We have to eat food to survive, but our bites can be a luxurious experience, too. Our relationship with food is delicate and even political, just like with people. Don’t let your bond with sustenance become stagnant. Here are ten characteristics to warn you that you are no longer getting creative in the kitchen.
By Annelise McAuliffe
Ten signs you should reconnect with your kitchen love and escape a food rut!
1. You’ve lost touch with your fridge
Not only have you only dared to open the door for a beverage, but you’re not even sure what hides behind that expired carton of milk. Of course you can’t cook when you have no idea what’s in your pantry and fridge. Take the plunge and clean out your cupboards! Make a simple list of what staples you have so when you’re in a crunch to come up with a meal you know what you’re working with.
2. You’ve been eating Pop-Tarts for more than breakfast
They were great on the go as a kid, but to be a regular staple in an adult’s life, they just can’t keep up with your nutritional needs. Ignore the simple toaster carbs and expand your breakfast horizons. Try this recipe for baked oatmeal as a new way to kickstart your day.
3. You never plan ahead
Be it a grocery list, a dinner menu, or just what you will have for lunch in thirty minutes, you have zero vision of your foodie future. While flying by the seat of your pants is ok sometimes, never having a plan can leave you with mediocre options. Start with a simple, but varied, grocery list to help inspire your shopping trips and your cooking conquests when you return home.
4. You’re on a first name basis with a delivery guy
Take-out and dining at restaurants is fun, exciting, and requires little cleanup. However, when your top visited website on your browser is a food delivery page you know you have a problem. Get outside of your delivery bubble and go out for a change, try whipping up something easy at your place, or at least explore a new restaurant on GrubHub.
5. You’re settling
Be it ingredients, meals, or restaurants you know they’re not right for you, but you keep going back for more anyway. Don’t set yourself up for failure when it comes to eating. Search out quality or exciting components to you meals. Try indulging in something new and exciting, be it a restaurant or a spice, at least once a week.
6. Your coworkers all know which lunch is yours
Your same sad desk lunch that you bring everyday haunts your work’s refrigerator. What’s worse is that all your colleagues now know that you and food are officially in a rut. Make sure you get that needed midday refuel and try these easy, and delicious lunch ideas to take to work.
7. You only interact online
You love looking at food, but that is about it. There is nothing wrong with drooling over blogs, food Instagrams and recipes online, but if you never take those gastronomic ideas to the next level you are selling yourself short. There’s a whole world of food out there to be tasted!
8. You have no spices or fun condiments in your cupboard
In order to spice up your life you need some variety and excitement. Don’t set your cooking up for failure by not have flavorful herbs, spices, and common sauces on hand. Be willing to try new blends or combinations you’ve never thought of.
9. You and food are avoiding each other
Eating should a fun and delicious gathering, not a hassle that you try to avoid until you are about to starve. Food should not be scary! Try these easy, simple meals that don’t require any avoidance in order to be conquered.
10. All you eat is kale
Healthy eating is important, but so is balanced diet of variety and moderation. Just because you know one food item is healthy, doesn’t mean you should eat tons of that one item. If you’re changing your eating habits for the better it doesn’t always mean you have to limit yourself, too. Rather than just eating a healthy food like kale, try eating smaller portions of some of your favorite foods alongside your greens to keep you healthy and out of a food rut.
Mandatory family outings to the Detroit farmers' market and nightly home-cooked meals cultivated Annelise's respect and curiosity for food. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she spends her free time in New York City recipe testing, eating breakfast all day, and dreaming up international culinary adventures.