Stuck in a food rut? You’re not alone! It happens to all of us. Here’s how to free yourself from the food rut!
If you ask your friends and family what they eat every week, most likely they will list off the five same meals. Busy, monotonous schedules often lead to having the same meals almost every day for ease and convenience. Or you may repeat the same meals simply because you like them. This may work initially, but over time, eating the same things gets boring and unhealthy.
Dangers of Repetitive Eating
Our bodies can become immune to eating the same foods, which may end up causing more harm than good in the long run. This may result in food sensitivities and lead to binge eating. Additionally, when the body gets used to the same foods, it can alter the balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. This means that you may be getting too much or too little of a certain nutrient than when you first started eating those foods. For example, spinach is high in oxalic acid, and too much can lead to kidney stones. Nuts are good for you, but too many can cause gastrointestinal issues, constipation, and aggravate hemorrhoids. Cauliflower is great but eaten in large quantities may impact iodine absorption and thyroid function. These issues can be prevented by eating a variety of foods. When it comes to your diet, the phrase “eat in moderation” is the best strategy to follow.
How to Start
Free yourself from the food rut by starting simple, by switching up the fruits and vegetables you usually eat. For example, if you usually buy spinach, cucumber, and carrots, go for something different like kale, peppers, and swiss chard. For fruit, always look for local fruits in season, as they will taste the best, but then try adding in something tropical for fun – like pineapple, kiwi, or mango. Another easy way to change things up is through spices. Buy new spices and switch up the flavors of your stir-fries, baked goods, and salads. This is an easy and fun way to put a new spin on your old favorites.
New Recipe Challenge
Challenge yourself to create a new recipe with new ingredients, or just try a new recipe in general. Experiment with meals you do not usually make, such as smoothies, soups, salads, or healthy desserts. This is a great way to practice your cooking skills, and a fun way to expand your tastes. Cooking new recipes is a great way to get the whole family involved.
Incorporate the Whole Family
Involving the whole family is a fun way to get everyone to try new foods. If you have children, bring them to the grocery store and let them pick out a new vegetable, fruit, and protein each week. This helps them expand their tastes (as we all know kids are super picky), and they are more likely to try new foods if they picked it out themselves. Or you can shop at a different grocery store, farmers market, or boutique shop and try some new foods, items that you don’t normally get. Trying new foods gets everyone out of their comfort zones, and provides new inspiration in the kitchen, plus new nutrients the body is lacking from eating the same foods over and over.
Meal Planning and Listening to Your Body
Meal planning is a great way to mix up your weekly routine and add in those new recipes to try. Plan your weekly meals around the seasons as eating in season helps our bodies get what we need. However, also pay attention to your body. Your appetite and food cravings are connected to emotions, mood, time of year, and weather for that particular day. Be flexible with your meal plan, as it may not be best for that day. Your natural cravings can be great cues to mix up what you are eating and make a meal that leaves you satisfied.
Make Food Exciting
Being excited to eat is another important component of feeling satisfied. When you lack excitement with your food, it can lead to temptations or falling off the plan. Keep the foods you eat interesting, fun, and healthy to avoid getting stuck in a rut. One way to make food more exciting is by sharing with your friends and family when you try something new that you like. Everyone is inspired by food photos, and food is always a great conversational piece among people.
These conversations can be great ways to learn about cooking. Some people get into a food rut because they don’t enjoy cooking and they view it as a chore. Learning how to cook in a fun way may lead to a new appreciation for cooking and food. Find a way for cooking to inspire you and help you think of it as a hobby. Inspiration may come from mastering a few recipes, taking a class, or watching cooking videos. You can also find inspiration by looking in magazines, cookbooks, social media, cooking shows, and blogs. Trying new kitchen gadgets, such as a spiralizer, high-speed blender, or crock pot can help too.