Let’s face it. After a long day of work, hanging with friends, running around, and generally being your own badass self, an interesting meal at the end of the day is probably the very furthest thing from your mind. It can be so easy to get stuck in a food rut; breakfast from the coffee shop every morning, the same old salad from the cafeteria or same boxed lunch and then a sandwich every single night for dinner. In fact, it usually isn’t until you’ve accidentally fallen out of your routine that you realize how stuck you’ve become. Whatever your personal variation is on a stale food routine, know that you’re not alone. Here we’ve rounded up five tricks to kick that tired food routine and help get you back into the land of inspired eating.
Set goals for yourself
Setting goals can be a good way to motivate yourself when you’re trying to break out of a routine. Try to veer away from specific diet-related goals and instead focus on trying new ingredients and finding new ways to improve on well-loved recipes. This can be as simple as trying a new fruit or vegetable or updating classic macaroni and cheese with pureed butternut squash and fresh sage in place of cream and half of the cheese.
Dedicate one or two meals a week to breaking out of your rut
Shaking up a boring eating routine doesn’t mean completely abandoning the way you’ve been eating up until that point. One or two meals a week is all it takes to try a new recipe or restaurant without a huge commitment on your behalf. Meals can be themed ( we all love scrolling our Instagram feeds for Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday #inspo) or they can be completely random, depending on what you find the easiest to stick to.
Find your inspiration
A big part of getting out of any rut is to find something that motivates and inspires you. Buying the same groceries every week or picking up the same hum-drum take out day in and day out isn’t going kick your inspiration into high-gear.. Food blogs and cookbooks are obvious sources of inspiration but don’t feel like your search for inspiration has to end there. Books about travel, photography, food essays, vintage cookbooks, and your everyday surroundings are great sources of culinary inspiration.
Have potluck dinner parties
Potluck dinner parties are amazing for many reasons but especially because they provide the perfect opportunity to break out of a very monotonous eating routine. Potluck dinners can be free-form, where every dish is essentially a wild card, or they can be structured around themes ranging from type of cooking to your newest favourite TV show. Have everyone bring the food of their choice and let the dinner roulette begin! In general it’s always a great idea to assign who’s bringing the salad, dessert, sides, etc. Either each person can bring their own alcoholic accompaniments or one person can provide it in lieu of food.
Take a community cooking class
Community cooking classes are inexpensive and decidedly unpretentious, the very least threatening environment to learn a few new kitchen skills. Check out library and grocery store community boards for information as well as online course calendars. These cooking classes tend to be fairly social in nature, so bring a friend or a date and make a night of it and use your new knowledge as a spring board for all sorts of future recipes and ideas.