This quarantine may be the most you’ve ever cooked at home. Yes, you can definitely get take out, but let’s be real — you’re cooking now more than ever. Even if you are a regular home chef, making every meal for the indefinite future can feel daunting.
At first I was up for the challenge. I envisioned myself waking up and making acai bowls with cute fruit cut outs for breakfast, a glamorous kale caesar salad for lunch, and then a delicious and fancy pasta dinner. I went crazy on Instagram saving recipes and inspirational eats. I was prepared.
That lasted for one week. I really should have listened to my own advice about creating habits, because following long recipes with meticulous and specific ingredients is not a habit of mine. I usually try to whip up something that is easy, nutritious, and delicious. If it happens to look good, it’s a bonus. Honestly, that’s why I love Sweet Pea Living recipes. They fit right in the middle of my food venn-diagram.
But even with easy and delicious recipes like Vegan Mac and Cheese and Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Potatoes, I am getting tired. Even with my awesome in-laws who share the cooking burden, I’m tired. At this moment, I don’t have a ton of energy and putting it all into cooking has me drained even further.
In my normal life, I try to shake myself out of this cooking fatigue with two simple actions:
- Planning Ahead
- Having Realistic Expectations
Prior to quarantining, I sat down every Sunday and planned out our meals in my weekly planner. I thought about everything from hubby’s breakfast to what kind of snacks I wanted on Thursday. Then, I would pin/find recipes that I would look forward to each day of the week. If I felt myself in a cooking slump, I would load up on slow cooker recipes that I could portion out ahead of time (so I wasn’t really cooking, I was just assembling).
I knew the fatigue would pass, and I just had to give myself the time and space to get through the rut and get back to wanting to make something fun or interesting. I had a weekly routine that I knew would carry me through any fatigue I had.
But, life isn’t normal right now. I have to carve out a new normal in this world where I cook with what I have because I am grocery shopping much less frequently (and sometimes the store is completely out of what I want). I also have a few more people in my life to consider when planning out meals. Not to mention, I have no routine to help me snap out of my rut.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough! I feel like I have to fight for every inch of normal in my life. Cooking fatigue is a normal feeling, but dealing with it in this environment can make you feel even more out of sorts.
So, here are a couple of things I’ve been doing to give myself a pass during my quarantine cooking fatigue:
- Make lunches ahead of time and freeze individual portions (or really, buy pre-made frozen meals!).
- Pre-chop ingredients for all of my side dishes. This goes without explanation… when I have the energy, I put it towards just mindlessly chopping. Usually I listen to a podcast while doing it for some extra “me time”.
- Take turns! If you’re quaranTEAMing it, try and pass the buck to the husband or whoever is on your team. They may come up with something unique that you would not have considered cooking.
- Consider “the fewer ingredients the better.” Sometimes you just need to throw things together and not worry about a recipe. A couple of fun ideas are breakfast for dinner, slow cooker meals you can put together in the morning, or an easy salad.
- Order the take out! Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break. If that means ordering out two days in a row — do it! You’ll be supporting local businesses in your area, anyways!
Ultimately, I want you to be able to enjoy cooking like I enjoy it, while still recognizing that it’s okay to feel like it’s a chore. At times, it is a chore. So when I’m in that frame of mind, I find small ways to give myself a break while still moving forward.
It’s a mentality I’m trying to carry over into every aspect of my life.
I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.