Are you in a food rut?

Are you in a food rut?
4410744_sDoes every lunch look the same? Not feeling excited about your meals? Is hubby complaining about eating chicken again? Do you have food envy?
Does this sound like you? Well these are typical symptoms of being in a food rut and, if you’ve just self-diagnosed the rut, read on……………………………………………………………….
It happens to all of us, me included, at some point. You lose inspiration, your short of time, you have your trusted favourite meals that are so easy to make – utter bore! I understand – that sandwich is easy to make, easy to carry and, well, it tastes alright (although you could be eating cardboard and not know the difference!).  I applaud you for making the effort of taking your lunch to work so that you’re not tempted by the chips in the canteen or the trolley that comes around the office or popping into a garage on your journey but, it doesn’t have to be this way! Embrace the rut and do something about it.

While it’s great to have a few ‘go-to’ meals, if they leave you uninspired, then you may be tempted to have a sweet treat to bring a bit of food pleasure. It’s about variety too, it’s important to have a varied diet to provide us with the essential nutrients that our bodies demand, but using 3 different types of pasta doesn’t count!

I know that a routine offers comfort but shake it up! Here are a few suggestions to help you ditch the rut and never look back:

1. Make extras – cook more than you need and freeze portions for another day. A slow cooker/crockpot is great for this. You could even use a small portion for your lunch to scrap
the sandwich.

2. Put the enjoyment and excitement back into cooking. It could be as simple as buying a
new cookbook, watching the newest cooking show, getting a food magazine or having a
look online and creating your own recipe journal. You could even sign up for cooking classes
(possible birthday or Christmas present alert!). It only takes a little inspiration to get the
culinary juices flowing and boost your confidence

3. Ditch online food shopping and get into shops for inspiration. You may see an ingredient
that you’ve not tried before or something that you don’t usually buy may look tempting. Try
going down different isles or even try a different shop. Experiment!

4. Order a fruit and vegetable box to be delivered. It doesn’t have to be every week but, you
don’t usually know what’s coming so you need to think on your feet (or Google!) it’s a great
way of trying different things that you wouldn’t have thought to buy in the weekly shop.

5. Use a meal planner – I love using a meal planner because life is hectic enough without
having the ‘what am I going to have for dinner’ panic! For the amount of time it takes to
sit down and think about it on a Sunday afternoon, it can have so many benefits – it can
help you budget, cut down on waste and help you manage your waistline by not opting for
convenience/ready meals. You can then base your shopping list around your meal planner.

6. If you’re trying to lose weight and tend to opt for the same things as you know the calorie
content then get this – its more about portion control than having to eat ‘diet’ foods.  You
can adapt most recipes to make them more healthy, but you can still consume a lot of
calories through ‘healthy’ foods. No foods are calorie free!

7. Give your staple meals a new lease of life. Think ingredient swaps – if you always make
bolognaise, try adding different vegetables or try making it using quorn.

8. Share your successes – your friends may have a similar diagnosis of food rut so share ideas,
recipes, feedback and even get your friends/family to rate your newest discovery.

9. Have a themed night. This could be every week or every month with dishes from different
countries. Don’t feel like they need to be above your culinary capabilities and they don’t
necessarily need more time to prepare – the more you cook them, the faster you’ll get.

10. Do things like quinoa, barley, polenta, farro or pulses intimidate you? Why? Probably
because you’ve never tried cooking them – give it a go! New ingredients aren’t  as scary as
them seem. We’ve all had some gastronomic disasters but you live and learn! Experiment!

And, voila, food rut cured! Enjoy your next meal.