The hubs and I have been together for over 25 years now–half my lifetime! We’ve had children for 24 of those and all five were on the scene just 10 years in! It might surprise you to know that I didn’t know how to cook when I came into the relationship (unless you count Tuna Noodle Casserole or Grilled Cheese sandwiches). In fact, I pretty much had to learn on the fly! Back in the day, cooking felt more like an obligation or a means to preventing starvation, but it didn’t come naturally to me (and I certainly didn’t think it was “fun”).
These days as we look for ways to feed our families healthier than we ever have before, it’s easy to experience the pull between food that is processed and generally “unhealthy” and the farm-to-table concept you may aspire to. I, myself, spent years battling between the desire to feed my kids healthily foods and the desperate desire to maintain my sanity and when push came to shove, I can’t say that healthy eating always prevailed. In fact, my kids favorite story about “junk food” revolves around a time when the hubs was traveling abroad and I was pregnant with our youngest.
I had terrible morning sickness with all of my pregnancies except the second one (if my oldest son happens to be reading this, now you know why you’re the favorite)! Just walking into the grocery store was a mixed bag with all its smells. On this particular day I was desperate for a break and particularly nauseous. Meal prep was not going to happen in my house!
We drove to the local McDonalds where my car-full of pajama clad children eagerly shouted out their menu requests. Chicken nuggets all around!
(Cue the horrified gasps and tweet this): [clickToTweet tweet=”Newsflash! @FITness_MOMents confesses to eating @McDonalds #whatafraud #lol” quote=”Fitness Moments’ confesses to eating McDonalds! #lol”]
It seemed like I was going to make it through this particularly bad wave of nausea, until we rounded the corner of the drive-thru lane and I rolled down the car window. The dumpster, at this location, had inconveniently been placed just before the window where you pay and pick up your food.
Bad news for this Momma!
Although I managed to pay for the kid’s food, while holding down the pressure that was slowly building in the back of my throat, two Happy Meals in I couldn’t hold it any longer!
I had choice: Blow chow all over myself and the car, or make the ultimate sacrifice–as my kids shrieked hysterically in the background that their Happy Meals were ruined! (You know what a car-full of shrieking kids sounds like right? It must’ve sounded like they were being beaten in the back seat)!
I mean, what’s a Mom to do?!
Fortunately for me, the lady at the drive-thru window was the compassionate sort. It didn’t take a genius to see a crying Mom with a big belly, a bag of ruined Happy Meals, and four crying kiddos–ages 10 and under–to understand that I definitely “deserved a break”. She replaced the Happy Meals free of charge and graciously took the spoiled ones from my hands.
I have to admit, to this day the kids (that baby in my belly is now 13) and I can’t look at a McDonalds drive-thru without recounting that story!
I won’t say that that was the “magic moment”, when I turned away from fast-food and started growing my own vegetables in the back yard, but it was a start in the long journey to where I am now.
Maybe you don’t love cooking either. Maybe cooking isn’t fun, it takes too much time, or you hate feeling like you’re in a rut. Believe me, although I can and do cook quite well (heck, I even share recipes) 😉 I still feel that way at times too.
Good nutrition can seem like it’s common sense, but sometimes you just want someone to take the stress and anxiety out of it for you! That’s exactly what I do, so if you’re interested in learning more, connect with me here—>click this link!
In the meantime, check out my Top 5 Tips For Making Cooking Fun!
Top 5 Tips For Making Cooking Fun!
Tip #1: Check out new recipes
Sometimes just seeing the beautiful food photos and reading the recipe can spark some inspiration and fun in your kitchen. You can head to your local bookstore, or look up your favorite nutritionists, chefs, bakers, and other online foodies. Do a quick search on Google or Pinterest to see lots of new ideas.
Perhaps you have some ingredients in your fridge that are just waiting to be eaten.
Pro Tip: Searching through recipes can be so fun and inspiring, and can also end up taking waaaay longer than planned. So, consider setting your timer when you start browsing. The last thing you want is to take so much time looking, that you don’t leave enough time for cooking.
Tip #2: Make grocery shopping fun and inspiring
When you’re at the grocery store, try something that you haven’t had in a while. Is there a seasonal fruit or vegetable you haven’t had in months? What about a childhood favorite? Have you come across something totally delicious at a restaurant or get-together lately, that you’d like to give a try? When my oldest was in the hospital, I got my inspiration for this delicious Fall Recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Salad from the hospital cafeteria of all places!
Tip #3: Keep it simple
I’m not a Chef, but my younger brother is! Back when he lived with us several years ago, I asked him what his #1 secret was to preparing good meals! Sometimes when I see a great food picture, I immediately get inspired to make it. Not the best idea when you’re crunched for time! But if I look at the ingredients or instructions and they’re too long, I stop. While there are times when I’m inspired and dive into a new great recipe; when I’m not all that inspired, I remind myself to keep things simple.
A few ways to keep things simple are to:
- Search for recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients, and five or fewer instructions;
- Search for recipes that can be made in one pot or pan
- Buy ingredients that are ready to cook with (pre-washed salad greens, diced squashes, frozen vegetables, etc.)
Tip #4: Turn on some music or share the joy!
Do you have kids that need to learn the critical life skill of cooking? Perhaps your partner would love to join you? What about having a “cooking party” where everyone brings something and pitches in on the process? These are just a few ways to take the boredom out of cooking and involve someone else! I discovered my youngest daughter is an excellent cook by doing this! Missing ingredients don’t overwhelm her in the slightest and she’s a wiz at jazzing things up with things I wouldn’t even dream of adding to my recipe!
Tip #5 If none of the other tips work for you, invest in some kitchen swag!
Having proper kitchen tools makes cooking so much easier and faster. When’s the last time you sharpened your knives or bought yourself some new ones? (We just brought our knives to Sur La Table for a sharpening and I’m here to tell you, it makes a huge difference in terms of decreasing the “frustration factor”)! Could dicing carrots with a dull knife be sucking the fun out of your cooking experience? Does the idea of different shapes and textures make food sound more fun and interesting? My kids are Pros at making their own smoothies, using last year’s Birthday present (my Vitamix) and I’ve been having fun in the kitchen trying to figure out new dishes to make with my Spiralizer! Having kitchen toys that you enjoy using, actually makes you feel like a boss in the kitchen! Have you seen my handheld submersible mixer? It’s the same one I use to make my Organic Olive Oil and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
You know that cooking at least 80% of your meals at home, is key to healthy eating. And, yes, cooking does get boring from time to time. Maybe one (or all) of my fun cooking tips will inspire you to get into your kitchen and start having some fun while cooking! I’m sure your body will thank you for it!
Founder and Creator of Fitness MOMents® LLC
Trish Marmo is on a one woman mission to help Moms everywhere maintain their sanity, feel amazing and get their bodies back–even if your “babies” are in College! If you like what you’ve read here, be sure to share on Social Media! Comments and feedback are always welcome! <3