5 Top Tips to Help You When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking
I’m sure you’ve been there – you get in the kitchen to make dinner and realize that you don’t feel like cooking. It can also be known as cooking fatigue, and I know it all too well.
With a large family, take-out costs are ridiculous, so it’s almost inevitable that I have to cook all the time.
Listen, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy grabbing a cheap pizza or finding a decent family meal from Fazolis or Bojangles now and then; however, that’s not something we can do very much.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in my kitchen pondering how I can either get out of cooking or make something super fast.
Then I start thinking about which kid doesn’t like this, and I have to make sure the twins are going to eat what I throw together – if I decide to cook.
Burnout is real
Overall, I really enjoy cooking. I love hearing feedback from my family about how good the meal was.
I cook from the heart!
I love seeing them get excited when I make their favorite meals, and (the best part) I like eating, too!
Yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t get tired of doing it. When you’re a mother with all the responsibilities, it’s hard not to feel exhausted by evening to cook dinner.
I’m sure you’ve seen the memes about getting all the groceries and then ordering take-out. This is so how I feel about once a week.
Sometimes, I give in, and sometimes, I find alternatives so that I’m not in the kitchen doing all the things.
That’s why I want to share with you how to manage to get food on the table when you’re in a rut or just simply exhausted!
Here are 5 top helpful tips you can do when you don’t feel like cooking:
1. Batch cook
If you have time on the weekend to batch cook, I highly recommend it. The idea is to double or triple your meal while cooking and store and freeze the other servings.
For example, if you’re cooking Baked Ziti on a Saturday, double or triple everything and store the extra.
Won’t this be so amazing to pull out the freezer when you feel the exhaustion kicking in?
And think about this – It won’t take much longer to cook the meal since you’re doing it anyway.
2. Have everyone fend for themselves.
I am not ashamed to let my older children fend for themselves. Yes, I do make sure the younger ones get fed, but it’s likely going to be a quick meal.
When you go on your next grocery shopping trip, grab some of your kid’s favorites – whether they like chicken nuggets, frozen mini pizzas, ramen, etc.
My older kids can work the microwave, toaster oven, and air fryer. A couple of them can cook a decent breakfast meal as well.
I have made it such a routine that they know when I say that they have to figure it out for themselves, that means momma ain’t cooking!
Don’t feel guilty about this. This will teach your kids responsibility, and you’ll be surprised at what they can learn to do for themselves.
My daughter can make an omelet; she does need help with flipping. She can also make bacon, french fries, salad, and smoothies.
Some of you might be thinking: “But I have young kids, and they can’t cook for themselves yet.”
That’s okay, try these next few tips….
3. Keep it simple
I feel like there is this stigma that if we don’t have warm food on the table that we’re not giving our children the best.
I totally agree that “Fed is best!”
Actually, Germans have warm meals during lunch and light meals at night; it could be a sandwich, lunch meat, or popcorn. Dinner time is so lax there. I’ve been grateful to witness that first-hand.
So, I’m not going to feel guilty for giving my children a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fruit for dinner.
It’s simple. They’re happy. They’re full.
Give yourself grace. We all have our down days.
4. Cook soup
I would suggest keeping soup items in your pantry at all times: Items such as pasta, beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and/or canned tomatoes.
I like to keep chicken broth and pasta noodles in stock because I cook the broth with so many dishes for flavor.
I also always seem to be cooking pasta at least every other week. But it’s also good to keep these items on-hand in case someone gets sick.
Soup can be so simple.
If you must add meat, try to keep some canned chicken in the pantry as well.
Soup takes minimal effort and is a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking.
5. Start early
What if you have an extra 30 minutes earlier in the day? Could you start dinner a little earlier?
I get it – Dinner is not something you want to think about before 4:00.
But if you have 30 minutes early in the morning or sometime in the middle of the day, start a couple of your dinner sides. Or, you can cook your meat.
Whatever you decide, it will take the load off when dinner comes around. This week, I put a pork butt in the oven and let it cook for a few hours. I started prepping mid-morning and was done cooking soon after lunchtime.
I decided to go ahead and finish the sides way before dinner, and it felt amazing to not be in the kitchen slaving around dinner time.
The food was ready, and the kids didn’t have to wait.
These tips are in addition to other things I might do, such as hotdogs, frozen pizza, air-fryer wings and fries, etc.
If you still would like some quick recipes, I have three recipes that I can throw together in a flash.
Related article: 3 Quick, Kid-Friendly Recipes
I hope these tips help you as much as they help me. What are some things you do when you don’t feel like cooking?