I think it’s a great question that we might need to stop for a second and ask ourselves.
How many recipes do we actually need?
At which point do you turn around and say okay now I have enough variety in my diet. Now I have enough options to make all kinds of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothies and snacks?
It will vary person to person of course. Some people love to cook and it’s a sense of enjoyment for them and a hobby.
But this question isn’t for them.
This question is for the people who just want some healthy recipes to make that they enjoy eating, that will allow them to live a healthier lifestyle and achieve their goals.
I ask myself questions like this when I see people doing certain actions that they believe will get them closer to their goals but actually, have no impact at all.
And the action that I keep seeing people doing without having a much positive effect is buying more and more recipe books or constantly searching for more recipes.
Don’t worry I get it. You’re not going to like every recipe in each cook book, that’s why each one has around 100 recipes in. But let’s say you’re a picky eater, I’m sure you’ll still be able to find 10-20 recipes you might like right?
But still, that doesn’t answer our question, how many recipes do you actually need?
After speaking to clients over the years what I’ve found interesting is that when we eat how we define as ‘normal’ we don’t see needing choice in our diet as that big a deal. Even if its foods we don’t massively enjoy. The food diaries I’ve seen normally consist of the same foods over and over again. Normally 1-2 different breakfasts, 2-3 different lunches, the same kind of snacks and around 7 different dinners.
The food diaries I’ve seen normally consist of the same foods over and over again. Normally 1-2 different breakfasts, 2-3 different lunches, the same kind of snacks and around 7 different dinners.
Although when it comes to eating how we define as ‘healthy’ suddenly there is a much larger desire to need a bigger range of meals. What might have been just 10-15 different recipes we needed now seems to of increased to the infinite number of ‘more.’
Not 20 or 30, but just more. There never seems to be enough variety. 1 or 2 breakfasts aren’t needed, even 1 for every morning of the week might not be enough.
What is is that triggers this change I’m not sure? Whether it’s a cultural habit we’ve incorporated or just something that’s been pounded into us through advertising. I don’t know why it’s there all I can say is it’s definitely there!
I used to suffer from the problem as much as the next person so I’ll share with you a super simple and logical way I’ve used to help myself and my clients.
1. Write a weekly food diary
Before changing your habits, write down all of your eating habits over the course of one week. If you want a printable template you can download my weekly food diary here.
2. Review your food diary
Go through your completed food diary and write down a list of how many different meals you made or bought for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and smoothies. You should end of with a list something like this:
3. Work out how much variety you want.
Use the numbers you got for step 2 for each meal time and think of/find that amount of healthy meal options you want to keep that level of variety in your life.
If you want to have a little more options then just add on 1-2 more recipes per meal time.
Struggling to find enough recipes: Really have a think, if you can’t come up with enough ideas have a look through any recipe books you may already have, check Instagram for ideas (including mine!), Pinterest has hundreds of thousands of recipes, Google some, and if you’re still struggling then purchase a recipe book!
4. Write out a new weekly meal plan
With all your recipes, fill out a new weekly food diary with the structure of meals you’d like to make to give you a daily set of meals to eat with the same variety of meals you had before.
It will also make your weekly shopping list a hell of a lot easier and you can just refer to this food planner for all of the ingredients.
5. Keep it in sight
You know the old saying, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ It’s 100% true. You want to be reminded of your food planner on a daily basis so keep it somewhere you’ll always see. Whether that’s on your fridge, on your desk, next to your make-up mirror or wherever!
If you pop it in a draw or promise to remember to look at it on your book shelf that’s too complicated and too easy to forgot. Make it unmissable.
6. Stay flexible.
Use the weekly meal planner as a simple guide to stick to. It doesn’t need to be a super strict lifestyle but rather a gentle reminder that you already have everything you need and that you don’t need more recipes to live a healthy lifestyle!
7. Adjust when you need to
We never get things perfect the right time and this isn’t going to be an exception. You might find you want to change a few recipes every now and then and that’s fine.
You’ll find your weekly food planner will evolve over the months and years. That’s to be expected as you get tired of old recipes and want to replace them with new ones.
But what this process does is help you have a process in place and to be aware of how many recipes you actually need instead of endlessly searching for more recipes for the pure sake of doing so.
Hopefully, by following that simple 7 step process you should now be able to answer the question: How many recipes do you need!?
For me, it’s 18.
What about you?