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Sharp Health News

3 ways to diversify your diet in 2020

Jan. 2, 2020

3 ways to diversify your diet in 2020
As 2019 winds down, it’s time to reflect on personal accomplishments from the year and look ahead to new possibilities. This includes setting goals for the year to come. Here’s one resolution that is simple and easy to follow: resolve to try new foods.

“Trying new foods evokes a sense of adventure,” says Lauren Elliott, wellness education specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy's Center for Health Management. “It can help with staying engaged with healthful choices.”

Diversify your diet
Elliott shares these three tips for diversifying your diet in 2020:

  1. Visit an international grocery store.
    Visiting a market with different fruits, vegetables and seasonings than the ones you are used to can be a fun and exciting way to mix things up. It can also help you add new flavor to dishes you already know and love. “A new spice can do wonders for reinvigorating a recipe,” says Elliott.

  2. Check out a farmers market.
    Farmers markets are an excellent way to try out new foods because they often have free samples to help you expand your horizons. “Farmers markets are great places to find unique types of local produce, infused vinegars, hummus dips and more,” says Elliott.

  3. Shop with a friend.
    Grocery shopping can sometimes feel like a chore, but you can make it fun by bringing along a friend. Elliott says shopping with friends can bring a fresh perspective. “A friend can provide a great introduction to new foods we might not otherwise consider.”
New year, new foods
If you’re looking for some inspiration, Elliott recommends adding these foods to your diet:

Fermented salsa — Not only does fermented salsa feature veggies, but the fermentation process also creates gut-friendly probiotics. Try it on a burrito bowl for some extra flavor. “If you already enjoy the kick of regular salsa, fermented salsa is a fun twist with extra zing,” she says.

Plant protein pasta — These pastas can be a great source of protein and have a different texture than traditional wheat-based pastas. Elliott points out that the cooking time for these pastas is often much shorter, so watch your pasta closely to avoid overcooking. “If you are looking to switch up your pasta routine, consider trying some unique pastas made from plant proteins, such as lentils, chickpeas or black beans,” says Elliott.

Defatted peanut powder — This powder is delicious in smoothies and adds a punch of flavor to oatmeal and baked goods. “Defatted peanut powder is a tasty way to enjoy robust nut flavor in a lighter way,” says Elliott. “These powders are also good sources of protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber.”

Other unique food ideas include cauliflower crust pizza, unusual fruits and Icelandic yogurt. When searching for other new dishes to try, Elliott says it helps to look up resources on how to shop for and prepare food.

“I personally love this online seasonal food guide,” she says. “Not only can you learn about how to select and store all types of produce, but you can also find great tips on preparation methods.”

When it comes to branching out and expanding your diet, remember that finding new foods that work for you can take time. “Practice makes perfect,” says Elliott. “Sometimes a few attempts allow us to get the flavor and texture just right.”

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