-dairy alternative or semi-skimmed milk, then your own extras if you like. E.g. see porridge additions) or whole wheat toast with boiled eggs or avocado or whole nut peanut butter with mashed fresh fruit like strawberries. I also liked spinach and scrambled eggs with wholewheat toast.
Even easier, I had salads which followed very simple idea.
1 type of fruit (pears, peaches, mangos fruit goes so well in salads) - my second portion of the day.
1 protein (Fish, tofu, Quorn sausages, chicken, smoked fish etc)
Unlimited leafy greens and any other veg like peppers, tomatoes and I liked to add things like pickled beetroot or gherkins etc.
I added one kind of cheese / healthy fat– halloumi, feta, brie, avocado.
And dressing – really simple – a citrus fruit like lemon, lime or orange juice, with olive oil or balsamic with oil or try thyme, honey and soya sauce and a dash of olive oil.
You can spice it up with things like grated ginger, coriander or other herbs and spices.
You can if you are having a long day, add carbs too! Don’t think you can’t, as I mentioned before, carbs are NOT bad for you. Try Qunioa, bulgur wheat, whole wheat pasta, rye bread, roasted sweet potatoes.
You can also add a plethora of different things like lentils, chick peas and beans, roasted butternut squash, flaked almonds/ seeds / nuts, roasted tomatoes etc.
This just meant that it helped take the mundanity away from thinking of new things for lunch but wasn't difficult to switch up. It's so easy to fall into patterns because it's easy and we're creatures of habit. So keep to simple rules to make it easy and quick to prepare but still tasty to have!
SALADS DO NOT HAVE TO BE BORING! They can be filling, exciting and most importantly tasty and nutritious!
Same principles, centre it around vegetables and protein then add carbs.
E.g I might have kale + mushrooms etc with Quorn mince (you can add beef strips perhaps) and some ginger, garlic, spring onions (you can easily whizz a big batch and put portions in the freezer in an ice cube tray or in a jar with oil), a bit of tomato paste with soya sauce and I liked to add in things like coriander, a bit of Siracha, chili paste/flakes (I buy a big bag of birds eye chillies and freeze them) can top it off with sesame seeds – you can leave it like that or add in some yummy whole wheat noodles perhaps! NOT precooked – they need oil to keep them from sticking so I get them dried and they are literally the easiest thing to cook, just boil in water. That’s it.
Or just a nice piece of fish baked with lime and garlic and sweet potato with tons of veg of your liking.
Me too. I like 85% dark chocolate from Aldi because it’s pre-packaged size for you and not very sweet. I have it with a cup of green or normal tea – it makes it feel like it lasts longer and it’s more of an event so I remember eating it.
Or dates stuffed with peanut butter. Be careful with this! It's sweet! High in calories, sugar and fats BUT the idea is you have one or two and that's enough. It's quick, natural and filling.
I also like to cover fruit in it, I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries? Yes please! (I still use dark chocolate, melt it in a bowl in a pan of hot water, cover chosen fruit, bung it in the fridge.)
Summer is great for frozen berries, I like to destone cherries, or blueberries are also great. In fact any fruit you like, and put them in the freezer. You can also add these to greek yoghurt to make ice lollies.
Quick and easy sorbet / ice cream is to whiz frozen bananas with a maybe another fruit like mango, with some yoghurt or coconut milk.
Snacks at work
Nuts are great for this. Walnuts, almonds – raw is best. But if you wanted a bit more flavour try roasting them without oil low and slow – the higher the temp the more likely to damage the damage the healthy polyunsaturated fats (remember these are the omega 6 and 3 which help to keep cholesterol low) they keep you full. Or seeds.
I try not to have too many dried fruits, it’s often high in both natural and preservative sugar. Try the freeze-dried ones instead https://therottenfruitbox.com/pages/our-story
I also like to take in things like cherry tomatoes (I get obsessed with them) or try making your own hummus (super easy, tahini – a sesame paste, olive oil, chickpeas and lemon, you can add in your own flavourings like garlic or chillies or paprika etc – point is you can control the amount of salt and oil etc. You can use some of the tinned pea water to loosen up the mixture) with veg sticks.
You can even get adventurous and bake some chickpeas in the oven with herbs and spices.
Don’t forget to drink too throughout the day to help sate hunger and keep your mind alert! I liked to have hot drinks so I felt more satisfied but favoured herbal and green teas. (We spoke about the kinds of drinks earlier on.)
Try to cut back on diet drinks as there are plenty of additional chemicals. Avoid sugary options - swap soda for fizzy water and a splash of cordial.
For coffees, swap heavy milk based ones for Americano (with milk if you prefer it).
Also don’t forget you can do meditation anytime for 5 minutes too, just use that time to think about your breath if you struggle to know what to do in that time.
In short ...
Try to go back to whole foods as much as you can. I know how tasty processed food is, I know It’s cheap and I know it's convenient. I don’t believe you need to cut it out to live a healthy lifestyle but I try to keep processed food at less than 10% of my weekly intake. Where possible – I make my own sauces – think a tin of tomatoes, red wine, anchovies, garlic and onions, herbs and spices.... or a curry sauce with turmeric, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander seeds, bay leaves, mustard seeds, coconut milk/a bit of yoghurt, or tartare sauce think Greek yoghurt with capers, gherkins, fresh parsley, lemon and seasoning. Make your own peanut sate– garlic, ginger, soya sauce, honey, peanut butter (whole nuts).
I know in short term – it may cost you more to buy all the things individually but they will last you many meals (dried herbs and spices cost literally 49p at Aldi!) and tinned tomatoes are like 39p! Chickpeas are 40p. They can be used again and again!