March 03rd, 2020


Variety is the Spice of a Healthy Meal Plan


Following nutritional advice is hard. It often seems like the target is always moving, and the pace of new studies is difficult for even the most avid health enthusiast to keep up with. To make matters worse, the human body is extremely complicated with infinite variations among each one of us. Who knows what the ideal diet is?


A proven way to ensure that you are getting all of the energy and nutrients that your body needs is to eat a wide variety of foods every day. That means eating from each of the five food groups, as well as making different choices within those groups. Eating many different types of food promotes good health and can help reduce the risk of disease. Not to mention that it will keep your diet interesting with different colors, flavors and textures. 


Some tips for keeping your meal plan exciting include:


Eat the rainbow

Adding a variety of colorful produce to your diet is an easy way to get a lot of vitamins and minerals. That is because the phytochemicals that give food their color indicate what type of nutrients they contain. For instance, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (like oranges and carrots) are abundant in vitamins C and A. Green fruits and veggies (kale, spinach, asparagus) are high in vitamins K, B, and E. 


Swap out foods in the same group

The same idea about a variety of foods in general can be applied within the food groups themselves. Not all proteins are created equally. Chicken, while a high source of protein,doesn’t contain as much of the polyunsaturated fat, Omega-3, as do certain fish like salmon. The same is true for fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy. 


Prepare foods in different ways

Try cooking your food items in new ways. Do you always steam cauliflower? Try baking it in the oven with a light olive oil dressing, or throw it in the blender to make a great side dish of cauliflower rice. There are numerous ways to cook almost every type of food, which can add new flavors and textures to items you already eat on a normal basis.


Get ideas for recipes from cookbooks or the internet

Following a cookbook is a wonderful way to hone your kitchen skills while keeping your meals exciting. Pick up a discounted cookbook second hand or check one out from the library. The internet is a goldmine when it comes to new recipes. Worried that some of those delicious sounding meals stray too far from the dietary guidelines? Head over to MyPlate Kitchen for nutrition oriented meal plan and resources. 


Follow the seasons 

Not only does eating seasonally lighten the burden our food system places on the environment, it is the perfect reminder to vary your ingredients. Summer can be a time to look forward to grilled corn and flavorful tomatoes. Winter is for leafy greens and stews full of root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Eating seasonally is also friendly to your wallet, as ingredients are usually cheaper if bought when they are typically grown.