Just say no to chicken and salad. You heard it here.
Seriously though, boring is optional when it comes to eating healthy and getting in all those veggies. But I’ll admit, I’m the worst when it comes to getting in a rut. I find something that I just love, that works for me that and promptly eat it every meal for three days and then of course, I never want to see it again.
But you can use the same food and just tweak it slightly to keep it fresh and new – meaning you can cook one protein and eat it several varied ways that feel totally different. And there’s a few simple tweaks to mindset about what foods go with what meals that will open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Here are a few of my favorite tips get out of the salad+chicken routine, to overhaul a boring breakfast or other healthy food rut you may find yourself in:
Spice, Herbs & Zest!
Spice it up! I love a good dose of crushed red peppers or hot sauce on just about anything. So add some chili powder, red pepper flakes or crushed chipotle peppers or a few dashes of hot sauce to salads, veggies and proteins.
Keep fresh herbs on hand to take any meal up a notch. I love cilantro, scallions, chives, dill and basil – but pick ones you like too! To make them last longer, wash them and then let them dry, chop and wrap in a paper towel then put in a glass container in the fridge. Then they are quick to add to a meal. Simply sprinkle them generously on top of whatever you’re eating from salads, to leftovers to soups.
Zest! Lemon, lime, orange – they are all great as a quick addition to a salad dressing or as a garnish to chicken, fish, etc.
Skip the Salads & Build A Bowl
Now don’t misunderstand me, there’s not a thing wrong with eating more salad but if you’re like me you’ve eaten about a million of them in your lifetime so far and some days they just sound so bleh! That’s why I’m all about the bowl!
Make a base of protein and top with a variety of veggies – it does not have to be lettuce and they can be cooked or raw. Try some shredded cabbage, shaved brussel sprouts, cucumbers, zucchini noodles or leftover roasted veggies from the night before. Then top with some of those fresh herbs, choice of dressing or spices. We had an entire bowl section in Hangry cuz it’s just so much better!
Take Up The Texture
Add some texture with seeds or nuts and raw crunchy veggies like radish or jicama.
Another way to change the texture of plain ol’ lettuce is to make your salad a chopped salad. Throw all your veggies on a cutting board and chop them up with a large knife or salad chopper like this one. The OXO Salad Chopper also works great, but I’m not a fan of the plastic bowl due to all of the endocrine disruptors (particularly for thyroid and estrogen).
Flip Your Meals
Try breakfast for dinner, soup or fish or leftovers for breakfast! We have it in our heads that breakfast proteins are eggs, ham, bacon, or sausage – and that’s it. But who decided that?
When you stop thinking of breakfast as something special and just your first meal of the day, you open up a whole new world of breakfast options that are high protein and will help stabilize your blood sugar and energy all day.
If this sounds tough for you or you have a lower appetite in the morning, particularly for protein (which by the way can be a sign of trouble with your cortisol rhythm), breakfast soup will be your savior. We had an entire section of breakfast soup recipes in Hangry! This is truly my favorite breakfast of all time – I love it!
Still sound strange to proteins like chicken or beef for breakfast? Try fish! For some reason it’s the gateway protein. I’ve found it works when women say, “Ewwww, I can’t eat meat for breakfast!” Then smoked or fresh salmon is where I start them.
Try these Snappy Salmon Patties from Hangry for a quick, protein rich breakfast:
2 6oz. cans of wild caught salmon
3 green onions, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger OR ½ teaspoon dried ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix the above ingredients together in a bowl and then form into 6 equal sized “patties” about ½ an inch thick. Next, in a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of either coconut oil or avocado oil over medium-to-medium high heat. Once the pan is hot enough for the salmon patties to sizzle, add them to the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until they are easy to flip and browned on both sides.
Serve with greens of your choice as a salad or you can quickly sauté a few large handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale in the same pan that you cooked your salmon patties. Or try with sliced cucumbers or wrapped up in Romaine lettuce with a little avocado mayo. Yum!
These keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer 3 months.
Make A Base Protein 3 (or more!) Ways
Finally, step away from the left over chicken breast…..
Make a yummy protein base like shredded chicken in a slow cooker or Instapot or ground beef/turkey or pulled pork but by all means, do not eat it the same way for 3 meals in a row! Have it with roasted veggies for dinner and then the next day have it as a collard or Romaine wrap for breakfast and as the base of a bowl for lunch.
You will be eating healthy for a while, right? Let’s make it more fun and less boring!