Is one of your intentions for the New Year to get in the kitchen but you feel like you can't even boil an egg? And the few times you try you find you fall back to your go to frozen meals, pasta or the Chinese take out on speed dial?
Finding the motivation can be tough, I get it. This from a girl that in a past life lived on Ramen noodles and plain cardboard style chicken breasts, I know how hard it can feel to make a lifestyle change and make cooking a regular habit.
That's also exactly why I do what I do. Because once I got into cooking regularly I realized how empowering it was to be able to create healthy, delicious meals at home and I really want to share that. Not to mention how much better I felt! I love watching clients transform from being fearful in the kitchen to fully confident kitchen ninjas!
And when it comes to why people don't cook, I've heard it all. I'm going to break the common excuses down for you and how you can ditch them and be comfortable in the kitchen at all times.
Excuse #1: I don't have time.
This is a something people say a lot these days. And I believe that it's more about what your making a priority. Getting home from work and bingeing Netflix? Spending too much time in front of the phone screen? It's easy to give away our time to distractions these days.
Here's the thing, if cooking really is important to you, you'll find a way to fit it in. That could mean shifting your schedule around a bit or committing to less of something that isn't a priority. The easiest way to figure this out is to write down what you're spending your time on each day. It's an easy way to see in black in white what your currently prioritizing and where you can make some changes.
Excuse #2: I don't like grocery shopping.
I know that not everyone is like me and loves the idea of wandering several different grocery stores looking for my favourite ingredients. The biggest thing I can say here is to invest some initial time and money to get your kitchen stocked with good staple ingredients. This cuts down so much on the time you spend for each trip and it helps because if you have a well stocked pantry your shopping will mostly consist of picking up the fresh stuff.
When you do go to shop, schedule it in. However that looks for you - once a week, every couple days, whatever works for your life. And to make the trip as efficient as possible go with a list and be sure to know the layout of the store so you know exactly where to find all the good, real ingredients you need and you don't get distracted by the marketing noise.
If the thought of going to the store still makes you cringe, say hello to online shopping! Most grocery stores offer this service nowadays, with either delivery, in store pick up or both. And once you start regularly shopping with one store your staples are saved in your profile which can make the ordering even faster.
Excuse #3: I never learned to cook.
We live in a world where more and more people have grown up without learning to cook so I get it when you decide to try it can be overwhelming. You don't have to know everything to start. Just start. And start small with one thing you want to learn or a simple recipe like roasted veggies or soup. It's not going to be perfect and you're going to make mistakes but the only way we get better at anything is practice. The more you practice the more confident you'll get to try new things.
Excuse #4: I get overwhelmed searching for recipes and never know what to cook.
I'm a firm believer that you don't need to follow recipes in order to create a good meal - that's the beauty of cooking, it's such a personal and creative thing that you can experiment and play around with ingredients. If you have a properly stocked pantry and take the time to learn what flavours you like and the cooking styles that work best for you, you can pull together a meal without thinking too much about it. As a human you're actually a natural born cook, you intuition will tell you so much. And remember it doesn't have to be complicated, most times simple is best.
Excuse #5: I've tried and it always turns out badly.
You didn't stop learning to walk because you fell a few times, right? It's the same with learning anything new, you have to be willing to fail and make mistakes. And it's better to try and fail then to do nothing. And the worst that's going to happen is it isn't perfect. But you did it! Celebrate that, learn the lesson of what to do differently next time and try again.
Excuse #6: My kitchen is too small and I don't have all the tools.
You don't need a fully stocked gym to get a good workout in, right? It's no different in the kitchen. Sure, we'd all love to have a dream kitchen with all the bells an whistles but that doesn't mean you can't still cook great meals. Some of the best meals I've had have been travelling and watching someone cook with nothing more than an open fire, a knife and a cast iron pan.
Make the best of what you've got. Keep things organized, get creative with your storage and focus on simple recipes. The more comfortable you get the more you understand what you need and how you can make your kitchen work for you no matter what size it is.
Excuse #7: I don't know proper techniques.
Don't know how to flip an omelette? Who cares! Make scrambled eggs instead. When you're starting out don't worry about having the perfect chopping technique or the getting the meal to look exactly like the picture in the cookbook. You can create your own technique and as long as your not chopping your fingers off, you're going to be fine. Have fun with it and worry less about making it perfect. The more you cook, the more you'll learn. The technique comes with practice.
Excuse #8: I don't like doing dishes.
Real talk, this is just a part of the process. It's like showering so you might as well accept it. There are a few things that'l help keeping the dishes to a minimum. Clean as you go as much as you can and if you have others at home you can delegate - I cook, you clean ;)
There you have it. The most common roadblocks I come across when teaching people how to cook. Really it comes down to shifting your mindset around how you approach it, starting small and building the habit gradually. It can be fun, it doesn't have to be complicated and you'll be the better for it! Cooking at home is the one thing that I believe can make us all happier, healthier humans.
I'd love to know which one of these is most common for you and how you overcame the excuses. Let me know in the comments below.