If you’re like many people, you probably find that it’s hard to get excited about making food night after night. This is especially true if you’re cooking for the whole family. It’s a challenge to come up with new inspirations that keep everyone satisfied. Here are 7 tips to help add some variety to your mealtimes.
1. Mix It Up - The best way to keep your meals exciting is to use a variety of foods in your meals and to introduce new ingredients whenever possible. This keeps your family from getting tired of the same food week after week. It’s also a healthier way to eat. Including a wide variety of foods in your diet is the best way to ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs. Spend some time browsing the aisles at your supermarket and look for new ingredients to try, or find ideas in downloadable cookbooks online.
2. Try New Spices - There’s no simpler way to give a dish a makeover than by adding a little spice to it. Add cayenne pepper or chili powder for a little heat, or spice up your meat with herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint. The possibilities are endless, and it can completely transform your old, boring dish into something completely new! To really infuse the flavor of the spices into your food, marinate your meat or veggies for 12-24 hours beforehand in the refrigerator.
3. A Variety of Color - One way to make your meals more interesting is by using foods of different colors at each meal. It will look more attractive on the plate, and your family will actually be more likely to clean their plates. If you serve multiple veggies or a salad, make sure to include some color variety there as well. A plate full of greens is not going to be appealing to most children.
4. Add Texture - Just like you want to include foods of different colors in each meal, you should also try to include foods of different textures. If the main dish is a soup or stew, make sure to include something crunchy like fresh carrot sticks, crackers, or a garnish of nuts. Vary your texture from day to day as well--try not to serve soup 2 or 3 days in a row, for example.
5. International Themes - Another way to make your mealtimes more exciting is by using international-themed dishes. You could try having an “international day” once a month where you make tacos, polenta, or other international foods. Visit restaurants in your area for inspiration, or look online for recipes from around the globe. You could also consider playing international music as you eat to give the meal a more authentic atmosphere.
6. Grill It! - A grill is a great way for infusing extra flavor into your foods, and it can help to add some variety during the summer months. The good news is you can cook just about anything on the grill, from veggies to main dishes to desserts. You can also use an indoor electric grill during colder weather--it won’t be quite the same as the “real thing,” but you can enjoy the smoky flavor of the grill all year long.
7. Let Your Kids Help - If you have kids who are picky eaters, one of the best ways to get them excited about their food is to let them help prepare it. Let them choose their favorite recipes (within reason!) and take part in the cooking process as much as they are able. Look for kid-friendly recipes in downloadable cookbooks online to get started. This is a great way to bond with your children and encourage them to eat new foods at the same time.