We all know that cooking at home is better for both our physical and fiscal health. And yet, so many struggle to make it happen. I get it, when you get home after a long day, you just want to sit down, relax, and have the food come to you.
But if you’re going to have any chance of breaking the “grab and go/ delivery” habit, you’re gonna have to get excited about eating in. Here are four suggestions to get you started.
1. Pin It.
If looking at pictures of food on Pinterest doesn’t make you salivate with anticipation, I don’t know what will. Pinterest is like an on demand, customizable cookbook. And it’s completely FREE. Just search for your favorite food or dish and find thousands of ways to prepare it.
If you don’t know where to start, search “recipes” and favorite or re-pin whatever jumps out at you. (Uh oh, I was just doing this myself and found a copycat recipe of Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites, yummmm).
Pinterest is also a great resource for figuring out what to do with that one ingredient that’s starting to go bad in your fridge. Just search “____ recipes” (for me, it’s mushrooms) and go from “Ugh, I have to use these before they go bad” to “Woohoo, I can’t WAIT to use these __(mushrooms)”.
2. Try Some Add Ins.
Spice up your basic, go-to dishes with some unexpected add-ins. Not the same old, same old grilled chicken to top off your bed of rice– get creative! I’m a fan of lentils and fresh spices in my salad, shredded zucchini or spaghetti squash mixed into my pasta, and avocado and spinach in my grilled cheeses. That last one might sound gross, but it’s actually incredible and adds a lot of nutritional punch to an otherwise bland meal. Ps. Guess where I got the idea? Pinterest!
3. Make Your Own Sauce.
I’ve come to find that sauces and dressings can make or break a dish. One of the reasons food tastes so good at restaurants is because (most of the time) they make their own sauces.
The great thing about sauces is you can make a bunch when you’ve got the time and energy, then store them in the fridge to use whenever you want. Next time you get home at the end of the day and you’re too pooped to cook, you can just grab some lettuce and your jar of homemade dressing; or cook some noodles to top off with your homemade pesto; or heat up some tortillas topped with beans and cheese to smother with homemade enchilada sauce. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the homemade sauce makes.
4. Make It an Event.
Find a way to make dinner time something you look forward to- not just the eating part, but the prep time too. You can make it an activity by inviting your spouse, your children, your roommates, whomever to join you. You can make it social by having friends over for a potluck or a meal you can all make together (Make your own quesadilla party? Topped with your homemade guacamole of course). You can make it fun by putting on some music and pouring yourself a glass of wine to sip as you go. If you have an open floor plan or a TV in the kitchen, you can prep dinner as you watch your favorite show.
There are so many ways to bring joy and excitement into the kitchen. Once you find a strategy that works for you, I guarantee you’ll find yourself eating in a lot more often. (And your wallet and waistline are sure to thank you.)
How do you get excited about eating in? Have you found a favourite recipe on Pinterest? Please share!
I think for me, just finding things I am excited to try, or excited to cook, is what makes it fun for me. There are almost literally an infinite amount of recipes out there, so finding something interesting shouldn’t be too hard (in theory). Making it an event is a good idea too… seems like it’s always easier when you’re cooking for “something.”
The excitement of the possibilities when cooking is definitely pretty awesome.
I’ve spent a lot of time the past 2 years getting truly educated about healthful eating. The more I learn, the more excited I am to make my own meals at home, because eating out and eating truly healthy are nearly mutually exclusive.
I think that’s true of anything. The more you understand something, the more psyched you are to make it work for you.
Did you see the “nailed it” series about people see pictures on Pinterest, trying the recipe and taking a picture after, of a completely failed recipe? Well it may have tasted just as good but it didn’t look half as good. Like super cute cupcakes turned mushy pieces of dough. I couldn’t stop laughing. It is a great inspiration source though.
Oh yeah, those are hilarious. Hopefully they taste ok 🙂
Made Spaghetti Squash for the first time the other night… highly recommended!
7 dollars at Costco for the Squash, and 8 dollars for 2 huge Marinara Jars. Enough for at least 14 meals. No joke. And delicious too!
I love spaghetti squash! Sometimes I’ll mix it in with a little pasta to make it go even further and add some extra sustenance.
My husband is the chef in our family; I’m the baker. It works out nicely for making dinner plus dessert. I actually spiced up some brownie mix not too long ago by adding Ghiardelli chocolate caramel squares. They got melty and delicious — highly recommended.
mmm.. that sounds delightful!
The satisfaction of making a great meal (especially when it’s something new!) is something I really enjoy. Seeing satisfied faces of guests is even better!
Cooking for other people is a special experience. Love when they love it!
We love eating in. Getting to make new dishes and discovering new tastes is one of our favorite things to do. Not to mention, my wife and I get quality time together, and get to eat excellent meals for a fraction of the cost of eating out. That gets me excited everytime.
Cooking as an activity to do WITH you partner (rather than always FOR) is such fun. I really need to get my bf more involved in the kitchen.