Who says that cooking at home has to be work? There are lots of ways to make cooking fun. Let’s get cooking, y’all!
Restaurant and convenience food is just plain not good for your health most of the time. They tend to be loaded with salt, refined sugar, and unhealthy saturated fats. There’s even science backing up that cooking at home is healthier than eating out or ordering take out.
Even if the health impacts of take out or packaged food don’t bother you, there are cost and waste factors that are hard to ignore. You can save a bundle by cooking your food at home. And cooking from fresh ingredients reduces the amount of food packaging waste you generate.
Home cooking is really a win-win-win for your body, your wallet, and the planet.
What I hear from a lot of folks who eat out or eat frozen meals a lot is that cooking is just not a lot of fun. I get it. Now that I have a two-year-old running around, spending time in the kitchen sometimes feels like drudgery. Today, I wanted to look at a few ways to inject some fun back into the kitchen, so you can prepare home cooked meals for your health!
1. Weekend Cooking
Who has time to cook? Feeling rushed in the kitchen is certainly no fun, and that’ where weekend cooking comes in. Instead of throwing together a meal with whatever’s in the pantry, set aside some time on a weekend (or your day off, if you don’t work a regular schedule) to cook up some big batches of food. You can freeze up individual portions, so you’ll have healthy, home-cooked meals ready when you’re busy.
You can even make this a family affair or get friends involved! One afternoon that I still look back on fondly was when my friend Liz came over, and we cooked up a few huge dishes together. We gabbed, laughed, and listened to music, and at the end of the day we divvied up what we made.
2. Get Social
I touched on this above, but making the kitchen a fun place to be is key to making cooking fun. Who says that you have to cook alone? Instead of having friends over for dinner and doing all of the cooking in advance, invite them over for a hands-on dinner party, where the cooking is part of the fun!
My friends and I have sushi parties from time to time where we do this. The host makes a big batch of sushi rice in advance, and everyone brings fillings and sides to share. Then we all take turns putting rolls together. My favorite is when we require everyone to give their roll a name before serving.
You could use that same idea for other dinner parties. Have everyone bring some fixings for a taco or burrito bar or even a salad bar.
3. Share your Efforts
Getting everyone together to cook isn’t always doable, but you can still share your kitchen bounty. Adding purpose to your cooking like this makes your time in front of the stove more gratifying.
One example I like to talk about is the fall soup swap. Organize some friends to cook up big batches of soup, and everyone gets together at a shindig to share big mason jars full of different cozy soups. I wrote about how to organize a soup swap over at Care2. Check out that article, if you need some help with the logistics.
4. Try Something New
I know, we all get into cooking ruts sometimes, and often it just takes an interesting new recipe or tinkering with a new sort of cuisine to bust us out. If you feel like you’re churning the same flavors out of your kitchen over and over, I can totally see finding cooking a chore instead of something you look forward to doing. Even something as simple as Mary’s pickled mustard seeds recipe can break you out of the culinary doldrums.
Have you used any tricks to make cooking fun? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
Image Credit: Friends Cooking photo via Shutterstock