PHOENIX - So you're doing well, sticking to a healthy eating plan, when you get bored and ponder raiding your pantry.
Don't panic! There are easy ways to fight the food rut by making simple switches that taste great.
Registered dietitan Michelle Dudash has five favorite ingredients that you can swap out in dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow that will break you out of your routine and keep you healthy.
Instead of white or brown rice next to your chicken and vegetables, try quinoa.
Quinoa is a light and fluffy whole grain that doubles as a complete vegetarian protein, containing the 9 essential amino acids the body requires for daily repair. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 170 calories and packs twice as much high-quality protein compared to brown rice, and 3 grams of fiber.
To prepare, bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Look for it in the natural food section of grocery stores.
With their creamy texture and sweet flavor you’ll be less tempted to douse your sweet taters in butter, sour cream and cheese.
One medium sweet potato delivers 4 grams of fiber, a whole day worth of vitamin A, and 35% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant. Try baking whole or in wedges, steamed, or mashed.
Conventional, store-bought salad dressings are loaded with calories and fat, turning a once innocent salad into a weighty matter.
For a lighter option, mix 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender. Chill and serve.
Plain Greek Yogurt
The calories in full fat mayonnaise can add up quickly. Instead use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayo in salad dressings and chicken salads, and to replace your dollop of sour cream on tacos and chili.
Greek yogurt comes in nonfat varieties, and is high in protein and calcium, and contains active bacterial cultures for digestive health.
Steel Cut Oats
Trade your instant oatmeal packets in for hardy steel cut oats. Steel cut oats weigh in with more fiber and protein than their processed counterpart. They are a low-glycemic food, which will result in a lower rise in blood sugars, too.
Studies have shown that consuming low-glycemic response foods such as steel cut oats, are effective in controlling weight, while regular consumption of high-glycemic foods promote weight gain.
If you don’t have 25 minutes to make them on the stovetop, instead nuke them. Microwave 1-cup steel cut oats and 3 cups water in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 4 minutes. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring halfway through, and then swirl in applesauce and cinnamon.
For more of Michelle’s food tips, visit her blog at www.michelledudash.com .
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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