When I find a meal that I love, I can eat it for DAYS in a row before becoming bored. However, there are some times that I look at my busy schedule, plan out my quickest meals and think, “brown rice and veggie stir fry on Wednesday night. Again. Oh joy.”
Don’t get me wrong. A veggie stir fry is one of my all time favorite quick meals. It uses up leftover rice (or noodles) and veggies at the end of the week and it’s delicious. But after eating it once a week for 2 months in a row, sometimes I’m ready to give it a rest.
Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you don’t want to branch out into new recipes right now. Maybe you just need a way to make your meal prep food seem fresh by the end of the week. You’re pressed for time, want to maintain your healthy plant-based meal plan, want to avoid take out, but you’re tastebuds feel a little, well, blasé.
Food ruts happen to the best of us. But here’s the great news, they are easy to break! A few easy tricks will take meals that your family already loves and transform them into something a little more interesting.
Here are my 3 tips to help you break out of your food rut:
1. Rotate Your Grains/Beans/Greens – If you’ve been on a brown rice kick lately, why not give it a rest for a week or two and try out quinoa, millet, barley, or another grain to lend your dishes a new flavor and texture? This works especially well if you tend to make big batches of grains while meal prepping. The same goes for your beans and greens. Rotate them out and give something new a try. Hit the bulk bins at your grocery store to see what types of grains you’ve never tried for some inspiration (and save a little money while you’re at it!).
So instead of your typical burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, and romaine, make it with quinoa, lentils, and kale, and maybe some Pineapple Salsa while you’re at it. Without any extra work, the dish tastes entirely different. And who knows, you may have found a new favorite combo.
2. Spice Things Up – Next time you’re at the grocery store, linger in the spice aisle. There are hundreds of different spices and spice blends that you can use to take your meals from bland to bold. If you favor Mexican spices, why not give an Italian Seasoning blend a try? If you’re feeling really adventurous, pick a spice blend you’ve never tried before like Za’atar (a Middle Eastern blend featuring sumac), Garam Masala (an Indian spice blend featuring cumin, cardamom, and cloves), or a Chinese Five Spice (featuring cinnamon, star anise, and ginger). Use these spices in stir fries, sprinkled onto roasted veggies or potatoes, or simmer them in veggie stock to use as the base for soup or to cook your grains. The possibilities are endless!
3. Get Saucy – Nothing takes a bowl of beans, greens, and grains to the next level quite like the perfect sauce. Whether it’s a simple drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a dash of coconut aminos, or a healthy serving of Tabasco, a good sauce can bring a dish together or transform leftovers into something new. My family loves leftover roasted potatoes wrapped in a giant tortilla with greens, tomatoes, lentils, avocado, and a hearty dose of my Maple Mustard Dressing. When I make a batch of Coconut Yum Yum Sauce, I drizzle it on everything until I run out! Husband is partial to my Teriyaki Sauce over crispy tofu squares. We’ve even taken the sauce from my Orange Chickpea Bowls and stirred it into plain oatmeal for an interesting twist on breakfast.
Food rut be gone! How do you break out of a food rut while staying healthy? Share your tips in the comments below!
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