If I could round up allllll the feedback from the women, clients and mamas in my life about why they “don’t like” to cook, the resounding reason would be this:
“I don’t have time for it.”
I mean, haven’t you felt that way, too? I definitely have, on my busiest and most overwhelming days and weeks. It can be just plain hard to get to the end of a long day and use your brain power and physical energy to get a meal on the table that (hopefully) everyone will like and eat. When we’re exhausted and spread thin, cooking feels like one more chore. And not a joyful and important act of kindness to care for your own body, health and wellness— on top of your family’s.
But this is why I’m SUCH a proponent of simplifying this daily act of cooking. Because, let’s be real, we can’t go without eating. And when we eat well— when we prioritize whole, nourishing, real foods— it has this magical, compounding effect of making everything else in our lives easier, brighter, lighter and more manageable.
When we stop seeing cooking as just another never-ending burden, we can infuse fun, playfulness and creativity back into it. Because this is what I know… food is fuel, yes, but food can ALSO be joyful. It can create bonding moments, spark connection, bring about nostalgia, cheer people up and make someone feel at home.
It’s all in how we choose to see it. And approach it. So let me share a few of my top-secret cooking and meal prep tips that will allow you to save time and bring the joy back to cooking. I promise, you’ll find so much more ease and relaxation around the process if you try these things.
4 ways to love cooking for your family
01. Order your groceries. This is a BIGGGG one for me, and the most amazing efficiency hack. I began ordering my groceries on the reg in 2020 during the height of the pandemic and I haven’t really gone back to in-store shopping since, because I realized just how much time this saves me. When you order your groceries online, it saves you from having to pack up and drive to the store and then hunt down everything you need. (It also saves you from random impulse purchases that you probably don’t really need or want.) It lets me thoughtfully select our groceries for the week, and then spend that time I would’ve spent at the store either with my kids playing, taking care of things at home or work, or just having fun. (Even ordering for grocery pick-up is a huge time-saver by not having to actually go in the store!)
02. Involve your family in the process. Feeling the pressure of figuring out meals all on your own? Three meals a day, every single day… it’s a lot of weight to carry! And we’re really not meant to carry it alone. Maybe it’s having them help to pick out meals for the week, finding new recipes to try, everyone getting to pick a recipe a day of the week, or even setting the table, helping chop veggies, filling up water glasses, picking the music— there are so many creative and fun ways to involve your family. Now that my son is 3, I let him help me pick meals and mix batters for things like scones and muffins. And while yes, it takes more time with him “helping,” it’s also such a sweet way to bond and make memories (and hopefully infuse in him a love of food and cooking). See if your partner is willing to cook or clean a few times a week— in my book, the whole family should carry the responsibility together! Find ways to delegate and accept help from those in your home.
03. Invest in a few time-saving kitchen tools. Honestly, if I could recommend three kitchen tools to simplify your meal-making life, it would be an InstantPot and two great knives. You only really need a great chef’s knife and paring knife to chop and cook anything you want. If you have these three things, I promise your cooking experience will immediately upgrade. I use the IP for soooo much… soups, stews, curry, rice dishes. It’s the best “throw it all in and let it do its thing” tool EVER. I get use out of mine every single week and it’s so much quicker than the CrockPot if you’re trying to get dinner on the table fast.
04. Make it a sacred time each day. This is big. If you’re constantly feeling rushed and frazzled to figure out your meals, try slowing it down and planning ahead, even if it’s very loosely. Have a general gameplan for what you want to do for meals at the beginning of the week, and then carve out some space to make an experience of cooking. If we have to do it every single day, why not make it more fun and rewarding? Put on a favorite playlist, pour a glass of wine or cute mocktail while you cook, have a dance party with your kids, open the windows to let fresh air in, light a candle, put a record on, put on a fun apron… make it a time that is rewarding and uplifting rather than draining!
We can reframe how we see cooking as an act of love— for ourselves, and our families. It doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy or time-consuming. In fact, I’m all about dinners that take less than 20 minutes start to finish, but still making that small amount of time in the kitchen MEAN something special. I know you can do it, too.
Need a little inspo on what to make? Come watch my free summer cooking class here:
3 Ingredients, 3 Ways, 3 Recipes