16 Ways to Become Get Inspired to Cook
The daily grind can leave us feeling stressed, and cooking is often seen as just another chore to add to an already busy schedule. Without time to plan, prepare, and cook a meal for ourselves we resort to take-out or fast food. And while those options are admittedly convenient sometimes there comes a point where the expense adds up and you feel like you’re stuck in a hole from which it seems impossible to escape. It’s high time we start thinking of cooking as not only something we do on the weekends but rather as something that can result in both home-cooked meals worth bragging about and stress relief that leads us back into our lives refreshed.
How to get inspired to cook
Involve yourself in social activities
Social activities are a perfect way to get inspired. Don’t be afraid to go out and throw a dinner party or plan a group date night at your house. Even if you aren’t joining the fun just showing up and having a friendly face show up can inspire new ideas for dinner or drinks.
Learn from other people’s recipes
Take a look around you for interesting recipes that other people have put on the internet. You know, stuff that would normally never see the light of day written in front of your eyes or in front of your computer screen? Take those few seconds, go read through it, maybe even take it to heart and try it yourself when the time comes. Many people are afraid to try out new things and so they write it down, put it up on a blog, or share it with their friends in person. The more you read about it the more ideas will spark in your mind.
Experiment with recipes you already know
Sometimes when we want to try something new but we don’t want to completely venture out into uncharted territory we end up just playing around with an old recipe of ours instead of trying something new. What you may not know is that sometimes this results in the most creative and delicious concoctions! So don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit by adding different ingredients, using different cooking methods, or serving the finished food in a new way for example.
Go to the grocery store and just buy the stuff you like
If you’re not sure what to prepare for dinner tonight—just go grocery shopping and buy things that you like and that would likely go well together. Things like chicken, celery, onions, pepper, or other vegetables. You oftentimes don’t have to be a super creative genius with a flourish or even a recipe—just make sure you have all the ingredients in your house so when hunger strikes there’s no need to run down to the corner store for something right away.
We all have the internet at our fingertips where we can search for recipes, but we also have cookbooks! It’s easy to let our cookbooks collect dust when they take up space on a shelf or in a cupboard. But sometimes all we need is a little prodding to get us going again. Buy yourself some new cookbooks every once in a while and make sure you keep them up to date with fresh pages and post-its. This way you’ll always have something new and interesting to try.
Surprise yourself: go with the flow
Many times we are not really inspired because we are not open enough to new experiences. What if this is the day that you have to go into work super early and don’t have time to cook? What if you don’t feel like cooking a meal right now? You might be surprised how many “non-cooking” options there actually are. Maybe you can make a smoothie. Or toast some bread, spread jam on it, and toss it in the oven. Or, make scrambled eggs with whatever veggies you have on hand. If nothing comes to mind try Googling “quick and easy dinner ideas”.
Make a list of all the things you like
Everybody likes to eat some things more than others. Maybe you like it when your food is spicy, or maybe it’s cool and refreshing and you prefer light meals. Write down a few words that describe what kind of food you like eating and have in the cupboards or fridge. If all else fails, this might give you some ideas on how to put together a dish for yourself once that hunger strikes.
Plan your meals ahead of time
This might seem counterproductive to step #2 where we suggested learning from other people’s recipes but hear us out on this one. Sometimes we get so excited to try out a new recipe that we forget to plan ahead. It’s very important to remember that planning is the first step on a long journey. Plan your menu at least two days ahead of time and then only check it again with the ingredients you need and cooking times when you start cooking. This way your meal will already be planned and ready to cook when you are!
Take a cooking class
Get out of the house! This might be the step that pushes you over the edge and inspires you to get your butt in gear. Sign up for a cooking class at your local community college, YMCA, or senior center. You will learn new skills and you also meet new people! You’ll even be surprised how much you can learn from each other about food and maybe even life.
Make it your goal to try a new recipe every week
You’re going to be doing this no matter what, so why not make it fun and interesting for yourself? Try convincing your friends to join you. Or if that’s not an option maybe encourage yourself to go out and buy a new cookbook each time you stop at the bookstore or library. This will probably take up an entire shelf in your home and be super irritating, but once you get the hang of it this way you’ll have no problem coming up with delicious recipes that are easy to make. Start small and work towards trying some from each type of cookbook on the shelf!
Switch up your routine with the seasons
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to eat salads all season. In the summer, fruit and veggies are in abundance so why not try making some different kinds of smoothies or experimenting with some salad recipes? Try getting inspiration from local farmer’s markets or your own garden to do something you’ve never done before. For winter, maybe you can try out some hot drinks? Or you can learn how to make hearty comfort food meals that will warm you up on cold snowy days. Your body is always changing and adapting so why not change your diet too?
Plan your meals for the week
Ok I know this one sounds a little crazy, but it’s so important! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to buy something or to eat something. This is not the way to live. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time so that you always have food at home or at work. And don’t forget that each of those ingredients can be used in multiple ways (check out this post about substituting dry beans).
Call a friend
If all else fails call up a friend to have lunch with them! You’ll get some social time in and you can learn from each others’ knowledge about food. And who knows, maybe you can come up with an awesome new recipe to show off. 🙂
Look for inspiration everywhere!
Check out food blogs! There are thousands of websites that exist to post recipes online for everyone to enjoy. If you find one that looks interesting, try it out and see how it tastes! Continue adding more and more recipes into your repertoire until you find one (or many!) that work well for your diet plan.
A clean organized kitchen makes you want to cook
When I’m in a kitchen that’s well organized, I want to cook. Having everything tucked away makes me feel like an organized person (I’ve been told it has something to do with the psychological concept of “orderliness theory”). And when there are so many delicious-looking recipes available for the taking, it’s hard not to get inspired.
Keep records of your recipes
While this tip may seem a bit obvious, it can be really helpful! You can have a file on your computer or in your recipe notebook that has a written description of what each recipe is, what ingredients are needed, and how you turned out with the recipe last time . Some people have a hard time cooking without the recipe in front of them, while others prefer to just feel their way through it. If you are someone who wants or needs to follow a recipe precisely, get yourself a cookbook that has written instructions for each step.
What is your level of cooking ability? Are you a beginner? An intermediate? Or an expert? Think about the types of recipes that you find easy as well as the ones you find difficult. If you don’t think that you will enjoy cooking something because it is too difficult, then don’t do it! Try to find recipes that will be fun for you and make sure to try recipes that challenge your skills, too.