Tips for Breaking Out of a Food Rut

I’m three weeks out from my first competition of the season/my first competition as a lightweight competitor. Three weeks out means my nutrition has to be really dialed in so that I can make weight (I will water cut some weight but I’d rather this be minimal). Dialed in diet + tiny bit more caloric restriction + holidays should be a very interesting combination. Add traveling for a week into the mix and things are sure to get a little weird.

Speaking of diet things, I won’t lie, I’m ready to BE DONE with this weight cut. I haven’t minded the process all that much and it really hasn't been insanely tough but it will be nice to have a small temporary break from constantly thinking about weigh ins and what I’m eating. Because I’ve been a little bored with my food lately, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to try some new recipes and make things a little more interesting. So here are my best tips for breaking out of the dreaded boring food rut:

 

1. Try new recipes: I will be the first to admit that I very rarely cook actual recipes - my style of making food is a little less involved usually because I'm short on time. However, whenever I get sick of my usual menu items, I turn to cook books for inspiration and new recipes. I like to look for recipes that use a common ingredient (like chicken or ground beef) in a different way or that has a completely different flavor profile.  Alternatively, I'll find a recipe that uses an ingredient that I don't commonly use and experiment with that.

Example, this Mongolian beef recipe from Real Life Paleo. I pretty much always have beef on hand and was getting tired of the same meals so this recipe was a great departure from the norm - it was fast, easy, and insanely delicious.

http://photos-e.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xaf1/10844251_1559522454284268_1138421041_n.jpg

 

 

2. Change up ONE meal: Changing up all of your meals at once is a little overwhelming so I like to change up just one meal at a time when I get bored. I’m normally not big on sweet breakfasts but lately I’ve been rotating sweeter influenced stuff into my morning repertoire. For example, my bro-tastic egg whites with oatmeal and peanut butter and pomegranate arils. I alternate between this and an omelette with sweet potatoes most mornings and it's enough variety to keep me from being bored.

http://photos-d.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xpf1/10809671_628244033964139_326430008_n.jpg

 

3. Try new ingredients: I'm very guilty of buying the same things over and over and over again so I make a conscious effort to buy a new and different ingredient every so often, just to keep things interesting. My newest obsession is this coconut butter which, to put it mildly, is LIFE CHANGING. Although I've had coconut butter before, it's not something I regularly buy, so purchasing this jar of deliciousness was a break from my normal litany of nut butters. Also - pumpkin spice doughnut flavor. BUY IT. Nuff said.

http://photos-d.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xfa1/10844171_1570501013161987_32740456_n.jpg

 

4.  Swap out your proteins: Most people buy the same proteins week after week because it's easy, convenient, and most of the time, it fits whatever dietary preferences/protocol we've got. Routine is nice but you can only eat so much chicken.  Changing up your protein source is one of the quickest ways to beat food boredom since protein tends to be the central component to any meal.

I’ve been getting a little bored with my usual lean protein selections (I’m looking at you chicken) and have been wanting to up my fish intake because I love fish and I prefer to get my fish oil from actual fish rather than supplements (plus fish oil supplements makes me bruise like a peach). Luckily, Sizzlefish sent me a giant pack of goodies that is sure to keep me stocked for awhile!  I made this super simple shrimp and pasta dish last night:

 

What are your best tips for getting out of a food rut?