How to Decide What to Eat When You Don't Know What You Want

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It’s a pickle that everyone’s been in at some point.

You open the fridge and start taking stock of what’s inside. You eye the condiments on the shelves, then ask yourself why – ketchup isn’t a snack – before moving on to examine the produce drawer. All you’ve got in there are a few old carrots and a questionable red delicious apple. No bueno.

After looking through drawers and not seeing anything that piques your interest, you check the freezer. Just ice cubes and a few popsicles. Not exactly what you’re looking for. On to the pantry, where you find an eclectic blend of ingredients that don’t seem to fit together – a box of pasta, a few cans of beans, maybe some nuts. No luck there.

There doesn’t seem to be anything in the pantry, fridge, or freezer, so you buckle down and head to the store – but you’re feeling indecisive. What do you get? 

Luckily, we’ve got an answer for you. At Jow, we’re pros at helping the pickiest, most indecisive eaters find meals they love. In this post, we’ll walk you through all the steps you’ll need to take to decide what to eat… when you have absolutely no idea what you want.

Let’s get started!

The Key Questions to Ask Yourself

When your stomach is grumbling, but you’re not sure what you’re hungry for, there’s a tried-and-true path to follow to get the answers that you need. Let’s start with the basics: 

Let’s unpack each of these questions and break down the different routes you can take to get exactly what you’re looking for. 

Hot or Cold?

Cravings are tricky little beasts. Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to determine what your stomach is asking you to give it. However, one of the easiest criteria to narrow down when you’re not sure what you want to eat is the temperature of your meal. Do you want something hot, cold, or somewhere in between?

Paying attention to your cravings for food of certain temperatures can make a big difference in how satisfied you feel after a meal. Everyone’s appetite points them in unique directions – for some, cravings typically indicate the need for a cool, refreshing snack like an apple or some carrot sticks. For others, nothing sounds tastier than a grilled panini or a piping-hot bowl of oatmeal. 

In addition, the temperature that you want your food to be often depends on the time of day. For some, a hot breakfast is the perfect start to your morning. For others, some refreshing fruit and yogurt is a much better option. Likewise, some might choose a crisp salad for lunch over a warmed-up plate of leftovers from last night’s dinner. 

The bottom line? Go with your gut. If you tend to love a hot breakfast, find something warm and nourishing to eat in the AM! If you like a cooler meal for lunch, opt for a tossed salad, a cold sandwich, or something similar. You can’t go wrong with what you like!

To Cook or Not to Cook?

It might be a bit embarrassing to admit, but the amount of time and effort that a specific meal takes to prepare is often enough to make you ignore your cravings for it. And let’s face it – no one wants to cook all the time, even if you really enjoy it. Sometimes, you just want to pick up a ready-made meal, sit down, enjoy it, and then move on with your day.

Cooking can be relaxing and therapeutic for some and less so for others. However, we at Jow believe that anyone can fall in love with cooking – even if you’re not… culinarily inclined. All it takes is finding the style of cooking that works for you.

The pleasure and fulfillment that so many chefs find in cooking is something that we believe anyone can experience. So, of course, we hope you choose to cook your own food at least as often as you pick up pre-made meals to enjoy. We’ll never boss you around or tell you how to eat, but we think you’ll love cooking if you give it a chance.

The bottom line here? It’s ok to not feel like cooking sometimes. But if you give it a chance, you’re bound to fall in love with making your own food!

Sweet or Salty?

While it can be tough to gauge where your cravings are leading you, it’s often easy enough to figure out whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or a need for something saltier. While the majority of foods that you’ll eat in a day don’t fit in the dessert category – unless you’re training for a pie-eating contest – you can still find other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

If you need something sweet but aren’t ready for dessert, we have a great plan B for you – fruit! It’s juicy, delicious, and full of nutrients. Fruits like berries, bananas, apples, and more are packed with antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and other good stuff that your body needs plenty of to function at its best. 

What if you’re looking for something salty to snack on? We recommend nuts. They’re super filling, even if you eat just a handful, and they pack a major nutrient punch. Just a quarter cup of nuts can get you a solid amount of protein, healthy fats, and more. Whether it’s cashews, almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, or some other nut, you can’t go wrong.

Am I Craving Food from a Certain Culture?

One of the joys of eating is sampling cuisines from around the world. There are delicious dishes to enjoy from virtually every continent, and it’s always an adventure to try something new! Are you looking for Pasta Alla Vodka to take you to Italy? Or do you want to take a trip to Morocco with this salmon

Eating food from a culture other than your own is a great way to break out of a rut. When you’re feeling indecisive about what to eat, it’s often a sign that you’re feeling a bit blah about your recent meals. To spice things up a bit, try some food from another part of the world!

Do I Want Something New or Something Familiar?

While eating the same meals over and over again can make you feel a little bored, there’s also something comforting about the familiar. Humans are creatures of habit, and we love our little routines and rituals. However, mixing it up with new and unfamiliar dishes can quickly make you feel a little more excited about your meals!

Of course, not everybody is crazy about changing up their eating plan. Picky eaters, we see you, and we respect you guys – you know what you like, and you stick with it! However, we think everyone can benefit from trying a new meal from time to time. Even if that just means changing a few of the ingredients that you use in your staples, a little bit of change never did anyone any harm.

How Jow Can Help You Find the Right Meal for You

If you constantly find yourself unsure of what to make for dinner, Jow is here to save the day. 

What is Jow? We’re glad you asked. It’s a super-smart personal grocery shopper that takes the burden of choosing what to eat off your shoulders. We use a few simple pieces of information to create a personalized menu for you and your household – then all you have to do is cook and enjoy! 

We build your personal menu with the following info: 

And the best part about Jow? It’s free! Plus, if you don’t like the meals we pick out for you, you can select an alternative from tons of options.

In addition to your custom-made grocery list, we’ve got an abundance of recipes to choose from on our Cooking page. All of our recipes provide you with a detailed instructions list, as well as the exact amounts of all of the necessary ingredients. You’ll also get plenty of nutritional information in case you need it!

Bon Appétit

Feeling hungry? 

If you need something to make for dinner tonight, we’ve got you covered. Click here to get started with Jow. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a complete grocery list. You’ll be feeling inspired to get in the kitchen and start cooking in no time!