Are you tired of eating chicken and broccoli every night? Looking to change up your weekly meals? This article provides 5 practical tips to add variety to your plate.
Variety is key because…variety in foods = variety in nutrients. Eating different colors and combinations of foods from the main food groups is a good sign of a healthy diet!
If previous diets taught you to limit your intake to only a few foods, this is your permission slip to eat outside the box and explore new foods and flavors!
5 Tips to Add Variety to Meals
#1 Theme Nights
Start with a few theme nights to simplify dinner decision-making. Try #TacoTuesday, pizza Thursdays, or fish Fridays. Within each “theme” come up with various recipes.
In my house, we’ve been on the taco Tuesday train. We rotate through recipes like my Portobello Mushroom Tacos, Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Skillet, Fish Tacos, and Lentil Cauliflower Tacos. Notice all the variety even within one theme? Have fun with trying theme nights!
#2 Spice Things Up
Use spices and herbs to change the flavor profile of meals. Perhaps you’re tired of eating the same plain steamed broccoli with dinner. Have you tried broccoli with a squeeze of lemon, fresh parmesan, cracked pepper, and garlic powder? YUM! You can completely transform any dish by changing the seasoning.
The website Cook Smarts has an informative guide to spices and herbs found here.
#3 Shop Seasonal
Follow mother nature to add variety to your plate. Shopping for in-season produce can help you try new foods, save money, and enjoy foods in their prime state. Living in Indiana, I gravitate towards berries and peaches in the summer months. Versus the fall/winter months, I include more apples and pears. Add 2-3 seasonal ingredients on your next grocery trip!
Go to Seasonal Food Guide to find out what’s in season near you.
#4 Jazz Up Classic Recipes
Make a list of your go-to recipes. Now, identify 1-2 variations you could try for that recipe. For example, pasta is a classic go-to recipe for me. I grew up eating buttered noodles and spaghetti with Larosa’s sauce (it’s an Ohio thing). Once I started cooking on my own, I made slight variations to these recipes. Variation #1: sauteed bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms added to the marinara sauce. Variation #2: homemade meatballs as a new topper!
#5 Swap Sides
Let’s go back to the earlier example of chicken and broccoli. Keeping chicken as the main dish, there are still plenty of ways to switch up the sides. Try roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus one night, quinoa and bell peppers the next, and lastly grilled zucchini and mushrooms with rice. You get the idea! This is a great way to mix it up in a short amount of time.
I’m excited to hear how you add variety to your meals while saving time and money!
What is one action step you can take to add variety to your meals this week?