Do you want to cook more of your own meals and eat out less? Have you found yourself in a dinner-time rut cycling through the same five dishes over and over and over?

Don’t worry! While the kitchen can be a daunting place, with a few simple hints and tricks, you can be mastering bold new flavors and healthy dinner ideas in no time. Check out this quick guide for falling in love with mealtime again.

Plan a Menu

Are you tired of throwing out leftovers you never got around to eating or even fresh food that spoiled before you got a chance to cook it? Menu planning can help you waste less and even eat healthier too.

Use the end of the weekend to plan out what you are going to eat each day. Discuss your choices with your partner or family, and shop only for the ingredients for those meals – plus other staples like bread, eggs and milk.

Use apps like eMeals or Cozi Family Organizer to create and share your weekly menu on your digital devices, or simply jot it down on a dry erase board you keep on the fridge.

Planning a menu helps you to purposefully add variety to your weekly dishes and quit relying on the same old staples you’ve gotten tired of.

You can also incorporate more healthy ingredients when you plan ahead and shop accordingly, i.e. plan for veggie enchiladas earlier in the week so you can get ripe avocados and eat them before they go bad.

Get Inspired

Perusing 300+ pasta salad menus on Pinterest can be a little overwhelming, so find more straightforward food-spiration through cookbooks or online food blogs.

If there is a website or blogger whose recipes you use frequently, sign up for their e-newsletter to get recipe and meal ideas sent straight to your inbox.

More and more plant-based blogs and cookbooks are popping up these days. All of this variety makes it easier than ever to find whole food recipes that help you get healthy portions of veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, lean proteins, you name it.

They also offer a wider variety of food-sensitive alternatives for people who are gluten-free, meat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and so on. Popular resources for plant-based meal inspiration include Minimalist Baker, Oh She Glows, Cookie + Kate and Sweet Potato Soul.

Adaptive Eating Equipment

For seniors with medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson’s, adaptive eating equipment can simplify mealtime by making it easier, more efficient and less messy to eat meals on your own.

Spoons that counteract the effect of tremors, utensils with wider handles for easier gripping, and knives with saw handles offer people with limited hand use more opportunity to cook and feed themselves.

On the flipside, if you are a caregiver for an aging parent, adaptive utensils and flatware – like high-rimmed scooper plates and bowls – can help you better care for your loved one. In turn, this offers them more independence while you have less messes to clean up.

Order Groceries

Short on time or lacking transportation to get to the grocery store? Don’t fret. In the 21st century, there are loads of ways for you to get the healthy groceries you need delivered straight to your door the same day.

Paid services like Instacart and PeaPod let you order groceries online from local participating stores (they vary depending on your location). A real person then goes shopping instead of you and delivers the items you selected right to your door.

Other services like Amazon Prime Now and Shipt also deliver groceries as well as other household items.

Make It a Date

Turn mealtime into a date with your spouse, partner or friend. Cook for them, order in, or head out to try the hottest new restaurant in town.

Food has always been a great way to bring people together, and eating a meal with company is a surefire way to help you break out of your humdrum dinner rut.

If you are ordering in, forget sorting through takeout menus or falling back on pizza. Instead, check out online services like GrubHub or UberEats for perusing healthier menus of nearby restaurants and ordering your favorite dishes.

If going out, check out apps like Yelp or Zomato to search for nearby restaurants that fit your tastes as well as view menus, prices, reviews, and more.

Do you plan a menu for your family each week? What are your favorite sources for mealtime inspiration? Please share them in the comments below.

Jessica HeggJessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her writing, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others. You can find her on Twitter @Jessica_Hegg.

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