As the old adage goes, some people eat to live while others live to eat. If you find yourself not enjoying your meals as much as you would like to, it may be time to spice up your routine in the kitchen and expand your culinary horizons. While it can be intimidating to try something new, your taste buds and stomach might just thank you.
1. Learn Your Seasonings
One of the most important parts when it comes to cooking is how you season what you’re eating. If you’re making a protein like chicken or steak, what you put on it and for how long can make a huge difference. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the taste of different seasonings and what you personally enjoy the most. While there are suggested pairings and recipes all over the internet, cooking for yourself means there are no real rules for what can or cannot be paired up. Everyone has their own preferences, and once you know yours it can eliminate a lot of time you spend guessing what might be good together.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Eating is not enjoyable if your digestive tract is not on board. Many people that deal with digestive issues turn to the healing of their gut as the first step in improving their ability to enjoy a meal. An often-cited way to improve gut health is to eat fermented foods. These foods contain probiotics that are thought to increase the number of good bacteria in the digestive tract, helping break down a variety of foods. Some examples of fermented foods and beverages include the following:
- Sourdough bread
3. Use Quality Ingredients
The quality of the ingredients you use has a lot to do with how the food will taste. While buying high-dollar items is not always accessible to everyone, there are ways to find finer ingredients without breaking the bank. Growing your own herbs, veggies, and fruits helps you to know where your food has come from and what has gone into the process, keeping it clean of harmful pesticides that are often found in mass-produced, store-bought items. If growing your own food doesn’t interest you, foraging or picking your own at a local farm is another option. Many farmers will give you a fair price that is comparable to supermarket prices, and you have the added benefit of supporting a local business and knowing your farmer.
4. Take Your Time
When you’re starving, it can be tempting to scarf down your food as soon as it’s ready; however, taking your time can make the whole meal much more enjoyable. According to Harvard Health, eating more slowly can also make the food easier for your body to digest, as your brain has more time to signal to your body that it is full. There also may be layers of flavors that you are not able to taste if you are swallowing as soon as you’ve chewed a few bites. Learning how to slow down and follow your hunger cues establishes a healthy relationship with food and helps you to appreciate each bite as you move throughout your meal.
5. Try New Things
If you’re feeling uninspired by what you’re eating, try mixing things up. Branching out into different cuisines can be a great way to expand your palette and make the world of food feel exciting again. Before you try cooking something you’ve never heard of, sample some dishes from diverse local restaurants that interest you. Once you establish what dishes you enjoyed, you can begin to research how to make them and incorporate them into your own at-home cooking. Shopping at small markets geared toward those cuisines can also help you find the ingredients you need.
Mealtimes can be exciting when you are willing to put in the effort. From educating yourself on seasonings to trying new cuisines, there are many small ways to improve your dinnertime.