In our modern lives of fast-food convenience and sugary snacks, it’s not uncommon to have the thought “I really need to start cooking more at home”. For many of us this, unfortunately, remains little more than a vague promise we make to ourselves, a promise that we soon forget about when evening hunger strikes, and we’re too tired from work to even contemplate cooking a meal from scratch.
If the inconvenience of home cooking is what’s holding you back, you should try to employ a few of the following strategies to help you get back in the kitchen so you can save money and improve your health at the same time.
1. Keep it neat and tidy
It’s a well-known fact that your brain is going to be less motivated to do something when you are forced to do it in a messy workspace. Even if all the appliances and utensils you need are present and accounted for, stained countertops and grimy stovetops aren’t going to fill you with much motivation for cooking, no matter how determined you are otherwise.
The solution here is simple – clean spills as you go so you don’t let them get sticky and harder to remove later on. Not only is your kitchen going to look nicer, but you’re also going to prevent nasty issues like mould or insect infestations from making a foothold and spreading.
2. Invest in handy shortcuts
If you know you really need to start home cooking and want to go the extra mile to make it as convenient as possible for you, there are plenty of smart time-saving gadgets you can buy and strategies you can implement. For example, you could buy a slow cooker that lets you simply throw a bunch of ingredients in and make a healthy stew for you to come home to, or you could buy key healthy ingredients for a variety of meals in bulk from a wholesaler so that you don’t need to make as many grocery trips during the month.
It’s all about minimising the ‘boring bits’ of cooking and keeping the activity as fast, dynamic, and fun as possible.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to use some of the tips above to get back in the kitchen and start enjoying all the benefits that home cooking can provide.
3. Make food a simple, clinical exercise
Listen, we get it…not everyone is a committed diciple of foodie culture, and if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t one either. While you love and appreciate a good meal just as much as anyone else, you’re not desperate to know how to make it yourself or experiment with its myriad of flavour influences.
Plenty of people just like you still manage to find time to cook good food that benefits their health goals – they treat it more like a science than an art. Think analytically about the food you know you find the easiest to prepare and then find ways to maximise the health factor.
For example, you might find making rice in a rice cooker simple, so maximise the health factor by experimenting with a new recipe like a Thai beef salad with some croutons added for extra crunch. It’s all about identifying a staple you find easy to work with, and then building out your own personalised menu from there.
The more you cook using this approach, the more effortless it will become. You may inadvertently become a foodie just by going through this process!
4. Involve other people to keep you motivated
If you live with a partner, family members, or even just a flatmate, then you potentially have a great cooking motivator right under your nose. Involving other people is a great way to increase your interest to pursue any activity, and there is no exception when it comes to home cooking.
Ask someone you live with what kind of meal they would love home-cooked for them and set yourself a challenge to make it to the best of your ability. In this way, you have gamified cooking so that your brain has the same experience it would with a video game, making mealtime fun, rather than just a necessary chore.
Even so, just having someone present with you in the kitchen could be all the help you need to stay motivated while cooking. If the dullness of cooking alone is what’s scaring you away, invite a friend over to chat to you while you work, luring them with the promise of a nice meal at the end of it.