Climbing Out of a Food Rut

| January 5, 2016 | 40 Comments

Climbing Out of a Food RutDo you ever feel like you’re making the same foods over and over again? This was recently a topic of conversation one evening when I was out with friends. It can be difficult to think of different things to cook, particularly this time of year when everyone is busy. Since eating the same foods or relying on convenience foods too much isn’t fun or healthy for anyone, though, it is worth the effort to change things up a bit. Here are some ways to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to experimenting more in the kitchen:

  • Compare notes with friends. One thing I noticed in my discussion at our last mamas’ night out was that although we all could relate to being in a food rut, we all had different foods in our ruts! I tend to rely on things like spaghetti with meatballs, tacos and whole roasted chickens. A friend who hails from Cuba tends to cook a lot of rice and beans or chicken with onions and peppers. One of the moms who is a vegetarian cooks baked potatoes with cheese and broccoli or vegetable pasta dishes. A working mom whose husband stays home eats grilled food, like hamburgers, grilled chicken and grilled veggies over rice, a lot at dinnertime. Just by asking for a few favorite recipes from a handful of friends, you could end up with several weeks’ worth of new dinners to try.
  • Vary your side dishes. Look up new ways to prepare rice, potatoes, pasta and grains. Also, try to find one new vegetable to try each month or so. My father-in-law taught me how to make risotto last year, which gave us a new and delicious way to serve rice. Making your potatoes au gratin instead of mashed can also lend appeal to a meal. Or try substituting sweet potatoes for regular baked white potatoes, or couscous instead of rice or egg noodles.
  • Make a list of recipes that you can make relatively easily. Once you start writing, you might find that you know how to make enough things to not repeat a meal over the course of a month! I did this and separated meals into categories: What could I make with chicken? With pork? Beef? How about pasta dishes? And those with egg? Once I had a handful in each category, I could choose one from each category each week. This way, we wouldn’t be eating tacos or breakfast-for-dinner each week.
  • Let the kids cook. They will probably need help or at least supervision at first, but kids are often creative and willing to experiment with food. Take them to the library to pick out some cookbooks and have them choose what they want to make in advance so you can get the necessary ingredients. My son once took out a book about Thai cooking, and made some really interesting meals. You might be able to assign them the chore of cooking once per week or so. This will also help picky eaters to expand their palates, and will certainly help them to appreciate what you do!

Take a few hours to plan out how you can climb out of your food rut if you’ve found yourself trapped by your own boredom with cooking. If you find a great new recipe, share it with our readers so that we can all benefit!

Comments (40)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. rishabh says:

    that’s looking nice

  2. Chrystal D says:

    I like making things then playing around with different ingredients or spices to change them a bit.

  3. Ashima Gupta says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for these simple tricks. Even I’ve been feeling like that recently, will definitely give them a try..

  4. Chelesa sims says:

    We go through this sometimes .Thank you for the ideas

  5. Adriana G says:

    Making a list and forgetting it twice – good tips. Grilled foods are always more appealing to my family.

  6. Stephanie from CT says:

    Some good ideas, we seem to eat the same thing over and over too. Just now I am trying to come up with something for tinoigt!

  7. denise smith says:

    love the ideas thanks so much

  8. Denise Bohman says:

    great ideas! so glad to have checked this one out!!

  9. Clifford says:

    Good ideas, especially comparing notes with friends. I can say that my family is in a food rut..my wife and I both seem to cook the same thing each week. No wonder we’re getting sick of grocery shopping and cooking, have to make some changes this year!!

  10. Micaela P says:

    I definitely do this. I have my favorite dishes that I make a lot, but they aren’t so yummy anymore if you make them too much! I love the talking with friend’s idea. I’ll have to try that!

  11. Debbie says:

    Thanks for the idea’s. I never thought to check with my friends on some of their recipes.

  12. Sarah L says:

    Letting the kids plan the meals and get the cookbooks from the library and help with shopping and then the cooking is a great way to help them learn & enjoy cooking.

  13. Brianne A. says:

    Oh wow, this is SO ME! Thanks for the info – great post. Starting to ask more friends! Can’t wait until my son is old enough to decide (should be fun lol).

  14. LAMusing says:

    I just went to the market today and I was thinking how I always buy the same stuff. So I checked out a few aisles I never go down and bought one new thing – a thai rice mix.

  15. Dianna Thomas says:

    I think we all get into a rut from time to time with meal making–I found that the pinterest helped some because everyone is getting real good at posting some fantastic dishes and deserts
    Thanks always need suggestion to keep me going

  16. Jesselyn A/Jesstinger says:

    This is just so perfect! Over the holidays I had the chance to catch up with my sister, her sister-in-law, my vegetarian niece and several other gals – and a few guys…

    Anyway, the topic (as always)turned to FOOD (which is so much more fun to talk about than the dread D word – Dieting…ugh.

    I think we all exchanged some good ideas and traded recipes. I also subscribe to all kinds of food/recipe blogs and try to explore different cuisines from all over the world.

  17. Samara Overturff says:

    My family gets in a food rut sometimes too. I like searching through Pinterest for some new ideas.

  18. Holly Trudeau says:

    Yes! I was just telling my husband that I feel like all I make is chicken and pork chops! Gets blah after awhile! Thanks for the tips!

  19. Dana Wales says:

    Great ideas ty so much!

  20. Carla Bonesteel says:

    OMG! My boyfriend is PICKY! So, I always feel like I’m making the same dinners every week…Maybe I can try some of these ideas and get him to expand his taste buds little.

  21. Bashir Ahmed says:

    I never thought to check with my friends on some of their recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I try to change things up a lot to avoid food ruts

  23. juli guthrie says:

    I ask my friends for recipes. But I’m so picky, I mean, my kids are so picky (lol) I usually just stick to the basics. We have broadened our horizons on veggies and sides though.

  24. Huguette English says:

    I’m totally in a food rut. I use pinterest for new recipes. Christmas was all about new recipes :)

  25. Kathy Smith says:

    I am always trying to find new recipes because you do tend to get into same old routines of same old things. Thanks for the tips.

  26. oralia says:

    out of all my friends I am the only one married and the only one that has to cook for the hubby, and pretty soon ill be cooking for my baby too. My favorite tip was letting the kids cook, and you made a great point with picky eaters.

  27. Heidi LeMay says:

    I am definitely in a food rut. I am going to try some new recipes. A good place to find them is on Pinterest.Thanks for the tips.

  28. Tara says:

    These are great tips. I am in SUCH a food rut after the holidays, and it’s so easy just to say we’ll go out to eat.

  29. Dana Pugsley says:

    I seem to make a lot of the same dishes also. I like your idea of writing down the easy recipes I do know so I can see how many dishes I actually know how to make. Also, now that the children are grown I have less picky eaters but still have the biggest picky eater of all My husband LOL Thanks again for great ideas!

  30. San says:

    Thanks for the ideas. I also look at recipe books and watching cooking shows for more recipes.

  31. Ally says:

    I am soooo in a food rut. Being the mother of picky eaters (5 & 7 yr olds) is no very fun or easy at all. I will definitely be using some of the ideas you mentioned! thanks

  32. krista grandstaff says:

    Ok…I’m going to be the lone dissenter… no food rut here… :) But…I like to cook, and we eat nothing that comes from a box(allergies & sensitivities to MSG)…so I’ve gotten pretty creative over the last few years…I’m also a big fan of doing the majority of my cooking on Sunday, and just adding to it throughout the week. The kids love “buffet night”…where we clean out the fridge and they can eat anything, within reason…(I had to stop the “jello and an apple” kid, but other than that, it’s gone pretty smoothly.) My kids are also HUGE fans of soup…so making different kinds of soup can really add to the variety ( crock pots are great for this!)

  33. Kayce says:

    That’s one of my problems here at home. Its so hard to think of the dishes to cook specially the viands. We are sick and tired of making the same foods over and over again. Thanks for this tips! Now I know how to get rid of those food rut.

  34. Tammy S says:

    I feel like this happens to me all the time. I never thought to compare recipes with friends. Sometimes when I am done working all day I just go for the old standby’s that I know everyone will eat.

  35. Giveaway Gal says:

    I like the idea of letting the kids cook.

  36. Victoria CK says:

    I have this problem, big time. And I know I’ve hit it when hubby starts listing what we have when looking for dinner ideas–or starts the local restaurant list when going out because no one knows what they want anymore!

    Great Ideas here. Goodness knows I can use all the help I can get!

  37. Eva says:

    These are some great tips. I think everyone has this kind of problem at some point. But there are so many great dishes you can still try!

  38. Nena Sinclair says:

    I definitely find myself in a food rut more often than I care to admit! Thanks for the great tips!

  39. Luda says:

    That is me, im looking always for new ways to prepare food, and having kids in the kitchen makes meals more delicious! =)

  40. Rama says:

    Thanks for the ideas, Some times I get so lazy to try new dishes 😉

Leave a Reply