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Getting Over Your Cooking Slump

By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach

This last year has rejuvenated a love for our kitchens, which is evident with the viral sourdough craze, and the necessity of cooking at home more during the stay-at-home orders we walked through together. However, as things are opening back up, the cooking fatigue has set in, and the last thing we feel like doing is cooking three meals a day. Here are some ways to deal with cooking fatigue, so you can continue to make delicious and healthy meals at home.

1. Take a Break from Cooking

When you feel burnt out from work, you take a break. The same goes with cooking; when you feel fatigued from constant cooking, take a short break. Order some Doordash or take out from your favorite restaurant, or ask someone else in your home to cook for a week or two. Allow yourself to take a break, and come back inspired to cook and try some new recipes. Ordering from restaurants every once in a while will also help small businesses, which is especially important as we are all recovering from the last year. I can’t stress enough the importance of supporting your small, locally-owned eateries.

2. Prepare Ingredients, Not Meals

Instead of stressing yourself by cooking full meals, stick to preparing single ingredients. Batch cook some rice or quinoa, grill some vegetables, or air-fry or broil a fillet of fish. This way you’re not overwhelming yourself with putting an entire dish together, but you’ll have all the ingredients ready to go when you’re hungry. All you need to do is pair the staples with a quick salad or side dish. Then you can meal prep without needing to figure out exactly what meals you plan to eat for the entire week. As long as you have the ingredients batch cooked, you can quickly assemble a balanced meal.

3. Make Cooking a Family Event

Cooking by yourself can get boring, so invite the family to join. Give everyone a task, and make a fun event out of it. Not only will you get some extra helping hands, but the time will pass by much more quickly with a bit of fun, and some nice family time. Allow someone else to find a new recipe, teach the little ones some cooking skills, and play some fun music. If you live with roommates or a significant other, you can make more difficult recipes without worrying about hot stoves or sharp knives.

4. Change Up the Meals

Sometimes, it’s not the cooking itself that gives you fatigue, but rather the repetition of cooking and eating the same meals over and over again. If you’re feeling uninspired, order a meal delivery service that sends over all the ingredients and a recipe to try something new. You can also browse through cookbooks or websites to find something exciting. If you subscribe to a vegetable box delivery service, they will often provide an array of recipes on their website using the ingredients featured in that week’s box.

5. Invite Some Friends for Dinner

Find some new folks to cook for so that you’re feeling more inspired. It can get tough in the creative department if you’re cooking mostly for yourself. Invite some friends over for dinner and make it a themed dinner if you’re feeling creative, such as Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday. You can even decorate! If you can’t have friends over, schedule a virtual dinner date. You can even cook the meals together on Zoom. Just find a recipe you both love, and try making it together. Maybe you can send a friend your favorite recipe to make while they send you theirs, and you can taste test. Get creative and have fun with it!

If you find yourself in the cooking rut that so many are in right now, let yourself explore some new options, and get creative while keeping your health goals on your radar. You may find some new favorite dishes, or even create a new weekly social event for your life!

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