Have you ever been in a “food rut?” You eat the same thing every single day for lunch; salad, sandwich, and a piece of fruit. You love this lunch. It is easy to make, quick to prepare, and simple to bring to work. It can be stored safely in a jam-packed staff refrigerator. By bringing your meal you are less tempted to buy fast food or eat something unhealthy. So you make the healthy choice and, most of the time, really do enjoy a salad and a sandwich. You’ve tried to change it up by adding various alternatives each week; greens, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, kale, broccoli, onions, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, nuts, seeds, berries, even chicken and/or a hardboiled egg for protein. It sounds delicious, right!? It can get dull pretty quickly when you pack the same lunch every day for over six months; to the point where you dread eating lunch, avoid it, and are enticed to purchase unhealthy items!
This did happen to me and I reflected on what I was experiencing. Here is what I realized:
• A routine offers comfort
• Bringing lunch decreases the chance of buying unhealthy
• It is easy to make salad at the start of the week and then portion it out for each day
• Uncertainty of alternative and easy options
• Fear of unfamiliar and unknown food choices
• Laziness
• Salads are a good way to get multiple vegetables in a day
Instead of continuing to eat the same thing and being irritated with myself for doing so; I have taken action. I was traveling home from New Jersey one weekend and passed a farm stand I always go by. At first I kept on driving, but something in my heart and deep in my gut made me take a sharp, out-of-control U-turn! I bought new vegetables I have never cooked before. I made a plan to have each one on a separate night for dinner. I started with spaghetti squash; it was amazing! I proved to myself I could try something new and had great success with it. By cooking a new vegetable for dinner and consequently enjoying it; I am confident I can create new and exciting food options; even at lunch. I also emailed a friend who is an amazing chef. He asked if I ever make bean salads or soups; that with the changing seasons these are appropriate to prepare (and easy to make). I hadn’t thought of bean recipes or soup dishes and am excited at the possibilities he and I will share.
Now that I am aware of my problem I’ve taken some steps to change it. I admitted to myself that I was indeed in a “food rut” and needed a change. I decided to act on the knowledge about nutrition I already possess as a way to stifle my fears about unknown foods. I asked for help and am open to new recipe possibilities that will come my way.
Instead of waiting around in your “food rut” feeling bored, frustrated, and tired of your foods; take action:
• Realize you know more than you think: You know about healthy food options; therefore you are ahead of the game. Take pride in that.
• Tap into established support/resources: Ask for recipes from friends or find something easy to make online. It’s as simple as typing into a search engine “spaghetti squash recipes” and finding a recipe you’d like to try.
• Pull from past successes: Think back to a time when you made a new dish for a party or event. Remember all the compliments you received. You can do it again!
• Follow your instinct: If your gut is telling you to try something new; go for it! Our bodies know what they need in terms of food.
• Be creative: Take a cooking class. Go to a workshop. Find food networking groups, online forums, or blogs that discuss food.
• Have a plan: Get 2-3 new items and have a well-thought out plan for what you are going to do with each of them. Mark your daily calendar with new menus to increase your likelihood of success.
• Try again: It is o.k. if you try a new recipe and overcook something the first time. If something is not done just the way you’d like; be ready to experiment a second time. Realize you may not like every new food you try.

Author's Bio: 

• Elizabeth Scala is a Registered Nurse and Health Coach who currently runs her own company, Living Sublime Wellness: Health and Wellness Coaching, a business focused on guiding nurses to create space for balance and self-care in their lives, as well as other services. Her company mission is to "partner with my clients to improve their holistic health, well-being, and happiness." Elizabeth is also works part-time as a Clinical Nurse Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She has worked in inpatient psychiatric nursing, community health, wellness education, and now research. Elizabeth is also a Reiki practitioner and has been trained within the Advanced Level Usui Shiki Ryoho Method of Reiki.
• Helping people, building relationships, and educating on holistic well-being has always been a part of Elizabeth's life. Growing up she played numerous sports, participated in multiple types of dance classes, and was a leader and inspiration through community service and volunteer projects. Throughout her education and nursing career she always has had a desire and drive for success. She completed her dual Master's in Nursing and Business in December, 2009 while working full-time at the hospital.
• Elizabeth is set to prove her passion by helping nurses eat healthier, exercise regularly, practice spirituality, and foster healthy relationships. I believe "through the increased health and well-being of our nurses the patients that they reach will live and learn a healthier lifestyle. Health care professionals will be role models in what a balanced and healthy lifestyle full of peace and happiness is to look and feel like".
• "I value holistic health and well-being. I believe that the whole person needs to be taken care of in order to feel balance and peace," Elizabeth says. "This is why I am a coach for nurses. I believe when health care professionals take time to receive self-care modalities into their lives they will have greater fulfillment and healthier balance." My standards of integrity which include patience, dedication, passion, and balance are the tools I will use when guiding and collaborating with a nurse towards their vision of their best self. I am an advocate for preventative care and holistic wellness as well as an authentic guide and co-creator on the path to wellness.

Elizabeth offers free monthly calls on well-being and health for her audience to get to know her further. Check out and register for these calls at http://www.livingsublimewellness.com/Connect.html. Or sign up for her free monthly newsletter at http://www.livingsublimewellness.com.