Last week we shared four benefits on incorporating new foods into your diet, now we will share four tips on how to do so!
1) Start small. Introduce one new vegetable or fruit into your diet once per month (or at whatever frequency works best for you).
Write down each month of the year on a piece of paper and assign one new fruit or vegetable to each month. Some fruits or vegetables can be eaten on their own, and some may require some preparation. I encourage you to try it both ways – once on its own (if applicable), and once as part of a dish.
For example, if you choose papaya for the month of January, it can be peeled, diced and eaten on its own, so give that a try with your breakfast or for an afternoon snack. Using the leftover papaya, incorporate it into a fruit salad or make a tropical papaya and pineapple salsa to serve with some pulled pork tacos.
2) Expand your recipe repertoire within a certain culture.
Maybe one of your favourite foods to prepare is Indian Butter Chicken, and it is regularly in your meal rotation. Use that as a springboard to try other Indian foods. Try making Chana Masala, Lamb Rogan Josh or Palak Paneer. Choose one new Indian recipe to try and make an excursion to a local South East Asian market and explore the aisles.
3) Use meal planning to incorporate themes.
Many people shy away from meal planning because the idea of it seems daunting or time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. One method that works well for many people is incorporating theme nights into meal plans. For example, Monday night is stir-fry night, Tuesday night is Taco night, Wednesday night is Pasta night, and so forth. This takes some of the guesswork and thinking out of meal planning while still allowing some flexibility to try new recipes within each theme.
If Wednesday night is pasta night, challenge yourself to try a new pasta dish every other week. The other two Thursdays can be reserved for your favourites that you like to repeat often.
4) Get friends and family involved!
Challenge friends or family to try new recipes by making them together over Facetime or Zoom. Sit down and eat together and discuss what you like or don’t like about the dish, or what you’d do differently next time. Involving friends and family helps us to stay accountable to change and can make a new endeavor like trying a new recipe or ingredient more fun and interesting.
The main thing to keep in mind when trying new foods is to view it as an opportunity, not something you “have” to do. Trying new foods doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it certainly shouldn’t feel like a chore! Take small steps and use whatever methods feel the most achievable to you. I urge you to choose an outlook focusing on finding new foods you like (and maybe even discovering a new favourite!) and taking your time to enjoy the process.