Healthy eating can be fun!

Healthy eating doesn't have to be boring. Learn new ways to expand your healthy choices.

Starting a healthy eating plan or following a healthy diet for years can be a struggle without having some variation and creativity. Some people feel they are depriving themselves of fun and exciting foods because they are limiting themselves from high fat and sugar. There are many flavorful food combinations and new cooking ideas that can jazz up meals and snacks.

Here are 10 ways recommended by Michigan State University Extension to keep your healthy eating interesting and fun:

  • Experiment with new food combinations: Include mango or peach slices on whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Add mandarin oranges or strawberries into a salad.
  • Include chickpeas or black beans in salads and soups. Blend chickpeas into a dip for vegetables.
  • Add tofu in Asian style recipes or toss in a blender to add protein to fruit smoothies.
  • Plan nutritious snacks when time is limited. Spread brown rice cakes with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries or low-sugar fruit spread. Try low-fat muffins with apple and cheese slices. Mix fat-free refried beans with salsa, a small amount of low-fat sour cream and baked tortilla chips.
  • Add more fiber such as crushed bran, oats or whole grains to baked products; cookies, muffins casseroles.
  • Mix varieties of greens, kale, collards, spinach, watercress, etc for various textures and flavors.
  • Experiment with a variety of salsas. Whether they are fruity, mild, smooth, or chunky, salsa is a great addition to potatoes, vegetables, chicken and even eggs.
  • Use herbs and spices to add color, taste and aroma. Add cilantro to rice or bean dishes, sprinkle rosemary on roasted potatoes or grilled meats.
  • Explore foods from other cultures, Mexican, Asian, Indian, etc. They can be nutritious as well as exciting new flavors.

Exploring new foods and flavors can help keep healthy food choices from becoming dull and boring. MSU Extension recommends eating a variety of different foods. Based on the USDA MyPlate  research, watching portion sizes and adding variety is the most efficient method of maintaining a healthy weight.

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