Food for Thought

Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.

How to Create More Variety in Your Meals With New & Reimagined Foods

How to Create More Variety in Your Meals With New & Reimagined Foods

How to Create More Variety in Your Meals With New & Reimagined Foods

There aren’t many universal truths, but here’s one: Every household has a handful of go-to, standard meals. Even folks who love to cook and explore new dishes undoubtedly have standby meals that they make again and again . . . and again.

Knowing your favorites is great as far as simplicity and time-saving are concerned! Sometimes though, you really just want to try something new. Especially right now—when we’re all social distancing, stuck at home, and possibly experiencing issues obtaining the foods we’re used to having access to—mealtime can be a great opportunity to add a little variety in our everyday lives.

Trying new foods and new meals might sound intimidating, but never fear! As a busy working mom who loves eating good food way more than cooking it, I’d never steer you into the waters of impractical dishes or evening-long cooking marathons. You and your family can experiment with new flavors without risking your time or your grocery budget. Here’s how.

 

Start with foods you already have at home.

At the time this blog is being published, our world is in the early stages of navigating life with Covid-19. For most of us, this means we’re trying not to go out for groceries quite as often, and that our choices at the store might be limited. That’s why the first step to creating more variety in your meal plan is to reexamine the food you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
Protein in particular can be particularly diverse. For example, did you know there are several dozen ways to prepare chicken? And that’s one only type of protein.

In our house, we’re part of a fish ‘CSA’—we get fresh, local seafood delivered straight to our house each week. Last week, we got sole, which I promptly braised in some lemon and butter and stuck in the refrigerator. Now, my first two dinners were easy. On night one, I just had the fish with some veggies. On night two, I had it on some salad. By night three though, I was feeling a little bored with the sole. So on night three, I sauteed some leftover bok choy, prepared some quinoa pasta, added some spicy tomatillo sauce, and of course tied it all together with the sole. It was a super flavorful, easy, balanced, and unique dinner.

 

Think about sauces and spices.

If you’ve found an ingredient you’re interested in using (for me it was sole, maybe for you it’s chicken, another type of fish, or tofu), think about different sauces and spices you could add to change things up a bit. Using my earlier example of chicken, you could decide to cook:

  • Chicken parm with basil and marinara

  • Chicken tikka masala

  • Grilled lemon chicken with veggies

  • Pulled, BBQ-style chicken

  • Fettuccine alfredo with chicken strips

  • Cubed chicken with turmeric and quinoa

  • Homemade chicken soup

. . . And that’s just to name a few options off the cuff! If you’re drawing a blank, the internet is your friend. Just check out Pinterest for inspiration. 

 

Look at Other Suppliers

If you typically hit one grocery store and call it done, consider looking to other or multiple suppliers for your foods. My family loves checking out local markets (or in the state of current events, ordering curb-side pickup from local markets) to take advantage of whatever fresh, local fruits and veggies happen to be available.

Eating a more local, seasonal diet will help you naturally start to incorporate more variety because your produce options will shift with the weather as you move through the year. Plus, buying a type of food you might not normally look for at the grocery store and then planning your meal around it can be a fun way to challenge yourself to try new recipes!
 

Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas around how you can freshen up your menu this week! 

For more food, nutrition, and health-related tips, tricks, and advice, join me over in my free Facebook community, Never Diet Again! We’re a group for business women and female entrepreneurs who want to “have it all” without needing to have 26+ hours in a day to make it happen . . . and we’d love to have you!

 

 

 
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