How to Meal Prep Even When You Hate to Cook
We all know that eating at home is healthier and cheaper than eating out, but what if you really hate to cook? Most skills that I have gained a talent for are things that I genuinely like to do in the first place. I dislike cooking, so I’ve avoided it, and therefore, I’m atrocious at it. Like, I seriously suck at it, you guys. Sometimes when one partner doesn’t like to cook or isn’t good at it the other one excels and does the cooking. Not in my house. My husband also dislikes it (even though I think his cooking isn’t half bad).
So what do you do?
I don’t want to only eat out the rest of my life. I know it isn’t a good habit and I want my kids to get the right kind of nutrition. After facing this dilemma since I first went to college (and my aunt was worried because all I was eating was PB and Js) I’ve figured out that meal prepping is the most helpful thing for me. There is no way I'm going to whip up a meal from scratch if I am starving or even slightly hangry. If I set aside one day to shop, prep, and freeze the food, the rest of my week or two weeks of unthawing and heating up is bearable. Here are some tips that have helped me:
Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to finding recipes. I have a few recipe books, but the five-year-old in me likes the pictures on Pinterest. I can search for anything that I am craving or that I know my family likes with the word "easy" or "simple" attached to it. If I make it and it is a hit, I can save it in my “tried and true recipe” board, and if not I can just delete it. Another helpful tip is if you order online you can have one tab open to your Pinterest recipes and one tab open to your online grocery shopping cart. It is all right there in one place for you.
That brings me to my next tip: if a day full of grocery shopping and prepping sounds too daunting, online shopping should be your go-to. You can sit at home on your couch (even have a favorite show on) and grocery shop. No screaming kids, no impulse buys (possibly--I mean, it still can happen), and no lines to wait in. It really is a beautiful thing.
It Doesn’t Need to be Fancy
The world of social media used to make me feel pressured to create this gorgeous fancy meal or to make a different kind of meal every day of the month. That is so dumb. I love spaghetti and spaghetti leftovers. It is one of the simplest meals to make and I could have it three days in a row every week. Why mess with success? If there is an easy go-to staple in your home, stick with it.
Use your leftovers. I am one of those weird people that love cold leftovers, so it’s super easy for me to just pull them out of the fridge and eat them as-is. My husband, on the other hand, gets “grossed out by the container’s moistness.” I know, I know--his life is so hard. Most of the time our leftovers go to waste because I eat half of the cold and don’t bother to heat them up for him. Heating up the leftovers and putting them on a plate like they never even saw the fridge is a small price to pay for everything that guy does to protect me from the things that gross me out.
Eating Out Isn’t the End of the World
With all this said, give yourself a break sometimes. Eating out won’t kill you, and you aren’t a bad parent when you don’t have a perfect homemade meal every night.
So for those of us who would rather curl up in a ball on the couch than have to turn on the stove and cut up vegetables, try to keep things simple. With a few basic preparations, some help from technology, and by using what you've already got, dinnertime can be a little less daunting.
For more parenting tips go to babycubby.com.