Stuck in a Pandemic Food Rut? 6 Ideas to Break Out.

It’s easy to get into a food rut under the best circumstances. In a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s actually hard not to. If you’re like most people, you’re making fewer trips to the grocery store and spending less time considering your options while there in order to reduce your risk of getting or transmitting the virus. 

But eating a variety of foods is important since it helps ensure that you get the nutrients your body requires. Plus, looking forward to and enjoying different foods can lift your spirits—something we all need during these challenging times.


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How to Put Some Fun into Your Food Choices

Here are six great ways to motivate yourself to move away from the “same old same old.” 

  1. Pull a recipe out of a hat. When you find yourself reluctant to try something new, write some recipes you find online or in a cookbook on separate slips of paper and commit to cooking whatever meal you pull out of a hat. Then, leave that slip of paper out of the mix when you do the same thing next time. 
  2. Go to a different grocery store. If you’ve shopped in the same place for years or even decades, a change of scenery can be inspiring. New sights, sounds, and smells can get your creative juices flowing and encourage you to try something new or to put a fresh twist on an old favorite. Just remember, if you visit a grocery store in person, you’ll need to take precautions like social distancing, masking, and frequent handwashing.
  3. Schedule a videoconference meal with friends and family. Sharing a meal with others can inspire you to try something new. Even if you can’t connect in person with loved ones, schedule a time when you can all cook the same meal in your own homes and savor it together online.
  4. Challenge yourself to try new ingredients or cooking techniques. You’ve never made a stew? Give it a try. You’ve heard a lot of good things about a particular vegetable or spice but have never eaten it? Find a recipe that showcases that ingredient and get cooking! It’ll be a fun experiment, and whether you love the meal or not, you’ll be a better-informed cook in the future.
  5. Go with the (seasonal) flow. Certain fruits and vegetables are only available—or are at their flavor peak—at certain times of the year. Find out what those items are and let what’s “in season” guide your menu selections now and then. 
  6. Use a meal delivery service. Nobody says you have to cook from scratch to get out of a food rut. There are many services that’ll ship you the ingredients you need to make a delicious meal. This might cost a little more than buying ingredients at the grocery store, but it’s an adventure that can spice things up for you periodically. 

Be Creative but Also Kind to Yourself

Yes, there are both physical and mental health benefits from mixing up your menu. But you shouldn’t be hard on yourself about it. We all fall into food ruts at times. If you’re in one but you’re still getting adequate nutrition, your decision to shake things up should be driven by enthusiasm, not a sense of obligation. 

More Questions About COVID-19 and the Vaccine?

If you’d like to learn more about COVID-19 and the vaccines that have been approved by the FDA, visit the Baptist Health COVID-19 Resources page. More information about available vaccines can also be found at the CDC.


Next Steps and Useful Resources:

Quarantine Cuisine: Simple Foods to Boost Immunity
Tips for Safe Grocery Shopping During COVID-19
How to Stop Emotional and Stress Eating
[RECIPE]: White Chili with Chicken

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