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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?

More by this author

Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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