5 Food Swaps to Freshen Up Your Plate

Posted On Jun 28, 2016 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

5 Food Swaps to Freshen Up Your Plate

Do you ever feel like you're cooking and eating the same meals over and over? Everything you cook starts to taste the same? With thousands of recipes available online, there's a myriad of options, but it's hard to break out of a cooking rut. It's easy to rely on recipes you know how to cook, and foods you know what to do with. Here are a few simple ways to liven up dinner time without spending extra time mulling over new recipes or searching for hard to find ingredients. I can find all of these at my local grocery stores.

  1. Soba Noodles

    Used in Asian cooking, these versatile noodles made from buckwheat flour cook and look the same as spaghetti and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Pair them with cooked or raw vegetables, add to broth for a quick soup, or top with grilled chicken or shrimp for a healthy stir fry. To venture out a little more, combine with coconut aminos (similar to soy sauce), edamame (soybeans), fresh cilantro, and chopped cashews. You can find nutty-tasting soba noodles in most grocery stores in the Asian or Ethnic food section.

  2. Kefir

    This milky yogurt-like drink is packed full of pro and prebiotics, the bugs probiotics live off of. Find it in the dairy section between the milk and yogurt. Try mixing with oatmeal, fresh fruit, or drinking it straight.

  3. Coconut Milk (in the can)

    This rich creamy liquid can be used as a base for curries or use ½ cup combined with broth to cook whole grains in like brown rice and quinoa for a little flavor. The "lite" coconut milk is just as good and saves on fat and calories!

  4. Polenta

    Pre-cooked polenta in a tube can be found next to dry pasta or in the produce section, usually next to tofu. This convenient cornmeal based dish works well in Italian dishes as a gluten-free pasta replacement. It can be sliced into rounds and baked until slightly brown or mixed with water or milk to make a creamy polenta. I top it with marinara, vegetables, and ground elk meat (can substitute with any ground meat) for a hearty quick family-friendly meal.

  5. Different Veggies, Nuts, and Seeds

    Salad season is upon us but I get tired of the typical standbys of lettuce, tomato, and carrots. To mix things up, try chopped radishes, jicama, shredded Brussels sprouts, chopped purple cabbage, sugar snap peas, pistachios, and/or sunflower seeds. Berries are also great additions to summer salads to add a burst of color and flavor.

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