. WIAW … simple swaps .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 16, 2013

Thank you guys for putting up with my randomness from yesterday — I promise not to pull those kind of shenanigans on you [too] often, but I think falling victim to a food coma gives me a legitimate excuse… After all, blood migrating to stomach = a significant lack of blood in brain = zzzZZzzZz. You can’t argue with science. But I’m not about to school you in biology because there are more important things to discuss!


Even though I don’t think I’d ever be able to go back to sharing my eats on a daily basis like I did when I first started blogging, food is probably still one of my favourite things to talk about… especially now that I’m learning more about it through my course with IIN.

One of the things I’ve been learning about more recently is the importance of eating a varied diet, 1) to ensure that you’re covering the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and 2) to prevent yourself from possibly developing food sensitivities as a result of eating too much of the same food.

Remember how I mentioned having to give up oats for almost a year because of the strange reactions I started experiencing any time I ate them? I honestly think it had something to do with the fact that I was eating so much of them that my body literally couldn’t handle it anymore. Oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal before bed, and sometimes even oatmeal for lunch/dinner — a little much, yes?

So oatmeal and I went our separate ways, and while it’s currently back in my life and not causing me any grief (thank goodness), I make sure to keep it to one bowl a day. Still… I do tend to eat that bowl every.single.day. If not for breakfast, then for lunch, and if not for lunch, then for dinner. I don’t think there’s a problem with that, but introducing some variety probably wouldn’t hurt… which is why I’ve [grudgingly] been switching things up over the last little while and trying to branch out in terms of what I’ve been eating.

I say grudgingly because I’m a creature of habit and I end up eating a lot of the same things because a) I like them, and b) it means I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat. Back in the day, I used to spend hours planning out my meals on a daily basis, which is probably why I prefer to avoid thinking about things like that now — too many bad memories. BUT! taking things from one extreme (obsession) to the other (avoidanceisn’t the way to go — that mythical middle ground is the place to be. Luckily, I figured out a way to add a decent amount of variety in my diet without having to give it too much thought — making simple swaps.

. – . – . – .

Breakfast… [oatmeal swapped for quinoa flakes]

Quinoa Breakfast

Cold, dark mornings call for warm bowls of comfort. Truth. I wasn’t willing to give those up, but different grains I could do. This bowl used quinoa flakes in place of oats, and was dressed up with a whipped banana, melted coconut butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon raisin granola for some added texture. Not half bad… Not quite the same as oats, but still good. I’d also love to try doing something with rice.

Morning snack… [coffee and baked goods swapped for NO! NO TOUCHIE!!]

Comforting Latte
Pumpkin Pie Square

We all have our mandatory creature comforts, and this is one of mine that I don’t want to mess with. A homemade cinnamon topped assaulted latte courtesy of my Keurig and a milk frother, alongside a pumpkin pie oatmeal barBliss.

Lunch… [sweet snacking swapped for savoury sandwiches]

Savoury Sandwiches

As much as I love my incessant afternoon snacking, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it doesn’t serve me all that well — sometimes you just wanna eat and get it over with instead of constantly being distracted by that slight hunger and needing to graze. So, I’ve been swapping my sweet snacking for more savoury meals since I’ve found that catering to my sweet tooth at this time of the day just makes it run a little more rampant. This lunch was a pair of sandwiches, one with avocado and the other with egg salad, with some steamed broccoli to add a little bit of colour.

Afternoon snack… [bananas & AB swapped for crackers & hummus]

Crackers and Hummus

My go-to snack for the longest time has been a banana with almond butter, but seeing as it’s not rare for me to hit 3 bananas a day, I figured that introducing a new snack into my rotation wouldn’t hurt. Enter a Dr. Kracker classic 3 seed crispbread dipped in Sabra’s classic hummus. Perfect for satisfying the [salty] tooth and beating the mid-afternoon slump.

Dinner… [chicken swapped for turkey]

Turkey Dinner

Okay, so this one is kind of cheating seeing as it was just Thanksgiving and using up leftovers has kind of become a necessity, but it’s a good reminder for me to vary up my protein sources. I tend to default to chicken 99.9% of the time because it tastes good and it’s what I’m most familiar with preparing, but swapping in different protein sources like turkey, eggs, tofu, and tempeh wouldn’t hurt. I’d actually like to experiment with eating at least 1 or 2 vegetarian meals every week — something I really started slacking on since giving up the vegetarian diet. This dinner was a plate of turkey and mashed potatoes topped with mushroom gravy, alongside some various roasted veggies.

Evening snack… [cereal swapped for chickpeas]

Yogurt and Chickpeas

Even though I can’t see you right now, I know you’re giving me the raised eyebrow look. Or maybe you’re not even the least bit surprised given all the #strangebutgood combos out there in the blog world. Either way, this bowl of plain Greek yogurt topped with Biena’s honey roasted chickpeas, cinnamon, and honey was definitely a gooder. A little different from my normal nighttime bowl of cereal, sure, but the sweet crunchiness of the chickpeas was kind of reminiscent of cereal, so I didn’t feel too deprived.

. – . – . – .

And that’s that. Some really simple swaps that didn’t involve too much thought but still introduced some variety to my diet — exactly what I was going for. I have to admit that, as much as I like my routine, adding a bit more variety intrigues my tastebuds and keeps things interesting. I’ve noticed myself being a lot more satisfied with my meals when they’re something different from what I’m used to, which I’m guessing has something to do with the whole novelty aspect of them. If you find yourself stuck in ruts or grooves, just make some simple swaps. Keep the same basic formula for your meals, but rotate your grains, proteins, and fats. Not only is it an easy way to get more variety, but it’ll keep you from getting bored with your eats.

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! 😀

. – . – . – .

Do you try to get a lot of variety in your diet, or do you usually eat the same things?
What food do you eat the most of?
What’s your favourite afternoon snack to beat the slump?
Do strange combos in the blog world surprise you, or have you seen it all?

{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley {Whole Foods New Body} October 16, 2013 at 5:31 am

Checking the pantry now to see if I have the ingredients to make the Pumpkin Bars! They look fabulous!! I am also a creature of habit and switching up my meals is one of the hardest things for me!! Once I find something I like….I stick with it although I know that my body needs more variety! It is a process for sure!! :)


2 Linz @ Itz Linz October 16, 2013 at 5:31 am

have you tried amaranth? itz another grain and packed with protein! could be another great swap for oats! :)
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3 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I haven’t! I actually have a bag of it sitting unopened in my pantry, and I keep meaning to try it out, but the individual grains look so tiny that I’m not sure I’d like it. Guess there’s only one way to find out…


4 Jen @ SavedbytheKale October 16, 2013 at 5:38 am

I definitely get in a rut sometimes. One thing I have to have every single day is an avocado, I could eat several a day but try to keep it to just one :) I love to make guacamole and I try to vary what I use for dipping up like bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, sweet potato chips! yum! could not live without it. Your pumpkin bars look amazing by the way!
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5 Pickyrunner October 16, 2013 at 5:46 am

My meals are so predictable I could literally put them together with my eyes closed. But I think you’re right in that it is important to mix things up at least a little. I still keep my staples around and eat the same breakfast every day but I’ve been trying to eat a different dinner at least a couple of nights a week. I just get so excited about what I’m eating that I don’t like to switch. I guess there are worse problems to have 😉
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6 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy October 16, 2013 at 5:48 am

It’s cool that Canadian thanks giving good is the same traditional food as we have… I wonder who thought of Turkey being the main thing?
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7 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Maybe they needed to put a dent in the wild turkey population and just decided to make it a tradition 😆


8 Miss Polkadot October 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

Cereal swapped for chickpeas? Yes, please! I usually throw some chickpeas into my Greek/soy yogurt + coconut flour + vanilla messes and the salty + sweet + creamy combination is SO good.
That being said I’m usually not that surprised by other bloggers strange combinations anymore. Though … oatmeal with tuna and sweet toppings? Just thinking about it … ugh … better not even picture this. Sorry!
While I like what I eat for the most part I feel like I should change it up because I don’t want to develop any intolerances (so sorry it happened for you with the oats but glad you can have at least some again). And as you said: variety is key so yes, I’m trying it. Pancakes instead of kabocha [huge swap for me] at breakfast was my last major one and it worked okay.
Happy Wednesday! [Oh, and my mail didn’t make it through by any chance? Googlemail seems to be acting up …]
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9 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I haven’t gotten it, so I’m going to guess it got lost somewhere along the way.


10 sara @ Fitcupcaker October 16, 2013 at 6:01 am

I love chickpeas, what a great idea! I like the switch up, and I need to try quinoa flakes, I bet that was wonderful!
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11 elise October 16, 2013 at 6:05 am

Ah your chickpea concoction looks so intriguing! I can’t knock it til I try it, though. And this one seriously has my curiosity peaked. I may just have to give it a go… 😉


12 Lisa October 16, 2013 at 6:07 am

I can completely fall into food ruts pretty quickly since I tend to like eating the same meals over and over. I’m just a creature of habit.
But, I still do try and keep things somewhat different, just for the sake of trying to get in some different nutrients.
When I’m stressed out, it doesn’t seem to happen too often though. Whoops.
I’m kind of impressed by your chickpea evening Snack!!!
I don’t know if I could get in on that one, it does look good though.
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13 Lucie October 16, 2013 at 6:09 am

I tend to get very boring with my food too, and that’s what I use WIAW for!
My breakfast is the worst, I eat the same things for months, day by day. I actually just discovered that I have buckwheat at home and want to cook a porridge with them next week.
I love the idea of chickpeas with yogurt!
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14 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Breakfast is always the worst for me as well — trying to come up with new meals just feels like too much work in the morning 😆


15 Parita @ myinnershakti October 16, 2013 at 6:09 am

Variety is the spice of life! However, that was not always the case for me. I used to be the queen of cereal (and more specifically, Honey Bunches of Oats). Two of my meals consisted of that, and only that. BORING! Now, I eat so many different things they’re hard to keep track of! Life is just better that way. I love all of your swap, especially the pumpkin chocolate treat – totally making that this weekend!


16 Laura @ RunningJunkie October 16, 2013 at 6:25 am

I try not to eat the same things every single day, but I really do get in a rut, or I just get addicted to it’s deliciousness:-D

I think I probably eat the most of nuts or nut butter. I DO try to swap them around. Almond butter one day, coconut cashews the next, sunbutter the next…..but I love nuts and rarely go a day without having them in one form or another.

I have to admit, I don’t usually raise my eyebrow to weird food combinations, but that did looks kind of crazy. haha. I’d try it, but I wouldn’t have ever thought of it! I’ve never had chickpeas roasted…..


17 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 16, 2013 at 6:26 am

Interesting swap with the chickpeas. I hear ya on the coffee. I’m still drinking decaf right now, but I’ve still gotta’ have my cup of joe!
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18 Nicole @ FruitnFitness October 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

Oh roasted chick peas and greek yogurt sounds good. I have tried to make cinnamon roasted chick peas a few times but I either burn them really bad or they turn mushy. I don’t know why I can’t figure out how to do this! Yesterday I swapped my usual breakfast oatmeal for Lauras pumpkin pie eggs. It was a good swap!
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19 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I can’t roast chickpeas to save my life either — but these were packaged so that’s probably the only reason that they worked.


20 Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat October 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

Loving all your eats as usual!

Do you try to get a lot of variety in your diet, or do you usually eat the same things? I do try to eat a lo of variety, but I feel like I fail miserably sometimes because when I find something I like, I tend to eat it quite consistently for a while.
What food do you eat the most of? Bananas for sure!
What’s your favorite afternoon snack to beat the slump? Either raw almonds or fresh veggies and hummus.
Do strange combos in the blog world surprise you, or have you seen it all? Sometimes they surprise me, but in good way! I love trying different things, so it’s great to learn combinations that I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of.
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21 Kaila October 16, 2013 at 6:50 am

I’m glad to know its good to eat a varied diet because I seriously don’t think I eat the same thing two days in a row lol! I love mixing it up and there are so many foods I like that I can’t imagine not being able to fit them all in at some point during the week! :) those dr. Krackers are amazing! Some of the best out there in my opinion! I love all the crunchy seeds and different flavors you get with the topping. Delicious on their own or with a dip.
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22 Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes October 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

Avocado is s great on wholemeal bread. I love avocado and roast chicken sandwiches, yum!
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23 Alex @ Kenzie Life October 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast for sure. GF toast for me! Though I just polished off the last of your muffins today and I’m thinking another batch is in order because they were quite lovely and a nice change of pace! In the afternoons is usually when I get a chance to eat lunch, and I’m often at this vegan café where my goal is to try every item on the menu. I’m a little over a third of the way there but I guess I get points for variety? :) Have a great day, Amanda!
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24 Carly @ Snack Therapy October 16, 2013 at 6:55 am

I eat a decent amount of variety, but as a single lady (at least in my living situation), I definitely go through week-long phases with most foods. I try to switch it up and try new things every week.

Lately, for some reason, I’ve been wayyy more into savory foods than sweet ones. Right now, anything salty is totally crave-worthy, and the only sweet foods I’m eating are fruit. Weird, huh? I’m sure that’ll all change once the holidays come around.
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25 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I’m actually going through -exactly- the same thing. I have a huge sweet tooth, but my biggest cravings lately have been for vegetables and savoury meals. I guess there are worse things…


26 Ragnhild October 16, 2013 at 6:58 am

Hi Amanda :)
Its been a long time since Ive commented here, but I still come here every single day.
As always, your WIAW postes are my faves. So much good food! Love the chick pea idea!
Wish you a lovely day.
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27 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Awwr it’s great to hear from you, girl! I’ve been stalking you and your new little bundle of joy on IG <3


28 Beth @ Mangoes and Miles October 16, 2013 at 7:04 am

I tend to get my protein from chicken as well. If the meat of the day looks super sketch, my default is chicken. Which means I eat a lot of it. I tend to be really good at eating a variety of foods when I’m at home and have free reign of the kitchen, but at school I’m much more limited and tend to stick with the same things. (I’ve had mangoes for breakfast for the past like month straight…)
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29 Kat October 16, 2013 at 7:04 am

I am the WORST at variety. Im such a creature of habit, I just want to stick with what I know! BUT, how am I going to fall in love with other food products if I never give them a try right? 😉 Im definitely a seasonal eater though. I can already see my diet changing. Carrots and hummus was my go to snack in the summer, and now Im so sick of it! haha I still want my hummus, just not with carrots.
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30 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 16, 2013 at 7:07 am

Yes, I did give you a little bit of an eyebrow raise at the chickpeas mention :-p But honey roasted makes more sense and sounds really good, at first I thought you just opened up a can of chickpeas and dumped them on top of yogurt…that’d be a bit more weird :-p
While I have a couple of staple meals for breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, or some combo of the two) I do tend to mix it up a bit more for lunch and dinner. I think I’m just willing to be more experimental and creative later on the day! Shopping at the Asian food market once in a while does force me to be more creative with my animal proteins, just because they tend to have stuff that I usually don’t find or buy on a regular basis (pork belly and turkey legs, for example).
Food I eat the most of: eggs. And right now, squash. Also: cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.
Favourite afternoon snack: depends on where I am. If I’m out, I’m lazy and go the protein bar route. If I’m at home, I love carrots and hummus, roasted squash and nut butter, greek yogurt and cereal, or a handful of almonds.
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31 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

😆 The thought of dumping canned chickpeas on yogurt actually skeeves me out a lot. No, they’ve gotta be roasted, and probably pre-packaged since I can’t roast them properly to save my life. And yes… morning meals are a lot harder to be creative with… That and I think I just like to start the day with comforting familiarity.


32 Amy @ The Little Honey Bee October 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

Great idea for WIAW! I too have been swapping oats for quinoa flakes. But don’t love them as much. Does yours get stringy?
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33 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I don’t know if I would call it stringy, but the consistency is definitely different. I mostly miss that gluey-ness that oats have!


34 Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food October 16, 2013 at 7:27 am

I try to add variety to my diet cause I definitely get bored eating the same things over and over! I do tend to see some items regularly in the rotation, though, like bananas and peanut butter, yogurt bowls, and granola. Your eats look awesome though!
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35 meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles October 16, 2013 at 7:37 am

I am a total creature of habit and tend to eat the same things. Lately I have been in a lunch rut, more because I have decided my body can’t handle vegetables at both lunch and dinner so I have gone back to eating simple, comfort type lunches such as pb and j, oatmeal and/or yogurt or even a grilled cheese. Sometimes it ends up being the same meal for both breakfast and lunch but for right now, it is making me and my stomach happy. And I really really like the fact that it is becoming something I don’t need to plan or think much about. And, I think I am saving money on produce lol.
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36 Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl October 16, 2013 at 7:43 am

Your chickpea dessert definitely has me intrigued…. I will definitely be giving that a try! I do try to change up my eats, but I can also get obsessed with one food and continuous eat it. About a month ago, it was Chobani yogurt with cereal for breakfast and now it’s that delicata squash I’ve been raving about.
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37 Christine @ Gotta Eat Green October 16, 2013 at 7:53 am

Chickpeas on top of yogurt? Very interesting. I’ve never seen that before! Looks pretty good. I love to make simple swaps to change things up a bit. I get stuck in the same cycle of breakfasts/lunches so it is nice to have a change once and awhile.
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38 Alysia @ Slim Sanity October 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

HAHA! Yes, I actually was giving you the eyebrow look. I might have to try chickpeas with yogurt! It makes more sense to me that they were roasted 😉
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39 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm

They -definitely- have to be roasted — I don’t even think I could stomach the thought of just tossing canned chickpeas in there 😆


40 Christine@ Apple of My Eye October 16, 2013 at 8:03 am

It’s funny that you mention it, because I went through a big oatmeal phase too! There’s something so comforting in a big bowl of hot oats on a cold day, but I had no idea that it might cause some allergies for some people- Yikes. Love love love that you’re finding other substitutes to use to vary your meals a bit! I tend to get in a food rut as well, especially when I’m pressed for time or stressed out. Thanks for the inspiration to branch out girlie :D.
By the way.. that coffee and pumpkin pie oatmeal bar look beyond delicious. Send me some please! 😉
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41 Angela @ Health's Angel October 16, 2013 at 8:42 am

I definitely said “mmmm!” in my head when I saw your evening snack- not weird at all! I looove roasted chickpeas. I’ve never made a sweet version of them, though, so I may have to give that a go soon.
I’ve been doing a fairly good job of switching my meals up lately- breakfast in particular. But when I find something to obsess over, food ruts can definitely ensue.
I’d love one of those pumpkin pie oatmeal bars right about now… :)
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42 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

I’m notorious for going in breakfast phases and having the same thing over and over again for a few months until I move onto my next phase. But other than that, I try to eat a varied diet full of different foods, nutrients, and flavors. It makes life more fun that way anyways. 😉

I’m intrigued by your roasted chickpeas! I want to try that one of these days.
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43 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Breakfasts are definitely the easiest grooves for me to fall into as well — getting creative with new meal ideas is just too much work first thing in the morning 😉


44 Julie @ Health Nut Julie October 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

I love how beautiful all the food in this post looks. It makes me craaaaaave broccoli though, which I gave up last week because it was giving me some stomach troubles (SO bloated.) Has this ever happened to you?
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45 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Oh girl, I’m definitely no stranger to broccoli bellies! I find that I’m okay as long as I keep my portions reasonable — if I start eating too much, then I definitely start feeling the bloat.


46 Ksenija @ Health Ninja October 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

Hehe, I was definitely guilty of the raised eyebrow when I saw your bowl of greek yogurt chickpeas 😉 but since they were honey roasted and you added cinnamon to the mix, I bet this was a pretty tasty combination. Still, nothing beats a bowl of comforting oatmeal. Guess as long as we keep it to one a day we should be fine.
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47 Davida @ The Healthy Maven October 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

I’m sufficiently terrified I will develop an intolerance to oats!!! Great tip on using quinoa flakes. If there’s leftover brown rice in the house sometimes I use that too. I am a total creature of habit! Hence why I could never participate in WIAW…It would be the same post week after week!
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48 Lauren October 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

I am a creature of habit for the SAME reasons. I’ve been a victim of thinking about my meals far too much so I have my quick “go-to” meals which I know I love and I don’t have to think about too much! One of my favorites is a sweet potato + vanilla GY + almond butter + granola. SO good! I definitely see some strange but good combos and know there is no way in hell I’m going to try them. I’ve had those cinnamon chickpeas before, though, so I know your night snack was probably pretty delicious! I used to eat wayyy too many bowls of oatmeal in college… Sometimes three times a day, too. But now, only one bowl for this girl! Variety keeps things spice-ay!
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49 Natalie @ Lift,Sleep, Eat October 16, 2013 at 9:23 am

I eat farrr too many oats too; whether they’re in bowl form, pancake form or granola form..there’s just a lot of them in my diet! I don’t know whether I could ever give them up – same with Greek yoghurt I’m pretty much addicted to it. I do like variety in terms of different flavours/combos though; although the base ingredient might be the same I virtually never had the same flavour combos.
I think I’ve seen pretty much every strange combo now…I had a particularly strange one this week, sweet “pasta and meatballs”…it was cocoa pasta topped with white chocolate greek yoghurt sauce + chocolate “cake balls”…slightly peculiar but oh so tasty!
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50 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Sweet pasta!? Okay, that’s a new one of me, but it sounds delicious and brilliant.


51 Beth October 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

I am guilty of eating the same things every day. Very little variety…for same reason you tended to do it. A really good alternative to oats that tastes really good is Bob’s Red Mill Creamy hot buckwheat cereal. So good. I tried quinoa flakes and they didn’t cut it for me. Glad you liked them.

What kind of bread is that nutritious look sandwich made out of? Those crackers look so yummy! As do your bars!


52 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

The bread is one of the Ezekiel loaves — I forget the exact one, but it comes in orange packaging.


53 Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com October 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

You gave up oats for a year!!!! waaaaaatttt!!!!!
I need to learn from you and consume less of it – oat over consumption comes with some NAHSTY side effects !
You mentioned doing something with rice…well, wonder if this might interest you.. my mom makes this porridgy type thing with rice called “kiri bath” similar to this: http://www.srilankacooking.com/2009/03/milk-rice-kiri-bath.html
Well – I stick to the same kinda food for breakfast – but game for anything for the rest of the day
I love strange combos – love hearing what others are trying – if not for Khushboo, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with cinnamon on potatoes!
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54 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

That sounds delicious, Shashi! I love adding coconut milk to my rice and something like that sounds like a perfect alternative to oats for breakfast <3


55 Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset October 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Thanks for this timely kick in the pants. I’ve been working on this with my psychologist, but it’s a struggle. It’s so easy to stick with my new safe foods, aka, no longer egg whites and broccoli, but still not free to just eat whatever I want. I’ve started to just switch up grains (millet for quinoa), fruits (I get stuck in blueberry/grape ruts), nuts (trying to do PB over almond butter). Just little changes which do wonders for my mindset and push my boundaries. Love your switches!
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56 Laura Agar Wilson (@lauraagarwilson) October 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Really interesting post! It definitely got me thinking about how much I eat the same foods – on reflection I do think I get a good variety, maybe not day to day, but definitely over the course of a month or a few weeks, I’m certainly a seasonal eater and I think being guided by that gives my diet a good variety :-)


57 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl October 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

That lunch looks super duper tasty! I love avocado and I love egg salad. In fact, I actually have a guacamole egg salad recipe on my blog that is quite delicious!
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58 Molly@This Life Is Sparkling October 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I’m definitely a creature of habit and tend to stick to the same food items for meals. I’ve heard a lot lately too that switching things up is better for us. Something I’m going to try doing!
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59 Heather @ Housewife Glamour October 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I love all of these ideas! Need to try quinoa flakes ASAP. All of your food pics always look so delicious! :)
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60 Caitlin October 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Good for you for challenging your daily eating habits! It’s true that it’s super easy to get stuck in a food rut that results in too much of a food making me feel blah. I have been SO into Brussels sprouts lately but the other day I literally felt sick at the thought of eating them. I’d been eating them in my lunch AND dinner the last several days! But I took a “meal off” and now I’m back into them of course!
Those cinnamon chickpeas with Greek yogurt are seriously THE BEST. Love that. I also am so into those everything-flavor type of crackers with hummus. I’m definitely more of a savory snacker!
Sometimes nothing is better for lunch than a good old sandwich. I don’t remember the last time I had one for lunch! And egg salad is seriously lovely.
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61 Libby October 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Lovely food swaps. I’m not a huge fan if quinoa though but you make it look good! A lively breakfast my mama sometimes made was rice simmered in milk topped with honey and brown sugar an butter if course but I bet you could just add almond butter. She would add various bits and pieces like fried fruit or chocolate sometimes. It’s a lovely comforting base for the day. Sooooo delicious too. :)


62 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

That actually sounds like exactly what I had in mind when I was thinking rice for breakfast. Thanks for the suggestion, Libby!


63 Libby October 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Dried not fried. Of not if. And not an. Oh I’m so sorry for the typos! Xo


64 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves October 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I totally love that you are making sure not to swing too far to either extremes. I tend to swing all the way to one side, and when things go wrong there, I swing all the way back to the other. No good.
I eat nut butter with breakfast all the time, but my actual breakfasts change every day. I do like having variety in my diet, because I like to keep my taste buds interested. I DO have go-tos though, such as avocado toast, eggs, and banana + pb.
Speaking of banana and pb, those with yogurt is my favorite afternoon snack! If I’m in the mood for savory (which is less often), I like carrots and hummus or caprese.
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65 Floey October 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

what kind of cereal is that? they look like Pops!
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66 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Cereal? No cereal in today’s post.


67 Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I used to eat a lot of the same meals over and over again too. Oatmeal or yogurt bowls for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and either stir fry or salmon + rice + broccoli was pretty much like 90% of my diet a few years ago. But then I started switching things up majorly not only to get more variety but also because I enjoy experimenting with cooking! That being said, I still eat oatmeal or yogurt bowls for almost all my breakfasts, and I still eat stir fry at least a few times per month because I love them so much.

I did try quinoa flakes in place of oatmeal flakes a few times, and it’s pretty good, but just not the same as good ol’ oatmeal!
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68 Emily October 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Yeee! I love this. And everything looks delicious.
I definitely went through a period where I ate the same foods day in and day out…eventually it led to intolerances for me also. So frustrating. But being forced to open up and incorporate a variety of different foods every day has been a huge blessing. My days are never the same anymore and I love that! Plus, that allows me to get inspiration from people like you and try new things on a regular basis. (:
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69 lindsay October 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm

all good swaps my dear. and i love the quinoa flakes. Good choice! now about the chickpea snack, i must try!
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70 Arman @ thebigmansworld October 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Ahh this is crazy, when Amy mentioned her recent food intolerance, I told her about an experience I had- which was from oats! I went through a phase where it was my primary carb source and I had it multiple meals a day- so much that I developed an intolerance to it after seeing the doctor and natropath. These days, I vary it up too, and have it no more than once a day. Crazy!

Love the #strangebutgood combination- sweet and salty = perfection. And that thanksgiving leftover plate looks amazing. One word- fedex.
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71 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm

It’s easy to get carried away with oats because they’re just so.darn.GOOD. They’re easily my favourite grain, both in terms of texture and taste, so I really have to force myself to go for different ones. And be careful with eggs and egg whites too! I’ve heard of people running into problems with those.


72 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm

That’s one helluva #strangebutgood!!! I love it. Roasted chickpeas give such a nice protein crunch to meals. I try not to repeat meals often. There are so many ways to shake up flavors… like making beefy oatmeal. LOL!
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73 Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body October 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I also get into the habit of having the same thing. I do it for the same time saving reason. I hate when I waste too much time planning out what I should have/making sure I have the ingredients etc. These simple swaps are all great ways to mix it up! I have quinoa flakes and love adding them to instant soup packages, I have never tried it as a sub for oats though! I have seen those Dr. Krackers around for a while now but haven’t tried them out yet. That last combo is definitely caught me off guard, but I guess I won’t judge..I have definitely had my fair share of strange things!!
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74 Eating 4 Balance October 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

So I started off this post wondering… What is she going to replace her coffee with? Question answered. 😉

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best! Really, they never get boring because they’re so delicious! I’ve always wanted to try a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Here are 17 genius ideas for what to do with the leftovers: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/17-important-things-to-do-with-thanksgiving-leftov #17 is epic, but #8 or #12 is more practical 😀

I will not even pretend that I’ve seen all the blog world has to offer when it comes to strange but good combos. However, I didn’t even think twice about your chickpea combo until you mentioned that some may find it strange. Then I paused and thought “Hmm. You’re probably right.”
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75 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Well, I suppose there’s that herbal coffee alternative, but I don’t like to mess with my hug in a mug 😉 And #17… holy.beastly. I like the sound of shepherd’s pie though…


76 jeri October 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I learned the hard way about overeating a single ingredient. My dream vacation turned into a nightmare when I couldn’t get enough Caribbean Spiny Lobster. I’d never had a food allergy, but I actually gave myself one by eating it every day for a week. Luckily, it was temporary. I once again eat lobster, but only in moderation.


77 Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen October 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

You’ll have to look for brown rice flakes. I went through a phase with those for awhile, when I could find them. If not, cooking brown rice like pasta (so it’s super soft) and then pureeing it a bit gives a nice texture and mild flavor. I ate that a lot after my wisdom teeth were taken out, but I liked it so much I kept making it even when my teeth could chew properly again. :)

And now I want some hummus.
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78 Elise @ 9toFit.com October 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Those crackers look bomb! I need to look into getting those for a snack
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79 Karey @ Nutty About Health October 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Great job on the variety girl! I admire you since I’m with ya on being a creature of habit & sticking w/what I like & know is good. Like you said, so much less time is spent trying to decide WHAT to eat & it just seems like less groceries/ingredients to buy. Variety is great though & as they say, the spice of life! :)
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80 Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome October 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Your Thanksgiving dinner looks so good! As does the rest of your meals as always. I get into ruts sometimes but am always trying to come up with something new and exciting!
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81 Jessie October 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

girl, I am by no means giving you a wtf – strange type of look over your evening snack. Roasted chickpeas by them self are freaking fantastic. I can’t even imagine how much better they taste in Greek Yogurt with honey!
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82 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2013 at 4:26 am

Now if only I could actually figure out how to roast my own chickpeas without them either burning to a crisp or staying soggy 😆


83 AC October 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Do you try to get a lot of variety in your diet, or do you usually eat the same things?
I like eating a variety of foods when I can, but living alone on a busy schedule and on a budget means eating a lot of the same things and leftovers a lot of the time. I eat a LOT of eggs and bacon (eggs are in one, if not two, of my meals most days), plain Greek yogurt, bananas, whole natural almonds, salsa, cauliflower, frozen Asian veggies and chicken breast.
What’s your favourite afternoon snack to beat the slump?
I LOVE larabars. They’re expensive but sometimes I can score them for $.59 a piece at my local discount grocery store! I recently bought a whole box of the chocolate cherry chip flavor, which I’d never had before, and it’s AMAZING. My other favorite flavors are banana bread and peanut butter chocolate chip. They have a lot of sugar and are pretty calorie dense considering they’re pretty small and not too high in protein, but they’re a wonderful treat I can feel good about eating.
Do strange combos in the blog world surprise you, or have you seen it all?
Yes, honestly, there are a few combos I see HLBs eat that I just can’t get behind. One would be the whole eggs with sweet stuff…Sweet omelets? NO. Sorry. Also, avocado in smoothies skeeves me out. But then all avocado skeeves me out. I just can’t get myself to like it!


84 Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate October 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm

While I have my favorites also, I do agree that it is important to switch it up from time to time and vary food choices. I used to eat oatmeal with honey and cinnamon for breakfast every dingle day without fail until I got so sick of it I couldn’t even look at the stuff. After that I started witching of between oats, yogurt bowl, smoothies, pancakes, etc (still keeping it sweet, but of course) and like the choices. I have been subbing oats for quinoa flakes lately since I have a whole box of them and have been loving that as well.
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85 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli October 17, 2013 at 12:58 am

I can get bored with the same things over and over again, but I do tend to go through food phases for a week or so at a time before moving on to other things. Salads, sandwiches, yogurt/fruit/nut butter bowls? Yeah…as of late, it’s been all about the pumpkin! The other day, I had it for 2/3 of my meals…and I may or may not have eaten a couple of spoonfuls straight from the can! Haha!

I love the chickpea dessert! I actually mixed some cinnamon roasted chickpeas with the granola that Meghan sent me home with last week in an effort to make the granola last longer…which didn’t exactly work out so well! Oops?

Funny you should mention rice for breakfast…I always get the craziest looks when I tell people that one of my favorite breakfasts growing up was “sweet rice” which was just leftover rice, reheated in some milk with butter and sugar! :)
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86 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2013 at 4:29 am

I actually used to eat my rice that way for lunch and dinner when I was a little kid, so no crazy looks from me. And girl… I’m part of the can – spoon – mouth club too… I’m sure I’mm get sick of it soon, but for now it works 😉


87 Laura October 17, 2013 at 4:23 am

I ALWAYS have sweet snacks. Always. But yesterday I broke into my Somersaults thinking that they would be sweet but they were EXACTLY the opposite. I’m talking salty and savory. At first I second guessed whether I wanted it or not, but seeing as A. I hate wasting food and B. I liked them I just wasn’t EXPECTING them, I decided to give them a go. And honestly…their powerhouse nutrition and saltiness was surprisingly satisfying. I need to remember that snacks can be ANYTHING, not just sweet!
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88 Christina @ Pinch of Healthy October 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

I get so easily bored with food so I need to constantly switch things up. Although I do have staples that I rotate every few weeks, like apples and pb…can’t live without this combo haha.
Oh and I’ve been drooling over those pumpkin bars since you posted them, yum!
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89 Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets October 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

You should join a CSA. Here me out.
Most CSA’s will net you a week’s worth (sometimes more) of local seasonal produce. You don’t get to pick what you get or how much of each veggie you want, you just get it, so it’s forced variety in a way. It keeps me on my toes, but it also keeps me creative in the kitchen, and while every meal isn’t a success, I never get bored either. It’s funny how much I love participating in my CSA even though I’m a excessive planner in almost every other aspect of my life. I truly never fully know what my weekly eats are going to be until I pick up my share.
With that being said, the thing I eat most often is probably homemade granola, although I only eat it during the week, I try to mix up the flavors, and I usually top it with different fruit so there’s still some variety.
The quinoa flakes is a brilliant idea. You should try the Bob’s Mills morning blends too. I don’t know entirely what’s in them, but I feed the to the Hubby all the time, and he seems to enjoy them.
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90 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope October 18, 2013 at 12:57 am

I completely agree with you – even though we tend to be creatures of habit, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. I really like your “swaps”! And I LOVE Dr. Kracker crackers… so many great varieties!
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