Whether you approach cooking with enthusiasm or resignation, we often find ourselves stuck in a mealtime rut. It’s easy to lean on the dishes or recipes we know and trust to simplify and bring order to everyday meal preparation – whether it’s because we know the kids will eat it, it’s quick to make or because the ingredients are always on hand.
Often, our supermarket shopping list suffers the same fate. As creatures of habit faced with ever-increasing time pressures, we find it easier to shop on autopilot and grab the same items each time – which naturally leads us to cook the same or similar meals. If you can recite the items on your weekly shopping list from memory, it’s time to shake things up a bit!
I’m not suggesting a radical change – there’s no need to convert from passionate carnivore to vegan overnight – it’s about stretching, rather than straining, your food choices. The first step is to look objectively at the items currently entrenched in your supermarket trolley.
For example, the table below lists ten everyday grocery items you might buy in a typical week, followed by three suggested alternatives graded according to how adventurous you feel. So why not give it a try?
Beginning the adventure is easy. Simply choose an item in the Current column that you buy regularly, and next time you do your weekly shop, replace it with a slightly different item, as shown in the Alternative columns. Frequently, a minor tweak – like swapping sliced white sandwich bread for an unsliced Vienna loaf – will spark more inspiration than disruption. You’ll also enjoy different flavors, textures and better nutritional variety.
Think of the items on your grocery shopping list as the branches of a rose bush, each with the potential to extend a little or a lot depending on your perspective. A few small changes, applied often, can be the difference between eating to live and enjoying what you eat.
Next time… More practical tips for tackling food boredom without shock tactics!