Food experiences? Yeah! You are all for it! But sometimes we thwart our efforts by omitting critical factors in the food process. Let’s take a look at five food experience mistakes that can take you from sizzle to fizzle.
1. Not putting any thought into what or how you eat (personal introspection).
Sometimes we as a people get into a rut. We get caught up in responsibilities at home, at work, at community activities, or other things that clamor for our attention. We don’t always pay attention to what or how we eat. Sometimes we are so focused elsewhere (earning a living, supporting a family, caring for family members), that food is just something to get through. It’s just like sleep and fresh air – it just happens, right?
Instead, if you take time to examine your own cooking and eating habits (what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, food allergies, etc.), you can make needed adjustments to improve your health and decrease any allergic reactions to food.
2. Not doing your research about foods (fear of the word research).
Most people do not consider themselves researchers. We sometimes think of researchers as people with thick glasses, lab coats, and clipboards.
In the age of technology that we have today, the search for and access to information could never be easier. We have access via the web to a variety of sources, including
· Blogs (including this one) 🙂
· Other studies that analyze different foods and food components
All of these are accessible from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other electronic device. Research can be as easy as reading an article about the benefits of a certain food product. It can be as easy as typing a question into a search engine (a health concern, what foods contain certain vitamins, etc.).
Those small pieces still constitute research. Research is simply gathering information and using that information to formulate conclusions. That understanding makes your life easier, and it helps you obtain the information you need to make good food choices and to create positive food experiences.
3. Not getting input from friends and family on food experiences.
By nature, humans are generally a communicative people. We are always talking with friends, family members, business associates, or others with whom we come in contact. Food often becomes a topic as we discuss the events of the day. Maybe your best friend starts talking to you about a great recipe she made for her family, what their reactions were to the meal, how the food was made, and what she learned from that experience.
All of that is fuel and information for you as well as your friend, to learn from her experiences. You may not feel the need to recreate that exact dish, but you can understand the process of what she went through and how she felt about it. That understanding can give you the confidence you need to try different dishes or cooking techniques. Obtaining thoughts, feelings, experiences, and ideas from others helps you to make informative decisions. Sometimes you can even avoid the mistakes of others.
4. Making convenience foods too convenient.
It’s so easy to just pick up a prepared food on your way to work, school, or other activities. Many fast food restaurants and grocery stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve your need for a quick bite. If you’re stopping at the gas station for gasoline, why not pick up a few prepared grocery items, right? Too many times we rely on those foods, though.
It gets to a point where we fill our lives with so much busyness that food takes a back seat in our lives, and we default to the convenience foods. It’s very easy, and sometimes not too expensive, to just pick up a sandwich or any number of the wide array of prepared meals (the components of a turkey dinner, a salad, etc.). When we do that, we are basically letting someone else decide our food experience. We are saying, “I don’t want to think about it right now. I’m just going with the convenience food. It’s easier. It’s faster.”
Instead, when we do think about those things, we are creating our own positive food experience and we are able to see food in a positive light – not just something we need to get through the day, but something vital to our health and well-being.
5. Burning yourself out in the quest for positive food experiences.
Don’t burn yourself out trying to create a positive food experience. Yes, make the effort, but don’t sweat the small stuff. We often place so much pressure on ourselves, that we unintentionally hinder our own efforts. When we do this, we may likely end up with kitchen disasters, hungry family members, and overall disappointment with the whole endeavor.
Some days you may not have a positive food experience, and that’s perfectly okay.
Positive food experiences are the ideal, but often factors within the six principles of positive food experiences arise where it’s just not a realistic expectation for that particular day or situation. Often, positive food experiences happen spontaneously as factors come together, you are doing the right things, etc. But you need not force or meticulously orchestrate that experience. Don’t be too hard on yourself if something you hoped would be a positive food experience does not turn out as such.
When we focus on food, do our research, obtain input from others, limit convenience foods, and cut ourselves some slack, we will be happier, less frustrated, and feel less pressure. We will be more apt to recognize when positive food experiences do occur, and we can capture that information and use it accordingly.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What are some other food experience blunders that people often make? What do you do to put sizzle in your food experiences?