Do you struggle with feeling bored with you vegan or plant-based meals? If so you are not alone! This is a common concern expressed by new members of my Black Vegan Academy FaceBook Group. Luckily it's a concern that can be solved. Your healthy plant-based meals should be satisfying with plenty of variety.
So how do you avoid getting bored with your food? Here are 7 ways
1. Get Inspiration
Subscribe to several food blogs or YouTube channels that regularly post recipes that are appealing to you. There have been many times when an email with the latest post from a food blog has inspired me to try something new. Often they inspire even more ideas for what I can do.
Action: Search google and YouTube for "vegan recipes" and find 2-3 people to follow or subscribe to.
2. Commit To Trying New Things Regularly
Make it a point to try new ingredients or recipes at least once a month. This will help expand your list of possibilities. Try a new variety of beans, or an exotic fruit. Try a new vinegar or seasoning blend. Go to a restaurant and try a dish you haven't tried before. They won't all be to your liking but that's ok. You'll discover some new things that you'll love. I never thought that avocado toast seemed like it would be a big deal. Once I tried it I added it to the things I like to have for breakfast from time to time.
Action: On your next grocery shop put something you've never bought before in your cart!
3. Incorporate International Flavors
Get good at creating international flavors. Most international food is very flavorful. Once you learn what makes, for example, Indian food taste like Indian food you can take the same ingredients and give them an exciting new taste by changing up the seasoning. Your lentils can take on a whole new personality. You can make marinated veggies taste like Chinese food one day and Italian food the next.
Here is a video I made a while back to show Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Jamaican, North and West African, Middle Eastern and Italian spice combinations.
Action: Watch the video and choose one international combination to try.
4. Expand Your Spice Cabinet
Now that you have some understanding of International seasonings it's time to keep a well stocked spice cabinet. The secret to most recipes, whether vegan or not, is in the spices and seasonings. With a good collection you can take a simple pot of beans or a kale salad and create southern style one day, Asian another day, and North African yet another day. And knowing what makes chicken salad taste like chicken salad or what you can use to add a "seafood" flavor will allow you to take a can of chickpeas or some nut pate and turn it into a "chick'n or tuna" salad.
Action: Each time you shop include a new spice/seasoning or two (after all you are trying a new international recipe right?)
5. Use Fresh Herbs
I always try to have dry herbs on hand but fresh herbs pack a flavor punch. Learn about herbs and figure out which ones you like. If you can grow them in your garden or in a pot you can always have fresh on hand. Many herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage grow in most climates will continue to grow for years. Then you can even dry your own! Better flavor and less expensive. Or buy them from your local grocer.
Action: Look for one fresh herb when you shop. Try basil, parsley, or cilantro or something you've never tried before. As an added bonus buy and plant some seeds or seedlings.
6. Variations On a Theme
Now that your spice and herb collection is growing and you've added some other new ingredients to your shopping cart, try using new combinations on your usual recipes to create new variations. They may not all turn out good but you may just create a new masterpiece. If you always put spinach in your smoothies, try adding some fresh mint. Try adding a new salad green to your salads. What happens if you add three types of mushrooms to your pasta?
Action: Choose one of your old standby recipes and try switching up the ingredients. Look online for inspiration.
7. Create a menu plan
A menu plan can help you avoid monotony. By planning in advance the ways you want to add variety you'll be able to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand. You'll see where you boredom factors show up and can plan to put some more excitement and spice in your meals. In this post I share three steps for creating meal plans that fit your goals and your family. Menu planning is a big part of creating a sustainable plant-based diet and making long-lasting change. That's why I created the Menu Planning workshop. (See below for details.)
Action: Use what you've learned to create a menu plan for the next week that incorporates your old standby favorites as well as one or two new experiments.
So there you go. Seven tips for helping to expand what's on your plate and to keep the excitement in your meals. Eating healthy shouldn't mean being bored with your food.
Now I want to know what actions you're going to commit to doing to add some excitement to your meals. Post two actions you commit to taking this week and any insights you have in the comments below.