I donít know about you, but I tend to shop for, prepare and eat pretty similar things from day to day. Even though I love food, its just hard for me to be creative and innovative. I even have a pre-printed Costco list with items that I can check off as I load them onto the cart. And lest you think Iím just an outlier, there’s some research that shows most people eat between 35 and 40 different things.
Unfortunately, thereís also a lot of research that tells us boredom is a major factor in causing us to overeat. (Food is so endlessly entertaining, after all). So I recognize that I have to occasionally challenge my natural inclination to just keep rotating the same meals over and over. Getting in a little variety is a sure fire way to keep things interesting.
Still, its not easy to strike the right balance. After all, there is a certain comfort in the reliability of tried and true meals that we know will be satsifying. Given that I donít really enjoy the process of meal preparation, Iím particularly likely to steer towards foods that are easy and quick to assemble.
One thing that can help me with this is my food journal. When I look back and see that Iíve had the same breakfast for 16 of the last 20 days, I know Iím in a rut. When I see lunches and dinners that never vary, ditto. Even if Iím satisfied with my weight maintenance and not feeling deprived, past experience tells me that I need to explore a little and find new inspirations and ideas.
Yesterday when I was at Costco, I couldnít find any salsa. At first I was mad, thinking Iíd have to make a second trip to a supermarket to find some. Then I realized that the lack of something on my list was actually an opportunity to explore the aisles and find inspiration elsewhere. I spent a few moments looking over the shelves and my eyes lit upon the words ďroasted chocolate mole.Ē
At first I figured anything chocolate would be caloric and overly sweet. But after finding out that it was intended ďas a cooking sauceĒ I checked out the label and discovered it was 24 calories for two tablespoons. I brought it home, and added it to my next vegetable stir fry. I discovered that it was spicy and tangy, and that two tablespoons were actually more than enough for a serving.
Itís a pretty huge container, and itíll take me a while to use it all up. Iíll try it in a few different recipes and see what works and what doesnít. And hopefully by the time its gone, Iíll have exhausted my interest in it and Iíll be ready to go exploring again! Maybe Iíll even find that salsa I was looking for.