Feeling bored with what you eat? How to break free from a meal planning rut

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Thank you to my friends at Alberta Milk for partnering with me to bring you this sponsored blog post, helping you energize your nutrition, one bite at a time.

Our day to day busy-ness often results in us eating the same rotation of meals over and over and over….Tacos, chicken, pasta, pizza, meat with potatoes and carrots…..After a while, we feel bored and uninspired with our meals.

Boredom with meal planning could lead to a return to less healthful habits such as doing less meal preparation because you just don’t know what to cook. It could mean eating more pre-packaged and processed foods. It could mean more eating out. When this results, most people move back to meal planning to support their health goals, organize their meals and ultimately, save time and money.

 

How do your meal habits change when you feel bored with what you eat?

When we want to change our habits, there are a series of stages we go through before we actually change:

  • “I can’t” or “I won’t” change the behaviour,
  • “I may” change
  • “I will” change
  • “I am” changing
  • “I still am” or maintaining my behaviour change (Moore et al, 2016).

When in the final stage of maintaining healthful habits, it is important to prevent boredom, as boredom can lead to a relapse to previous, less healthful habits (Moore et al, 2016).

 

How can you prevent boredom with meal planning?

There are three ways to prevent boredom with a healthful habit, such as meal planning:  (Moore et al, 2016):

  1. Get refocused – We all have our own reasons for meal planning…our desire for health, healthy lifestyles, modeling healthy habits for our kids, having control of the foods going in our bodies, saving money. Get refocused on your personal reasons for meal planning. How is meal planning important to you?
  2. Add in variety – When feeling bored with a healthful habit, add in some variety. With different foods available in our grocery stores, it doesn’t take long to add in a greater variety of food. I was recently talking with a friend about quick meals that she makes for her family, including a crustless spinach quiche. When she shared the recipe with me, I realized that I had all the ingredients in my home, except the frozen spinach needed. This new meal idea will add in variety to the food I prepare.
  3. Set news goals – In the case of meal planning, this could mean learning how to use a new kitchen gadget, like an Instant Pot or an air fryer. It could also mean finding new meal ideas and/or trying a new recipe.

 

Five places to find new meal ideas to dig yourself out of a mealtime rut:

  1. Spend meal-times with other people – Whether it is eating a meal together, going away with another family, or going to a pot luck, you can be exposed to new meal ideas by noticing what foods they eat and how they are prepared.
  2. Do a meal idea exchange with other people – Compare your weeknight meals with other people. Talk to other people or post a question in your social media account. In a short time, you will have a pile of new ideas.
  3. Get menu inspiration from local restaurants – Read through their menu and note the menu items that peak your interest. How could you recreate this dish at home?
  4. Take a cooking class – Search for local cooking classes to see what kind of food might get you re-inspired to try something new.
  5. Go online to trusted websites for new meal inspiration – In just a few clicks, you will have one or two new meal ideas to add to your meal planning repertoire.

 

Meal planning is often a love-hate concept for parents. We hate it because it is one more thing on our never ending to-do list. But we love it because it is a sanity saver and helps us maintain our path to a healthful lifestyle.

 

Sweet and Savoury Dessert Quesadilla Bar

As I think about Father’s Day coming up, I will definitely be planning a special meal for the Dads in my life. I have my eye on this Pork Souvlaki with halloumi pepper skewers with warm flatbread, a colorful veggie platter and tzatziki for dipping.

For dessert, I am planning this fun sweet and savoury dessert quesadilla bar. This recipe was inspired by a friend who brought over dessert tacos as part of a Cinqo de Mayo dinner party. The tacos were made using a pancake batter, then baked in the oven into their taco shape, and filled with fresh fruit, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The dessert was so eye-appealing and was devoured by the kids and adults alike.

I chose to go with a dessert quesadilla because it is simpler. I can buy pre-made flour tortillas and prepare them based on everyone’s individual preferences, be it sweet or savoury. Here is the recipe for how to make them. Enjoy!

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Food, Nutrition & Culinary Coach, Registered Nutritionist and Calgary Dietitian, Calgary, AB.

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