If you are trying to eat healthy, you might be stuck in a rut, thinking about different ways to fix chicken, broccoli and rice. It gets old to serve the same meals all the time, and your taste buds get bored, too.

Sometimes it helps to open the cupboards, the refrigerator and the mind to foods that, even if they sound weird together, end up being a tasty way to balance a meal. Go out on a limb, and be adventurous. You might find creative combinations that become new favorites.

My spin on...

>> Cottage cheese

Instead of plain cottage cheese, top a low-fat version with balsamic reduction (or just balsamic vinegar), chopped tomatoes and chopped basil. Not only is this combination savory, creating this masterpiece is easy. It’s also quite pretty and a healthy and satisfying snack.

>> Tuna

Tuna can be an easy way to get a ton of protein in, and it’s tasty if you serve it on a rice cake. Mix the tuna with a bit of low-fat mayo and/or plain Greek yogurt, pickle relish, mustard and/or lemon juice. Eat tuna salad on a rice cake instead of on bread if you are looking to save yourself a few calories and carbs. You will still be consuming a whole-grain treat. You could also use it as a spread on baked crackers.

>> Oats

Some people don’t like the texture of yogurt or oats. How about combining them? Soak the two together overnight in the refrigerator or top yogurt, right before eating, with rolled oats. You’ll end up with added fullness and a bit of fiber, too. I like to add a tablespoon of dried fruit and some sunflower seeds as well. You can also use a ¼ cup of muesli.

>> Avocado

If you like salsa and guacamole, combine half an avocado with salsa and a tablespoon of plain yogurt for a creamy dip with fewer calories than pure guacamole. Dip with wedges of bell pepper, carrots or a single serving of baked chips.

>> Edamame

Combine shelled edamame with your favorite low-fat vinaigrette to make a tasty side or easy snack. You can pre-cook the edamame and refrigerate it with vinaigrette to make it even faster. Our family favorite is the light lime-vinaigrette by Newman’s Own, but any citrus or Italian flavor goes nicely and provides a few grams of healthy fats. Edamame provides a well-balanced source of carbohydrate, protein and fiber, so it is a great side dish.

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