As with any type of eating style, a plant-based diet can become repetitive and boring if we are not consciously changing things up every now and again. We humans tend to be creatures of habit and once we find what works for us, we often stick to it until something forces a change, whether that is boredom or some other factor.
It is especially important for plant-based eaters to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible to ensure adequate consumption of all required nutrients. In this article we will explore some ways you can introduce more variety into your diet to keep things exciting, tasty and nutritious. Read on to get some ideas to stimulate your plant-based culinary creativity!
Brainstorm all the foods you can eat
Often our boredom comes from our routine and habits; we buy the same foods each week and make the same meals out of them because we enjoy them - until we don’t. Start by expanding the list of foods you know you like and are suitable for your eating style. A great way to do this is by simply brainstorming on a piece of paper, or in the notes app on your phone, all of the foods you can think of that you could add to your shopping list. You will be surprised at how many items end up on your list that you simply forgot about. A good way to jog your memory while doing this is to mentally walk yourself through the different supermarket sections, for example, writing down all the possible vegetables you can eat, or all the different nuts and seeds. Use this list when you are planning your meals and doing your shopping to add more variety and something a bit different to your meals.
Try a new ingredient
We tend to stick to what we know, and even when you make your list, your tendency may be to list the foods you know you like and are familiar with. Another good way to get out of a food rut is to try something new, something you have never eaten or cooked with before. Each time you go to get your shopping, explore the produce section for something you have never tried before. For example, never eaten or cooked with pumpkin? Get a pumpkin, and experiment with it this week. If you do this each week and are constantly trying something new, you are sure to keep your taste buds interested!
Another good way to stimulate your creativity and try something different is to get your food somewhere new. If you haven't already and there is one near you, go and visit your local farmer’s market for your next grocery haul. Not only will you be greeted by a beautiful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables to try, you will also be supporting your local farmers. The food will be seasonal as well, so this is also a great way to keep your diet varied and in sync with the seasons. Talk to the farmers, find out about their produce and get creative about what you will buy and how you will use it.
Explore and experiment with different world cuisines
Do you have a favourite world cuisine? Perhaps you love a good Thai curry, or a Mexican burrito? A great way to try out new ideas at home is to explore the different cuisines of the world. If you love the flavours of Thailand, you could spend a week or two learning about and cooking with the various ingredients and techniques that make Thai food so unique and delicious. The same goes for any cuisine! Not only will you be experimenting cooking with new foods and flavours, but you will be broadening your cooking repertoire. Experiment and get creative, and by theming your meals like this you are sure not to get bored with the vast variety of different flavours of the world!
Put your cookbook collection to good use
The chances are high that you have at least one (or ten!) cookbooks on your bookshelf, which you bought with the best intentions, but have so far have only managed to look at all the beautiful pictures (we've all been there!). Well now is the time to start trying some of those recipes out for real. Gather what cookbooks you have at home, and intentionally read through them and pick out one or two recipes for the week ahead to try out. Don’t overwhelm yourself with more than one or two, and keep things simple to begin with. If you commit to trying a new recipe a week, you will have a great range of new tasty meal options in no time. Even if you don’t have any plant-based cookbooks at home, you can visit your local library or charity shops to get your hands on some without having to go out and buy brand new books.
Online recipe resources
Last but not least, our final tip to break out of your plant-based boredom is to get online for some inspiration. There are countless food blogs and recipe resources online, which is amazing but it can also be a bit overwhelming. One strategy could be to focus on one meal, for example breakfast, for a few weeks. Search online for plant-based breakfast ideas and try out a few ideas that appeal to your taste buds. Then maybe the following few weeks you search for new ways to cook with beans, or tofu, or kale - the possibilities are endless! Over time, you will likely find a few resources that really resonate with your tastes, and you can refer to these again and again for inspiration for any of your meals.
So there you have six ideas to hopefully spark some creativity to help you out if you are feeling bored on a plant-based diet. The possibilities really are endless, and with a little thought and planning, you can try something new every day of the week. Be open, be curious, and try something new!