Climb out of the food rut with easy changes in what and how you eat.
1. Try a new food (something you’ve never had before).
Whether it’s curry or kohlrabi, pick something and explore it, even before you try it. Read some recipes or thoughts about it on the Internet or the library. Ask the folks where you buy it how they prepare it. Look at restaurant menus. See what appeals to you. Once you figure out what is most appealing to you, give it a try, ideally by making it yourself. When we were children, most of us disliked certain foods that as we grew, we later on learned to enjoy such as coffee, strong cheese, and others. By opening up to the idea that there are likely other such foods, we expand the possibilities for better eating.
2. Change your ordinary setting.
Eat somewhere new. No, not necessarily at a new restaurant, but in a different place from where you usually eat. Always eat in the kitchen, in front of the TV, reading a book or standing up? Pick a new spot. Make it a point to change your setting in other ways too – use different plates or napkins, switch your usual seat or use different dishes. Eating in a “new place” helps us step out of our ordinary habits and starts to build a new relationship with eating.
3. Make your usual food new.
Try different portion sizes – maybe a larger bowl of soup, more broccoli or an appetizer size of pasta rather than a full plate. Try dividing your meal into several “courses,” taking a bit of time to enjoy each one and noticing how your appetite changes as you eat. Many people find that when they have very low food day every once in a while, whether a full food fast (liquids only) or just 2-3 very small meals, they have more energy and have a better sense of taste when they resume eating normally.
Start a Mexican Thursday or Soup Monday or Veggie Wednesday. Pick a theme that works for you and those you eat with (and perhaps cook for) and take lots of suggestions. Look at the new routine as a challenge to try new foods and create new family favorites. Choose something that allows for lots of variations so you can adapt as seasons change, ingredients become available or your mood changes. Hot lentil soup may work in February while cold gazpacho will do the trick in July. Experiment and have fun.
5. Use (and add to) your food storage.
We’re lovers of stored food and not just for emergencies. At least once/week, use one (or more) ingredients that you’ve stored. Chick peas become hummus. Lentils become soup. Black beans make a delicious dip. You get the idea. Once you get in the habit of using your stored food, it will be easier to remember to re-stock and you will be sure it’s there (and fresh) when you need it. It may be summer now meaning we’re not snowed-in, but it there can still be lots of power outages, flooding and other issues making it just as important to have a well-stocked storage pantry. Try adding a new item, giving yet another opportunity to experiment.