We’re racing through January, already at the halfway point. Many of our New Year’s resolutions around food will have started to hit hurdles or have fallen by the wayside. Why? Because change can be hard. Because January is dark and damp and can be a bit miserable. Or maybe because we were really ambitious and tried to change everything at once. That’s where the idea of one new thing comes in.
One new thing is exactly what it sounds like. Every week you introduce one new thing to your diet. This could be an item of food that is completely new to you or it could be trying a new recipe. Let’s look at how most of us eat. We tend to be creatures of habit. We reach for the same things in the supermarket every week. We cook the things that are familiar to us – probably those we don’t even need a recipe for. This fits with our busy lifestyles and it saves on thinking time. I’m going to share a little story about me. Maybe you can relate.
First up some background. I’m a pretty experimental cook. I love to try new recipes and new ingredients. I also have a hectic schedule. I have my nutrition business providing one to one support and group sessions, I lecture on a nutrition degree course and I work in service transformation for the NHS. Busy. And that’s without the things I do in my free time. So, on to the story…….
A little while ago I decided to subscribe to a veg box scheme. You know the ones. You sign up for the size veg box you think you want and once a week fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and veg get delivered to your doorstep. Just think of the possibilities to experiment. It’s bound to encourage you to eat a variety of meals. To try new things. Right? WRONG.
My veg box was delivered every Monday. I didn’t have a choice in that, it was when the delivery service was in my area. So my veg box arrived right at the start of my working week. Right when I had plenty of tasty leftovers from my weekend. Right when Glutenfree Man was away for three nights with work.
Once my leftovers had ran out I would reach into my veg box and pick out all of the vegetables that were familiar to me and whip up a quick, easy, familiar tea. The woody, stick-like salsify that I had no clue about would lurk in the corner of the box for another day. Except often that day never came because by the time I had the time and enthusiasm to experiment my unfamiliar veg were looking decidedly less fresh.
Needless to say I cancelled the veg box.
I do experiment with new fruit and vegetables. I’m a sucker for an impulse buy when I see something unfamiliar in my local fruit and veg shop. But I don’t overload myself with unfamiliar produce and I shop when I know I have the time and enthusiasm to experiment. The moral of this story? We are creatures of habit and if we are tired or busy then we gravitate towards those habits even more. That’s great but when it comes to healthy eating variety is where it’s at.
Trying one new thing a week helps us get that variety without making it unmanageable. If you try one new recipe a week that’s 52 new meals in your repertoire by the end of the year. OK, you may not like all of them, you may not manage it every week but even if you have a 50% success rate that’s 26 new meals. How many different meals are you eating now? How often do you feel like you are in a bit of a food rut?
Cooking one new thing a week makes it easy to develop a new habit. You can choose the day and time to suit yourself. Maybe a Saturday is a good day for experimenting? Maybe you want to try a quick and easy recipe every Tuesday to get a greater variety of easy midweek meals. Picking a specific day and meal can help the habit stick.
If you want some support on this one I’m running a challenge in my Facebook group this week. Sign up and join in. I can share my ideas on what to try and you can share with the group how you’re getting on. It’s totally free and you can sign up here.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.