3 Simple Tips to Make Your Meals More Exciting and Less Repetitive

Updated: May 26

I've always been a picky eater. I don't have a big appetite so it's important for me to seek variety in what I eat. Eating the same food in a row is a No-No for me. So I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and learning new ways to increase variety of what I eat and make eating more exciting.


I have summarized 3 tips to not only ensure variety in your cooking, but will also help to improve the taste of your food!


💡 1. Cook Various Combinations of Ingredients Using a Variety of Methods


This way, you'll have a limitless variety of foods to prepare, allowing you to try something new at each meal.


Variety of Ingredients

Make sure to always have at least 2-3 ingredients in each of the following categories in your fridge at all times.

  1. Meat & Seafood

  2. Eggs

  3. Vegetables

  4. Tomatoes

  5. Mushrooms

  6. Roots, melons

  7. Spices

  8. Beans, tofu


Variety of Methods of Cooking

Learn about the different ways of cooking:

  • Salad

  • Boil

  • Stir-fry

  • Fry

  • Steam

  • Bake

For example, here are four ways to cook eggs:

  • (Boil & Salad) Boil eggs and slice into little pieces, add flavorings (salt, vinegar, minced garlic) and toss together

  • (Stir-fry) Scrambled Eggs: Beat eggs and stir fry them until cooked, seasoning with oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauce to taste. You can also stir fry eggs with other ingredients such as tomatoes and veggies.

  • (Fry) Sunny-Side-Up-Eggs: Crack the egg into the pot with the oil. Fry for one minute on high heat, then reduce to low heat to simmer with lid on for few more minutes until it's cooked to your preference. If properly cooked, your egg will end up with a crispy bottom, with its sunny-side up in a picture perfect shape!

  • (Steam) Steamed Eggs: Beat eggs and place them into a bowl. hen, wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and poke three holes in it. Place it in the steamer until it is done. Flavor with sky sauce, pickled vegetables, minced onions and sesame oil to taste.


Exercise: Think of other ingredients you like to cook with and come up with as many different methods of cooking them as you can.


💡 2. Get Inspired By Cuisines from All Over the World


Whenever you run out of ideas of what to cook, step out of your comfort zone and look for new recipes from other cultures. I have listed below some of my favorite types of cuisines and dishes to cook.


Cooking is a creative endeavor. I like to experiment with different combinations of the ingredients depending on what I'm in the mood to make that day. So I only list the commonly used ingredients and not recipes for some of the dishes.


Chinese


Porridge

  • Base(s): white rice, black rice, mung beans, hulled millets, cornmeal

  • Addition(s): sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, dried dates, Chinese pumpkin, goji berries


Noodle soups

  • Noodle: variety of noodles of your choosing

  • Protein: roasted chicken, tofu, fried eggs, boiled eggs

  • Vegetables: variety of mushrooms, bok-choy, spinach, tomatoes

  • Flavoring: soy sauce, miso soup base, any leftover bases from instant noodles


Japanese


Miso soups

  • Miso base: any miso base to your liking

  • Proteins: tofu, dried shrimp

  • Additions: kelp, tomatoes + mushrooms, bonito flakes


Rice bowls

  • Rice: white rice, brown rice, black rice

  • Proteins: mackerel, salmon


Italian


Pizzas

  • Proteins: chicken, prosciutto, ham

  • Veggies: pineapple, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions


Hungarian


Palacsinta (Hungarian Crepes)

  • Crepe: eggs, flour, milk, sugar, carbonated water, butter

  • Filling/Additional ingredients: nutella, jam, chocolate powder/syrup, fruits


Gulyas (Hungarian beef stew)

  • Protein: Beef for Stew

  • Spices: paprika powder, onions

  • Additional ingredients: Potatoes, carrots, gnocchi


💡 3. Unami -- The Soul of Tasty Meals


Lastly, the secret to making tasty food is to make sure to add ingredients with unami flavors (check out What is umami? 5 facts about umami). Specifically, make sure to include at least 2-3 unami ingredients to each meal.


Here are some unami ingredients to be aware of:

  • Spices: e.g. miso, fish sauce, fermented bean curd

  • Dried goods: e.g. shrimp, mushrooms, kelp, seaweed

  • Fermented goods: e.g. aged cheese, kimchi, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut

  • Processed meat: e.g. sausages

  • Oily seafood: sardine, roe, anchovies

  • Others: tomatoes


Now that you've learned three ways to spice up your meals, try one out the next time you cook!


 

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