See one of my favorite pictures from my group trip to China last year. Check out this menu. There are over 240 food options! Some items were familiar like chicken curry and others were wildly different than our typical American diet like fried scorpion.
Do you like to try new foods or do you love your tried and true favorites? Most of us, whether we know it or not, stick to a pretty limited number of options. On a positive note, eating the same foods day in and day out can help make food decisions easier and less time consuming. The downside is that you can get into a rut or stuck in autopilot eating--choosing the same options over and over again.
A new study by one of my favorite researchers, Dr. Brian Wansink, found that a more adventurous eating style is associated with a lower BMI in our sample of young women.* They made some interesting hypotheses about why this is the case. One reason may be that you know that ice cream tastes good due to your learning history. However, trying quinoa, a healthier whole grain, for the first time takes a bit of adventure--you may not be able to anticipate what it will taste like or if you will like it (p.s. it's delicious!).
The point is: sometimes it is good to try new foods. Not only does it introduce your body to new nutrients, but it also helps you to be more mindful. How? New foods make you slow down and tune in. You naturally ask yourself some mindful questions like "Do I like this?" "What does this remind me of" "Would I like to eat this again?"
I encourage you to do an experiment today. Eat a food that you don't routinely choose. It doesn't have to be fried scorpion and it can be a food you've tried before. Just eat one thing out of your normal routine. Eat it mindfully!
If you need some motivational tips on how to stop overeating, make healthy changes today instead of tomorrow and eat more mindfully, check out my brand new ebook on Amazon!
*Obesity (2015) 23, 1577-1581. doi:10.1002/oby.21154