What to do when you’re Unmotivated to Cook?

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If you’re new here, I’m Jessi a registered dietitian who loves to simplify cooking and keep diet culture out of the kitchen. If you have any questions, leave a comment below! For more content, cooking classes and kitchen inspiration, make sure you follow me on Instagram or join my Kitchen VIPs Membership program.

What to do when you’re unmotivated to cook?

It’s incredibly normal for motivation to ebb and flow in life, but especially in the kitchen. There are times where I am completed jazzed about cooking a new recipe and other times that I want everyone (including myself) to fend for themselves. Knowing that it is normal is helpful when lack of motivation sets in. Allow it to provide you a sense of relief that it’s not just you dealing with this and however you handle it is okay.

Why am I unmotivated to cook?

There could all kinds of reasons! For the purpose of this post I’m listing out ten possibilities and providing recommendations for what to do based on your reason. Let’s get cooking!

By the way, you can listen to this post on my latest podcast episode (episode 42) HERE if you’d like to listen instead of read.

How can I force myself to like cooking?

Don’t. Get to the root of what’s causing you to not like it and work with someone (like me!) who can help you find ways to make it manageable and maybe even slightly enjoyable. Dive in below to see if any of these ten de-motivators is causing you to not like cooking.

Life is Stressful

Thank you captain obvious right? Here’s what to do:

  • Identify what’s really going on – stress is an umbrella term for underlying emotions, you might be able to better handle stress if you know what will actually help you feel better.
  • Practice things that help you deal with the stress better. This is easier said than done and often takes a lot of effort and practice.
  • Relieve some burden! Rely on more packaged foods or your go-to meal list.

Diets and Restrictions

  • Even if you’re not dieting you may have old lingering diet thoughts that find their way into your cooking. Identify them and challenge them
  • Remind yourself that thoughts are not facts. Often diets make us believe all kinds of things about our food choices. Make sure what you’re believing is based on fact.
  • I’m not against people who choose to “diet” but I am against a multi-billion dollar industry telling us we all need to lose weight in order to be more valuable in society. So if you do choose to diet, be open to exploring why it might not be motivating you in the kitchen. For many people, dieting often limits choices and increases guilt. Neither of which sound very motivating.

Check out the Content you are Consuming

Ahh social media…it CAN be great sources of encouragement and exploration in the kitchen or it can make you compare yourself and feel like you’re not doing enough

  • Take social media breaks
  • Follow accounts that keep it real and actually inspire you realistically instead of fantastically
  • Seak out varying content to make sure you’re not consumed by one idea or mentality.

Worrying We’re not doing the “Best” thing for ourselves and our Family

Woof. Talk about pressure and stress.

  • There’s no best. When you feed your family, you’re doing great.
  • Focus on making progress in the kitchen with your cooking in ways that actually fuel you instead of devalue you.
  • If you had a time where you felt like you were doing great with cooking and then things fell apart due to life…that’s also pretty normal. Allow yourself the flexibility to go through these phases to find your happy medium.

Fatigue: Physical or Mental

This has been a huge factor for me lately and so I’m relying on incredibly simple meals.

  • Cannot stress the importance of simplicity enough!
  • Rely again on your go-to meal list
  • Incorporate take-out
  • Throw the idea of what a “meal” has to look like out the window. My dinner the other night was an apple, some cheese, almonds and later on some crackers.

Bored / tired of the same foods

  • Get inspired by exploring new cultural recipes
  • Ask a friend for their favorite dish
  • Search for recipes based on spices, new veggies, or food you have on hand
  • Ask your kids what they want to make. They might remind you of a meal you haven’t done in quite some time. Bonus, get them to help you cook it!

Feeling Uninspired / Not Craving Anything

Nourishment is still important regardless of cravings. So here are a few different suggestions.

  • Try to aim for at least 3 food groups at a meal or as my friend Aby says, “invite everyone to the party!”
  • I do feel that food tastes better when we enjoy what we eat or satisfy our cravings and desires. So when you’re not sure what you’re wanting to make use your senses. Explore what you want through appearance of food, sound, taste, texture, temperature and aroma.

Busy schedule with work, family, kids, etc

This does go hand-in-hand with a lot of the above ones but again it’s NORMAL. Here are some ideas:

  • Rely on more slow cooker meals like my slow cooker lasagna or slow cooker taco soup.
  • Meal plan/prep weekends! This might look like putting things into a bag so it’s ready to dump in a slow cooker, prepping/chopping your veggies for the different meals, or simply identifying the easiest recipes you could put together.
  • Consider component prep! Make once and use in tons of different ways. For example if you spend time one weekend cooking varying amounts / types of meat and freezing them cooked, it’s really easy to pull them out for quick, throw together meals.
  • Planned take out – if you’re on a budget, do a “sharesie” meal. Bring home one pizza instead of two and give your family pizza, a bag of steam-able veggies, and some fruit on the side.

Holiday Weekends

SO normal to be DONE in the kitchen after a holiday weekend!

  • Try to incorporate leftovers into your week and aim for simple fend for yourself nights
  • Plan on simple meals that are tried and true so you don’t have to think too much about cooking

Cluttered/Disorganized Kitchens

This is a pretty big de-motivator for cooking. While I don’t expect ANYone to have a spotless kitchen, I do think reducing the clutter in a manageable way for yourself is pretty helpful.

  • 5-10 minutes of cleaning/organizing per night – one drawer/cabinet / countertop at a time
  • Get your kids involved (if possible)
  • Clear the table if nothing else
  • Go back to episode 38 where I discuss seven steps to spring cleaning your kitchen

So as you can see from the above concept, there’s lots of reasons why we’re not motivated to cook from time-to-time. Or all the time! Many people don’t enjoy cooking and that’s okay. We can still find manageable ways to incorporate nutritious and delicious meals into your every day life.

Did any of these stand out to you? What is causing you to feel unmotivated in the kitchen lately? Let me know below!

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