When Healthier Decisions Limit Your Meals, How Do you Expand Your Menu?

bigstock-Mix-Salad-Romaine-Arugula-Sp-85909253So you’ve chosen to make healthier meals…now what? When Mark and I decided we’d eliminate gluten, dairy and sugar and focus on eating whole foods, we knew it would be difficult at first (neither of us are that creative or gifted in the kitchen), but we weren’t anticipating Sunday evenings to be so grueling. We sit on our couch, grouchy and frustrated, because we’re sick and tired of eating the same things over and over again.

There are only so many meat and vegetable options we could come up with…the Crock Pot and Paleo recipes have held us over for a few months, but we’re getting restless once again. Is this the moment where strict and dedicated fit folks fall off the bandwagon? You grab for that big ol’ burrito not because you’re craving the mean thing, but because you can’t stomach another bite of grilled chicken and asparagus? I went a month eating the same quinoa-apple breakfast mix before I cursed the kitchen gods and then begged for something new to eat. I’m currently slurping down protein smoothies until I find the next breakfast winner. I’m coming to the end of my healthy eating rope though!

I’d love to know how folks keep it real in the kitchen…How do you cook, and what do you do when you grow absolutely bonkers bored with what you’ve been cooking up? My taste buds are falling asleep! My stomach yawns! I need new! I crave new! I want to eat new for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Any suggestions? How do you spice things up? Any websites (besides Fit Bottomed Eats, of course!) or cookbooks that really melt your butter? How about I make it a bit harder…We also are on a Ramen Noodle budget (being that we’re paying for a wedding and all!), so it’s not like we can just start eating out at amazingly tasty healthy food restaurants when we need a jolt.

We can’t be the only ones in a rut, right? Help! —Tish

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  1. Kathryn says:

    I find that adding fresh herbs wherever possible makes a huge difference to any meal

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m a personal trainer, and when my business partner and I were writing the recipes for our online nutrition workshop (it’s called BODYReDESIGN), we followed a couple of guidelines for keeping it easy but interesting:

    1) Give each week a different cuisine “theme” (Mexican, Asian, Italian, etc) so that you never have to eat something for more than a week. This also makes grocery shopping easier, since a lot of ingredients for different dishes will overlap.
    2) Make 5 or 6 recipes for the week, and make them in bulk so you’re not cooking all the time. We found it useful to always have a breakfast, a salad, a soup or chili, a protein main dish, and a vegetable side dish on hand. That way you can mix and match so it feels like you get more variety during the week.
    3) If you like to cook, plan one night a week where you can experiment with a new dish you’ve been wanting to try.

    Hope this helps!

  3. I’m pretty creative and don’t often follow recipes for verbatim, but I love the Whole Living Power Foods, Super Natural Everyday and Sprouted Kitchen cookbooks for inspiration. These aren’t gluten-free cookbooks, but they concentrate on real, whole foods and I suspect a lot of the recipes wouldn’t be difficult to adapt if you’ve been doing Paleo for a while.

  4. misty says:

    I found a new breakfast recipe recently that’s high in protein. 1/3 cup each oats and 1% cottage cheese, three egg whites, 1/3 scoop protein powder two packets splenda (or similar) and half a teaspoon vanilla or flavoring of choice. Makes the BEST protein pancakes.

  5. Nina W says:

    Thanks for the suggestion Misty, your protein pancakes sound yummy!!

    I’m not that creative I’m afraid although having lived in Japan for 3 years I really got into eating sashimi for breakfast. I know it might be a little expensive for your budget by my favorite is a large fillet of tuna or salmon eaten as sashimi or lightly seared on both sides in a pan. My perfect protein start.

  6. FBG Tish says:

    Thanks y’all! These are great suggestions! I want to try the pancakes super duper bad lol! Off to check out some new cookbooks, too!

  7. Charlene says:

    I found adding spices and switching to different hot sauces with proteins like eggs and other meals keeps it from becoming boring.

  8. Jennifer says:

    It’s probably too late in the season for this year – but join a CSA. You’ll get a huge variety of fresh produce, and often things you wouldn’t normally buy so it forces you to look for a new recipe or preparation method. Last week ours had sunchokkes and garlic scapes along with more typical onions, radishes, lettuce, etc.