By Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com
Cooking more at home is a popular New Year’s resolution. If you’re looking for ways to motivate yourself to cook more at home, here are 10 tips that will inspire you to pull out your bakeware and cook more all year round.
- Start with easy recipes.
You may feel inspired by the elaborate spreads you see on Instagram, but starting small is totally acceptable. If you want to cook more often, choosing simple one-pan recipes that come together in about 30 minutes will help you get into the habit of cooking more regularly. Once you have a good routine, you can start branching out into more advanced recipes that stretch your cooking skills.
- Revisit old favorites.
Do you have a favorite go-to dish that always satisfies your cravings and warms you up when you eat it? Then cooking recipes that you know you like is a great way to start your cooking at home routine. Try making your favorite recipes from childhood or recreating a simple meal from a beloved restaurant. When you cook the food you genuinely love, you’ll joy the process of creating the meal and then eating it.
- Don’t compare yourself to restaurant food.
Many aspiring home cooks want their home-cooked meals to look or taste like something they would order at a restaurant. While it’s great to strive for high-quality meals, the truth is that restaurant chefs are professionally trained and have access to special tools and ingredients that most home cooks do not. It takes years of experience to even try to approximate restaurant meals at home, so don’t put that pressure on yourself! Instead, embrace making messy (but still delicious) food at home.
- Plan your meals in advance.
If you’re looking to be more efficient with your cooking, we recommend planning out meals a week in advance — or even a month if you’re feeling ambitious. This will allow you to consolidate your grocery shopping and meal prep tasks like chopping vegetables, which means you will need to spend less time in the kitchen overall and more time enjoying the food you prepare.
- Cook for multiple meals at once.
If you’re okay with eating leftovers, then we recommend cooking for multiple meals at once and then refrigerating or freezing the leftovers in kitchen storage containers. If you don’t like eating the same meal more than once, you can still cook batches of rice, pasta, vegetables and other versatile ingredients and then combine them in different ways throughout the week, so you don’t have to cook completely from scratch.
- Keep essential ingredients on hand.
Sometimes you run out of leftovers early or need to pull together a quick dinner for unexpected guests, which is why we recommend keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with essential ingredients that you can use to create a last-minute meal. As you cook more over time, you’ll also get a better sense of your tastes and what counts as “essential” for you, and you can tailor your collection of pantry essentials accordingly.
- Invest in quality kitchenware.
Buying a new kitchen tool can be a great way to motivate yourself to cook more. A set of tri-ply stainless steel cookware or a new air fryer will enable you to level up your cooking game and experiment with new techniques that you might not otherwise be able to accomplish. When shopping, be selective about the new kitchen tools you buy and try not to duplicate the items you already have.
- Try a new technique or ingredient.
If you enjoy cooking but want to switch it up, try experimenting with a new technique or ingredient. Instead of roasting your vegetables like usual, you can try blanching them instead. Maybe you try a new fruit instead of just buying apples and oranges like usual. Not every technique or ingredient will be a winner, but you can incorporate the ones you like into your regular cooking routine to keep things exciting.
- Make cooking time fun.
You don’t have to cook in complete silence (unless you want to, of course!). If you want to add some ambience to your kitchen, listening to music, putting on a podcast or watching some TV in the background can help the time pass faster and make the act of cooking very enjoyable. We recommend choosing media that’s entertaining but won’t demand your full attention so you can stay focused on your kitchen tasks.
- Cook for other people.
While you are totally worth the effort of cooking a good meal, cooking for other people is a great way to inspire you to cook more and enjoy the meal with loved ones. Inviting friends over for dinner or offering to drop food off at their houses can be a great way to inspire yourself to cook while enjoying some social time. You can even ask your friends to help you cook and turn the whole activity into a social event.
What are your other top tips for motivating yourself to cook more? How will you spice up your kitchen routine this new year? Try one of these helpful tips and enjoy a year full of healthy and hearty meals!