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Love to Eat, Hate to Cook? Spice Things Up In 9 Easy Steps

Love to Eat, Hate to Cook? Spice Things Up In 9 Easy Steps

If you hate to cook, you’re not alone: in 2012, over 700,000 tweets involved the terms love to eat and/or hate to cook. I was one of those tweeters on more than one occasion (way more than one). So what’s the deal? Why does cooking make so many of us utterly miserable?

When asked to choose her biggest pet peeve about cooking, Stefanie Shuman, 29, a PR Manager in New York City, struggles to pick just one. “I’d say the issue’s time,” she says, “But on weekends when I could carve out an hour to prep/cook, it’s the last thing I want to do.”

You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

When I was younger, I thought I’d never find anything I despise more than cleaning… until I moved into my first apartment, looked at the kitchen and thought to myself, “What the expletive am I supposed to do in here?!” I know I need to suck it up and build healthier eating habits – admit it, you do too. Lucky for you, I hunted down a group of fabulous health experts to throw us a frickin’ bone here.

“There’s a strong notion that cooking means dirtying multiple pots and leaving the kitchen a mess,” explains Cathy Leman, Registered & Licensed Dietitian and Personal Trainer in Glen Ellyn, IL, “When actually, the process can be dramatically simplified.”

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Here are 9 simple steps you can use to turn up the heat (and turn down the drama) in your kitchen:

1. Let Go of Misconceptions

I’m not going to lie – when I think about having to cook, Psycho Strings starts playing in the background. But like Cathy mentioned, cooking has the potential to become what you want it to be.

Do your absolute best to set aside the fact that you hate to cook, and let go of the feeling that cooking is a messy time-suck and kitchen assassinator.

Imagine the cooking experiences you’d prefer having, and start making plans to create them.

2. Have the Right Tools on Hand

“No spatula? Darn! Guess I’ll have to order in.” (Me during my 20s.)

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Don’t give yourself reasons to back out of cooking, such as not having the right kitchen utensils available for the job. When you have the right tools, it makes cooking easier and ultimately less stressful.

3. Ease Into It

Start with simple meals that use the fewest ingredients possible and work your way up to more complex recipes. Try new recipes when there’s no chance of a time crunch (such as on weekends) so you can remake recipes that might not come out as planned.

According to Certified Personal Trainer Amy Clover, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make healthy meals, and I’ve decided to believe her.

4. Relate Food to Fashion

I hate to cook, but I do love fashion.

“I find fashion websites to be great encouragement for food,” suggests Gina Keatley, CDN, award-winning dietitian and American Diabetes Ambassador. “The colors mirror each other and a bright yellow purse can get you motivated to try caramelized bananas.”

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It’s a fun way to start making food a part of your every day thought process.

5. Think PVF

When making dinner, think PVF: Protein, Veggies and (healthy) Fat. Doing your best to make sure these elements are on your plate make for consistently balanced meals.

“Save time by purchasing pre-cut and pre-washed veggies,” says Amy.

6. Cook Once, Eat Twice

Make double portions when you cook so you have lunch for the next day.

Cassie Ho, a California-based fitness instructor, cooks a whole week’s worth of food every Sunday: “I just put it in Tupperware and refrigerate. When I need a meal, bam! It’s already made. All it needs is microwaving.”

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7. Make It An Event

Make it a girls’ night in with the mission of trying a challenging recipe together. (Just make sure you have delivery on speed dial in case… and perhaps the fire department.)

8. Buy Frozen Dinners

Not all frozen dinners are bad for you, and are perfect when you’re in a pinch. California-based Registered Dietitian Sarah Mirkin recommends frozen dinners by Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Kashi.

She also suggests to “pair them with a salad and fruit to make them a balanced and satisfying meal.”

9. Cook What You Love

Make a list of the dishes you enjoy most and find recipes for them. Use your cravings for each as a way to bridge the gap between your health and hatred for cooking.

Once you’ve cooked them a certain number of times, you eventually won’t have to look at the recipes anymore – they’ll be part of your every day routine as your common staple dishes.

“Motivation is a huge factor,” says New York-based Nutrition Expert and Registered Dietitian Tina Ruggiero. “Once someone begins to cook, it becomes an exciting (and almost addicting) activity.”

Tina could be onto something – this morning I made myself an egg (with no trace of shell!), and it was actually edible. I now fully intend on making one again tomorrow.

Ready to Get Started?

  1. “Google easiest recipe for…. You’ll find some great options that way!”
    Dian Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged health and rapid fat loss book series
  2. “I love the Whole Foods app. As a raw foodie, I like raw meals for one or two people – they’re all quick and easy.”
    Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D., Health & Nutrition Coach
  3. “I’m a big fan of food journaling. Livestrong’s MyPlate is one of the best sites I’ve found for recording online. They have an app now too!”
    Amy Clover, Certified Personal Trainer
  4. “Honestly, the best app for keeping your diet on track is Instagram! Take pics of your food and appreciate the nutrients going into your body. That’s what I do. Food is not just fuel, it’s also art and beauty!”
    Cassie Ho, California-based Fitness Instructor

Do you hate to cook? What tips have helped you stay healthy?

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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