Some days I can’t wait to get into the kitchen to whip up a meal. Other days I can’t reach for the phone fast enough to order a pizza. I also seem to have streaks where it’s very difficult to find the motivation to plan and cook meals for my family. We all suffer because on those nights the meals tend to be quick, unhealthy meals. Here are some tips to push through those times when you don’t want to go anywhere near the kitchen.
Plan It Out
I’ve found the best way to keep myself motivated is by meal planning. You can go a week at a time, but I find a monthly planning session is better for me. That way if I hit a streak where I don’t want to cook, the planning is already done for me. All I have to do is keep pushing through the menu until cooking becomes fun again.
Switch It Up
Are you in a food rut? We all have our go-to meals that we cook week after week. You know your family likes them, and you could cook them in your sleep. But that also gets boring — both to eat and to prepare. Aim to try at least one new meal every week. I have a Pinterest board with hundreds of recipes I want to try. A lot of them don’t turn out to be favorites and never make the regular rotation. But others have become family favorites that make regular appearances on the menu. The change from the norm can get you excited to get into the kitchen, so don’t be afraid to try new recipes.
Ask for Help
Dinner usually looks like this: the kids are playing, my husband is sitting in his chair and I’m alone in the kitchen. Meal prep isn’t just one person’s responsibility. Get the whole family involved in meal prep. Kids often enjoy cooking and getting the table ready for meals.
Another idea is to have each family member take a night. That person plans and prepares the meal for that night. Kids will need help with cutting and cooking, but getting to plan and do most of the work gives them some ownership in the kitchen.
Some nights you just won’t have the motivation, and that’s perfectly fine. But if you want to avoid the expensive and lack of health value in take-out, have some backups on hand. Freezer meals are a great way to do this. Make large batches of some of your favorite meals and freeze them. When you don’t have the urge to cook, you can simple heat up the freezer meals.
Keep the ingredients for quick meals on hand, too. For example, make quick pita pizzas with whole wheat pitas as the crust. Top with lots of veggies that you already have on hand and a sprinkling of cheese and you have dinner.