Are you tired of your diet? Committed to your fitness goals, but getting sick of eating the same foods day in and day out? Here’s the good news: it is possible to reinvigorate your palate and start enjoying your meal plan once again! If you are following a diet, you must stick to a certain amount of protein, carbs and fat each day—all within a set amount of calories. But, that doesn’t mean you have to always eat chicken and broccoli! So, give those tired, same-old staple foods a rest and bust out of your food rut with these five switch-ups:
Tired Food #1: Broccoli
Yes, broccoli offers up amazing healthy benefits including being a great source of fiber and being rich in the strong antioxidant sulforaphane, which neutralizes cancer causing free radicals. But, if you are tired of this staple, it’s time to mix it up!
Fix it Food: Asparagus
Asparagus is a low calorie, high fiber vegetable that provides folate, vitamins A, E, C and K, as well as the insulin mimicker chromium! It’s also high in the powerful antioxidant glutathione that detoxifies and neutralizes harmful free radicals in the body. What’s more, asparagus contains a high level of asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic. And even better, there are a few varieties of asparagus including purple, white and, of course, green—each with a unique flavor profile! Grill, roast or stir-fry your asparagus to preserve their nutritional content and antioxidant power!
Tired Food #2: Chicken
Just about any diet plan aimed at adding muscle and burning off body fat includes skinless, boneless chicken breast as a staple. Chicken breast meat is an excellent source of protein with little fat. Specifically, a 3-ounce serving offers up 26 grams of protein and about 5 grams of fat. But, there is another lean white meat that can do a little better!
Fix it Food: Turkey
Turkey, although often reserved for only special occasions, is a great alternative to chicken and is actually a little leaner. A 3-ounce serving provides less protein (24 grams vs. 26 grams), but it also contains less fat (1 gram vs. 5 grams). That’s about 1/5 of the total fat contained in an equivalent portion of chicken breast. And, better yet, it also contains less saturated fat.
Tired Food #3: Spinach
This leafy green is packed full of vitamins and minerals and is a regular go-to for salads. In fact, just a few cups will provide approximately 600% of your daily recommend dose of vitamin K. It also offers up energizing B-vitamins, and the minerals magnesium and iron. Iron helps with the transport of oxygen throughout the body including working muscles. Magnesium helps aid in muscle recovery. B-vitamins help convert the food we eat into useable energy. This powerhouse leaf, however, can get a little dull, if you are eating bowl after bowl of it!
Fix it Food: Kale
Another leafy green that offers some variety and versatility is Kale, which comes from the same vegetable family as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts! It is very high in beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium and is a source of antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and the potent sulforaphane. Kale is also provides indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells. Even better, Kale contains compounds that can help to lower cholesterol and decrease the absorption of dietary fat! This super green comes in purple and green varieties can be used as a replacement for spinach in salad or can be lightly sautéed and used as a side.
Tired Food #4: Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter is usually the staple nut butter choice. Packed with fiber and good for you monounsaturated fats, a single tablespoon of peanut butter provides 94 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates. Peanut butter is packed with vitamin B3, folate and vitamin E, the mineral magnesium, the amino acid arginine and the antioxidant p-coumaric acid. Peanut butter makes a great addition to shakes, but did you know there is another nut butter that has almost the same nutritional value and offers up a different taste profile?
Fix it Food: Almond Butter
Almond butter is a great alternative to peanut butter, especially for those with peanut allergies. Almond butter also contains more fiber, calcium, potassium, iron and manganese than peanut butter and about half of the saturated fat. And, just like peanut butter, almond butter is an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and protein. A tablespoon of almond butter provides 101 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein! Instead of peanut butter, try a spoonful of almond butter in your next shake!
Tired Food #5: Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a great source of dairy protein. Cottage cheese is often considered an old school fitness food, but it has some versatility, as it can be eaten by itself, with fruit, or added to an existing recipe to up the protein content. Just 1 cup provides 28 grams of protein! And, because it is high in the slow-digesting casein protein, it’s a great nighttime protein. However, many find the texture and taste of cottage cheese less than desirable despite its good nutritional offerings. Well, cottage cheese can go back on the dairy shelf, because there’s a new favorite dairy protein in town.
Fix it Food: Greek Yogurt
Recently, Greek yogurt has become quite popular for more than a few reasons. This dense yogurt is the result of removing the liquid whey from a traditional yogurt. As a result of doing so, this rich, creamy yogurt contains more protein, little lactose and fewer carbohydrates and sugar that a typical yogurt! In fact, it packs double the amount of protein than regular yogurt! A 6-ounce serving provides about 80 calories and 15 grams of protein! So, go ahead and swap your cottage cheese for a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt.