The last piece in the puzzle to eating well is inspiration. I started this series of posts last week as part of National Nutrition Week and although the week is over, I hope that this post can serve as a starting point for inspiring and healthy meals into the future. If you’ve missed any of the other 4 essentials to eating well you’ll find links to each of the posts at the end of this one.
#5 – Inspiration
Unless you’re someone who is happy to eat the same thing day in and day out (I haven’t come across many people who are!), then you are going to need some inspiration to keep things interesting at the table. The good news is that inspiration is all around us, with the world wide web at your fingertips there is no shortage of food inspiration! Whether you’re looking for a recipe to follow word for word, or one to use as a guide for your own creativity, there are plenty of places to find your food muse. Just remember that not all of the recipes that you find will be healthy, so be prepared to make some swaps here and there to improve upon what you find.
Here are some ideas for finding more inspiration for your cooking:
- Cookbooks - Go old school and dust off your cookbooks or buy some new ones. As you can see from the photo above, my cookbook collection is well and truly alive and kicking. There is just something about flicking through real pages that will never be replaced entirely by words on a screen.
- Beg, borrow (& steal) - Get a hold of some cookbooks from friends, family or work colleagues – borrow them or ask people for any cookbooks they no longer need. While I don’t recommend physically stealing them, photocopy any recipes you like the look of, or steal inspiration from your friends favourite recipes. You could also borrow some cookbooks or food magazines from your local library.
- Share the inspiration - Ask friends to share their favourite healthy recipes and share yours with them in return.
- Twitter - One of the best things about National Nutrition Week this year has been the great photos that people have been sharing on social media to inspire others. Search #CookEatEnjoy on Twitter or Facebook to see some of the tasty looking dishes people have been serving up.
- Project Dinnertime - This website has some great foundation recipes that can form the basis for lots of different variations.
- Go for 2 & 5 - This site has some recipes to help boost your intake of vegetables (we need 5+ serves) and fruit (we need 2 serves) - try the main meals.
- Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) - The DAA website has a searchable recipes page with lots of healthier recipes to try.
- Taste website - There are heaps of recipes on here from some of the top selling food mags. The best part is they have some handy collections like these healthy recipes or these 15 minute meals. Sometimes when I am really stuck and need to find inspiration in the last 5 minutes before I leave work I just go to the Taste homepage and print out the ‘Recipe of the day’. Keep in mind that not all of the recipes on this site will be healthy ones, so be prepared to make some alterations as needed.
- Healthy Food Guide website - All of the recipes on this website (and in the magazine) are developed in consultation with dietitians, with a focus on nutrition AND taste. They also break them down into collections such as fish or budget friendly.
- Food magazines - My two favourites both have websites so you can look for recipes online (see above), but I also like to have subscriptions so that I get a bit of inspiration in my mailbox each month. It’s a good prompt to make a cup of tea and find some new recipes to add to my repertoire. I read Healthy Food Guide for healthy seasonal inspiration and Taste magazine to get a glimpse at current food fads and popular ingredients or cooking styles.
- Browse Pinterest - Be careful about searching for ‘healthy’ recipes on here as this tag is used in lots of ways (including by people with a less than balanced mindset about food. Try searching for the type of meal you are looking for instead, like ‘salad’ or ‘soup’. Check out my Pinterest boards for some inspiration, but keep in mind that I don’t just pin healthy recipes, I also pin some for special occasions, or with the intention to tweak them when I make them myself. Or follow the DAA boards for links to healthy recipes.
- Facebook recipe swap groups - There are plenty of recipe sharing groups on Facebook where people share new slow cooker recipes or just general recipes. Search recipe sharing on facebook to find some that appeal to you.
- Sign up to enewsletters or blog RSS feeds - To save your email inbox from getting clogged up, consider setting up a separate email for all of your food related mailing lists to go to, or set up these emails to automatically go to a set folder in your current email. This way they are all in one spot when you are planning your meals for the week, but not in your face every time you open your email.
- Industry websites - If you’re trying to increase your dairy intake to boost your calcium, try the Dairy Australia website for recipes. Looking for legumes? Try the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council website. Or visit the Meat & Livestock Australia website for ways to get creative with your meat. There’s an association for most types of food, or even products, so if you’ve got a can of evaporated milk you want to use up, try the Carnation website to get your creativity flowing.
I hope there’s been something new for everyone in that list! Have I missed anything? Where do you like to get your food inspiration from? Share your ideas with everyone in the comments below!