In With the New: Finding Food Inspirations

I had a conversation with a work colleague about dining out and the penchant my husband and I have for just about closing our eyes and pointing to a place on a world map to find the next kind of cuisine to try out. Before I met my husband, I’d already branched out from Chinese, Mexican and Italian to try Caribbean, Indian, Colombian and West African food. Having known him, and having been blessed to find a partner in gastronomic globe-trotting, I can add Ethiopian, Turkish, Spanish, Filipino and French eats to my foodie passport.

My colleague remarked about the zeal my husband and I have for exploring the spice alchemy that’s practiced uniquely by every country. It made me think about how much I love food, and how much I love variety. Just as it’s important to fin ways to continue to lose weight over the long haul–ways to keep motivated and inspired, to keep emotional eating at bay, to navigate interactions with the people who have trouble accepting a no when they offer you food–so is cultivating variety in your eating.

I’m not necessarily saying that you should adopt a “have fork, will travel” approach to exploration like my husband and I have, but I’d encourage you to try new things, even on a small scale, to keep it exciting for you and your stomach. You are, no doubt, aware that you will need to eat differently to lose weight–smaller portions and fewer heavy foods–so why not take the time to find new healthy favorites?

Here are some suggestions I have for increasing variety and decreasing your clothing sizes:

Take a slow walk through your favorite grocery store. I like to go to the market and really take a look at what’s in the produce section, what’s in the meat and seafood sections, and what’s on the shelves and in the freezer/fridge cases. You’re bound to find new-to-you produce, cuts of meat, sauces, spices, dessert options, etc. (Sidebar: if you usually don’t, try scoping out the ethnic foods aisle for new flavor inspirations and potentially cheaper prices on things like spices and dried/canned beans.)

Check out other local stores. Consider going to an Asian or Latin grocery if there’s one in your area. Visiting stores like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market or Trader Joe’s will give you another perspective on foods you may have missed. And this suggestion would be incomplete if I didn’t mention discount/private label stores; places like Save-a-Lot and Aldi have more and more healthy food options these days, at excellent prices.

Harness the power of the Internet. I learn a lot about food these days through streams from people I’ve encountered on Twitter, Facebook and on food blogs. Wikipedia has given me background information on exotic fruits and vegetables, and any Google search of food is going to come back for you with links to someone preparing the item on YouTube.

Some people try to make a game out of trying new things in their weight loss regimen, by vowing to sample at least one new thing a week. No matter what path you choose to exploration, I hope that you have a good time! Your taste buds will appreciate it.

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