The average person eats the same six meals on repeat. It’s no wonder the vast majority of my clients tell me they’re stuck in a rut, bored of cooking and eating the same things and are looking for inspiration! Are you guilty of this too?
Not only will eating the same meals week in and week out be zapping the joy from mealtimes, it’s not going to be helping our health either. Our body thanks us for eating a wide range of ingredients and when we restrict our diet to a small number of dishes, we’re not going to be giving it what it needs.
Planning our meals for the week ahead means we’re more likely to eat better since it gives us extra opportunity to include a diverse range of foods into our diets. We can be thinking about meals we haven’t had for a while, foods we fancy, whether we’ve got time to try out a new dish, take suggestions from family members and help our picky eaters explore new foods.
Think about it, if you haven’t planned ahead and you’ve got to suddenly start preparing a meal, what are you going to cook? The first thing that springs to mind! And this is likely to be something you’ve prepared thousands of times and can now do without much effort.
An easy way to start adding variety and new foods into your repertoire is to pick one vegetable, or other ingredient, that you wouldn’t normally buy and add it to your weekly shop. Each week add another new vegetable or ingredient. This way it doesn’t feel daunting and you slowly get used to cooking with the new ingredients.
If you don’t want to stray too far from your familiar dishes, trying to include extra ingredients will still increase the variety in your diet and can even help make your food (and your money) go further. Try swapping out some of your regular accompanying vegetables instead of always opting for the same one. You could also, for example, replace some of your minced meat with lentils in a Bolognese or chilli, add broccoli and cauliflower to a macaroni cheese, or chickpeas and veg to your chicken curry.
Feeling more adventurous? Pick a new recipe to try, once a month, once a fortnight or once a week, whatever feels achievable. If you like it, add it to the meal plan so you’re gradually increasing the number of dishes in your go-to list. It’s usually best to try a new recipe when you’ve got time, at the weekend perhaps, because they tend to take longer than the recipe suggests first time round. Cooking a new dish when you haven’t got time is only going to deter you from trying again.
Which new dish will you include in your meal plan next week? If you’re stuck for inspiration, there are lots of recipes on my website for you to try.