If you’re already motivated to flex your cooking muscles, you should bookmark this post for later when you’re not feeling as eager.
I’m a holistic nutritionist, and as a holistic nutritionist with the tagline wholeheartedly whole foods, it would stand to reason that I might want to encourage everyone, whether you think you’re a good cook, a bad cook, an inexperienced cook, a bored cook, a lazy cook, any kind of cook at all really, to get in the kitchen and cook—even when you don’t feel like it.
I really believe that it is through sharpening our cooking skills that we begin to develop better, healthier habits for ourselves consistently.
It’s not through restrictive dieting, packaged shakes or other convenience “health” products.
(By the way, if you really don’t want to cook—call me and I’ll be happy to cook something nutritious and delicious for you. There’s always room at my table for you!)
Unfortunately, sometimes we need to motivate ourselves to get cooking, so here are 6 tips to help you get back in the kitchen and you know—cook—even when you don’t feel like it.
1. Clean your fridge, top to bottom. I encourage you to do this every single week. It helps cut down on food waste by reminding you of the foods you already have and keeps all of your food organized, within reach, prepped (hopefully) and ready to go. It also reminds you which foods you really need to use up this week. Since a good part of my diet hangs out in the fridge, I can’t go more than a week without organizing/cleaning it. I recommend physically taking absolutely everything out of the fridge.
You’ll start with a blank slate and then you can decide what stays and what goes. Be ruthless. Don’t keep anything because it cost a lot if you know you won’t eat it and it may be (probably is) spoiled. Check every expiry date and toss anything that is expired, that looks like it might have expired or that looks like it’s been around since Christmas. Leave no spill or crumb un-cleaned.
When you put your still-fresh foods back in the fridge, group like items together (greens, fruit, salad vegetables, other vegetables, etc.). If you have a large quantity of a particular vegetable, and you know you won’t be able to eat it all before it spoils, make a plan to prep it for tonight’s dinner or freezing as soon as possible.
2. Clean your kitchen, top to bottom. Scrub it well. At the very least, if you don’t have time to wash all the dishes before you begin, at least pile them neatly in a corner and then scrub down every counter top. (I know how it is: I love to cook but I hate to clean). Your surfaces will be clean so you’ll have the space to start working. As you may be able to tell, I’m one of those people who can’t stand cooking in a messy kitchen. I need a lot of space, clean and clear surfaces, all dishes washed and put away. (Which is ironic because it always looks like a windstorm has hit after I’m done in the kitchen!)
3. Re-claim your counter space. A lot of random “stuff” tends to wind up in the kitchen and most people would be hard to motivate to cook in a small or cluttered kitchen. There’s not a heck of a lot you can do for a small kitchen besides de-clutter, so consider: is there any equipment like a coffee maker, a mixer or a dehydrator that is taking up valuable counter top real estate? If you don’t use it every day, consider moving it to a cupboard or another nearby room until you actually need it. This will free up space on your counter tops so you have more room to move about (aka have fun, enjoy the process and if you’re me, make a mess). So far we’ve learned that we need to put in some elbow grease so we don’t have to eat it (like at a fast food “restaurant”). Let’s carry on…
4. Treat yourself to a new kitchen tool or gadget that will have you excited to get back in the kitchen. A new knife or cutting board always works for me! Even a knife sharpener is a treat because there is nothing sweeter (or safer – we should all use sharp knives, which are safer than dull ones) than using a knife right after it’s been sharpened.
5. Shop your own pantry. I’m always amazed at the unexpected foods I find in my own pantry on a night I didn’t plan a meal in advance and I’m scrambling to cook something at the last-minute. A new type of “pasta”, a new grain like amaranth or Cavena Nuda, a new bean like my recently discovered black beluga lentils. Shop your pantry and you might be inspired to cook with whatever treasures you find!
6. Spend 10 minutes
drooling over thumbing through your favourite healthy cookbook. I don’t know about you, but looking at stunning photographs of food always motivates me to get back in the kitchen. Pick out one or two recipes to make. Even if you don’t have time to make them now, they will be on your mind later in the week or on the weekend when you do have time. And a bonus… Put on a pretty apron! Hey, it always works for me.
How do you motivate yourself to get cooking when it’s the last thing you feel like doing? Life is a plate… eat up!