In today’s “diet culture, ” it can sometimes seem as though salad has become the go-to for weight management food. It’s lean, filled with veggies and rich with nutrients our bodies need. But let’s be honest… are we stuck eating salad forever if we want to lose weight or maintain it?
Finding Diversity in Whole Foods
Adding diversity to your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. Eating from all of the food groups will help ensure your body is receiving everything it needs — including healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.
While salads are indeed one of the healthier choices on the menu, they don’t necessarily provide all of the nutrients we require. How much variety are you really getting when you’re eating the same grilled chicken and romaine lettuce over and over again? And let’s face it. Eating the same foods time after time (no matter what the menu item is) can be downright boring. Without enough flavor and variety, you often risk more temptation and cravings. Who wouldn’t desire a cheeseburger after a week straight of eating salads?
Making Alternative, Healthy Choices
Thankfully, with a little strategy, you can incorporate a wide array of foods into your diet and reap the benefits — without giving up your favorite menu items. Consider the tips below for reaching beyond salad and choosing alternative, healthy choices:
- Everything in Moderation – You don’t have to give up your favorite foods all of the time. Find your healthy dose of moderation. Maybe it’s one night out of the week where you allow yourself to cook or order one of your cravings. Whatever that dose is, aim to eat on-track while allowing some flexibility along the way.
- Utilize Your Kitchen – For added variety, don’t be afraid to utilize all parts of your kitchen. That includes your oven, stove, conventional oven, microwave, grill — you name it! Get creative and have fun in the process.
- Choose Fresh Options – As often as possible, try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store where healthier, whole-food options are fresh and readily available. Farmer’s markets and produce stands are even better!
- Fill-up on Protein – Don’t limit yourself to grilled chicken and eggs in your salad for protein sources. Consider grilling, pan searing or baking other options such as fresh seafood, tofu, turkey and lean beef. Additionally, don’t discount the protein benefits of foods such as hummus, legumes, Greek yogurt or low-sugar protein bars.
- Don’t be Afraid of Grains – Carbs can be a scary word for some people, but remember that word we discussed earlier: moderation. When choosing grains, try to opt for whole-grain options in rice, breads, tortillas, etc.
- Eat from All Foods Groups – Remember, variety is key! If possible, try to choose a balance of foods from all the food groups: fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy and grains.
Want More Tips for Adding Whole Foods into Your Diet? CLICK HERE for additional information.