When lockdown first began, many of us became enthusiastic ‘wannabe’ (or ‘don’t wannabe’) Masterchefs. In early Covid times, we raided supermarket shelves for staples, so we could make our own meals from scratch.
And then there were those of us who had Uber Eats in our frequently used apps list – not that I personally know anyone who would do that… hehe. But then, the cooking fatigue hit.
Cooking fatigue is real!
After all this time in lockdown, if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling fatigued when it comes to cooking. Maybe you’re all out of ideas for keeping things interesting, or you’d just love cooking to be a quick and simple process (and ideally healthy!).
Whatever’s causing your cooking fatigue, no matter if it’s the Covid pandemic or just because, here are five ways to rediscover your cooking mojo.
#1: Embrace the platter
The path of least resistance can often be the most rewarding.
BellyBelly writer and mother, Emily, says, “My go-to lazy dinner is simply called the ‘platter’. I just cut up veggies, and put them on a big platter with whole grain crackers, chunks of tasty cheese and homemade dip, and everyone helps themselves. Of course it’s my kids favourite meal! Ironically they hate the curries, which I love and spend hours on – not to mention the extra time sourcing all the hard to find ingredients. They just say ‘Eww’ and push their bowls away!”
#2: Meal planning is a sanity saver
I know, I know… planning isn’t my superpower either. Finding time to make a meal plan feels like one more thing to do – especially when I’m tired and have multiple hungry mouths to feed. But a ready meal plan is so much better than cooking fatigue!
The secret to a successful meal plan is not to spend more than 15 minutes a week doing it. You can write out a weekly meal plan on paper, on a whiteboard, or straight onto the fridge. And for added fun, you can let your kids give each meal a score out of five after they’ve eaten. That way, you’ll know what to keep and what to ditch.
Read our very best tips for successful meal planning.
#3: Have theme nights
Theme nights can make dinners much more fun.
BellyBelly writer and doula, Tara, says, “When my four kids were little, it felt like they needed another meal every time I turned around. There’s nothing worse than the evening approaching with the constant “What’s for dinner?” question… and you’ve got no idea. I gave myself a framework for the week to make the planning less overwhelming. I created Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, One-Pot Wednesdays and so on. The kids weren’t wild about the idea of Meatless Mondays at first, until we did things like the ‘baked potato bar’ with lots and lots of toppings. Of course, to give me a break, Friday was always pizza night, and we ordered from wherever we had the best coupon deal”.
#4: Start a recipes folder if you haven’t already
Put together a folder of recipes in clear plastic sleeves so you can easily flick through them. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Include some recipes to have on hand for those crazy nights.
Here are two healthy, quick and delicious ideas from BellyBelly to get you started.
#5: Get a delivery box
Here’s a great solution for cooking fatigue – and you can do it long term or short term.
One of the most surprising results of trying out a subscription delivery box service was I gained a lot of food inspiration.
Not only did my family love the variety and convenience of all the ingredients being pre-measured, but there are also easy to follow recipe cards for each meal. You can collect them and build up your own collection of favourites recipes.
I tried about five different delivery services, and my favourite was definitely Hello Fresh. The quality of the food was great! But what impressed me the most were the delicious flavours. Even the simplest of meals packed a punch for my family’s taste buds.
If you’re in a cooking slump and want to enjoy the process of making dinner again, give these five things a try and see what works for you and your family. Cooking fatigue will soon be a thing of the past. Bon appetit!