Do you have a new year’s resolution that’s centered around the dinner table? Whether it’s healthier eating, weight loss, or just something new, consider starting your own new recipe night to help make it happen. New recipe night was life changing for the two of us. I’m not going to pretend it was an easy habit to get into, but it changed our outlook on food, nutrition, and health, and helped us slim down for our wedding (90 lbs lost between the two of us!) We did stumble along the way and sometimes still do, but I want to share some of our best tips for success for anyone who wants to try and establish their own new recipe night.
1. Set a goal
Is your goal to try new veggies? New healthier desserts? Take control of your blood sugar, cholesterol, or weight? Or do you just want to try new foods to keep dinner from getting boring? Our goal was to try healthy recipes. Your goal and reasoning is important because it will provide you with guidelines for the types of recipes to look for. Trust us, when you’re lacking inspiration and searching through the zillions of recipes on pinterest or google it helps to have some key words or ideas in mind of what you’re actually looking for. Our goal helped us discover kale and quinoa and lentils to name a few things.
2. Start a pinterest board or bookmark folder.
When you have time to search for recipes you’re likely going to find either too many or none at all. It’s often feast or famine. If you bookmark or pin things as you find them you will always have a few new recipes in your arsenal to try another day. This is especially great when you forget about new recipe night until the last minute, which will happen occasionally. Save time and head right to the grocery store. Pull up a recipe that you’ve already saved and you have an instant grocery list, no planning required.
3. Pick a day that works for you.
We started with a Saturday so we would have the day off to plan and shop and cook and not feel like it was a chore. We moved it to Mondays and then Thursdays over the years so that it would fit better with our changing schedules.
4. Make weekly meal plans in advance.
Even if you don’t have a new recipe selected, you will know what date you are having it. Meal plans will also help make sure you don’t have any leftovers on nights that you’re supposed to be making something new. New recipe nights are not about making more work for yourself or letting food go to waste. Plus meal plans save you money!
5. Decide who is doing the shopping and what days.
You know your schedules, there are days when you have time to shop and days when you just don’t. Plan shopping trips ahead of time and you’ll never find yourself staring into an empty fridge with pizza only a few clicks away.
6. Make smaller shopping trips, more often.
You’ll have fresher produce, less waste, and shopping won’t seem like such a chore if you cut down on the huge trips. It will make grocery shipping part of your routine instead of a time consuming excursion to save for the weekend. Added bonus: if you are only buying a few things you can probably carry them all, get some exercise and walk to the store and back! Pro tip: backpacks are the way to go for this. Keep a few reusable bags in your backpack for bigger trips.
7. Skip the cart.
Cut down on impulse items by opting for a basket instead of a cart. I have found myself putting items back that I don’t really need (and shouldn’t have picked up in the first place) because my basket gets heavy! A basket will help you stick to your list! And while we are on the subject…
8. Make a list!
So important! Especially with new recipes, you don’t know what you need off by heart. You won’t forget anything and have to skip your new recipe night if you shop with a list.
9. Be prepared for a few failures.
Know that not every new recipe will be a success. You won’t like every new thing that you try. Not every recipe will turn out. And sometimes things will come up and you’ll have to skip new recipe night. Put it behind you, move on, laugh about your revolting recipes, and try again next week.
10. Be Proud!
Share your successes with your friends and family. Take pictures of your food. Start a recipe book or folder. High five your better half. Give yourself a sticker. Whatever you can do to validate your hard work and consistent effort, do it. It will keep you motivated and let’s face it, you deserve it!