The Mindful Diet Week 5: Have More Fun with Your Food

There’s a good chance you’re getting bored with your same-old green smoothie for breakfast, kale salad for lunch, lean meat-and-veggies dinners, and chia-seed pudding for dessert. Now’s the time to mix up your repertoire.
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There’s a good chance you’re getting bored with your same-old green smoothie for breakfast, kale salad for lunch, lean meat-and-veggies dinners, and chia-seed pudding for dessert. Now’s the time to mix up your repertoire.
Salad greens

There’s a good chance you’re getting bored with your same-old green smoothie for breakfast, kale salad for lunch, lean meat-and-veggies dinners, and chia-seed pudding for dessert. Now’s the time to mix up your repertoire, says Kristeller. “Having fun right now will help you stay motivated to make it through this plan,” she says.

Day 29: Invest in a new kitchen gadget.

Maybe you’ve had your eye on a spiralizer that’ll make veggie “noodles,” or you’ve always wanted a microplane to easily zest spices and citrus over your food for low-cal, antioxidant-rich flavor. Treat yourself. “If cooking’s no fun, you’ll reach for unhealthier convenient foods and take-out,” says Laura Lagano, RD, an integrative nutritionist in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Day 30: Cook a new-to-you food.

Are you roasting the same vegetables or topping your salad with shredded carrots again? Choose one fruit or veggie you never incorporate into your meals and prepare it today, suggests Lagano. “Don’t just let that kumquat stare you down,” she says. “If you buy it at a farmer’s market, ask the farmer how he or she likes to use it.” Or go to vegetariantimes.com for recipe ideas.

Day 31: Win without Instagram.

Search #foodporn on Instagram and you’ll see more than 52 million pictures of crave-worthy food. While the food photos are a great way to get new recipe ideas, scrolling through too many and posting your own shots on social media may boost unhealthy cravings and contribute to weight gain, according to a new study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Days 32–33: Find joy in food shopping.

Going grocery shopping can feel like a big, annoying chore—or it can be a highlight of your week, says Debra L. Benfield, RDN, a nutrition counselor and registered yoga teacher in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Finding the grocery stores, farm stands, and little ethnic-food shops that help you connect to your food will not only make the shopping experience more fun, but will also inspire you to make smarter choices,” she says. “These spots often have far more whole foods and homemade offerings, and fewer processed foods.”

Days 34–35: Take a couple days off!

You’ve been testing your mettle in the kitchen this week, so give yourself a break. Organize a “healthy” potluck with friends in which everyone brings their favorite good-for-you recipe. Or, hit up your favorite whole-food restaurant. “Not only will this give you renewed energy to cook again next week, but it’ll help you see that it is possible to eat healthy when you’re socializing with friends or out at a restaurant,” says Benfield.

Continue on to the next week:

Return to the whole program

See also Cooking Tips: Add Love to Every Meal