Kitchen Procrastination Fix

On January 31, 2015, in General, by Anne Bergman

Procrastination affects many of us. Sometimes the task at hand can be put off for a little while, but when it comes to feeding our families or just one person, we can’t put it off for very long. No interest in getting food can be due to many things, including boredom, stress, lack of skills, low self confidence, or health issues affecting your emotions, your hunger or your drive.  Closely tied, is a lack of inspiration.  You may not even have ideas on where to call for take out, let alone on what to make. Even people who love to cook, have days when they run out of steam.  If you are the kind of person who really has no interest, or no inspiration to make a meal, here are some ideas to help get you to a meal.

On the days when this happens to me, I usually feel tired, not particularly hungry, and would be happier to go to bed or read a book cover to cover.  Thankfully, there are children about to remind me about hunger. They could feed themselves, but the point is that I have to get myself motivated and onto the task of making dinner. We will all be hungry, and dinner is when we eat together. Here are some tricks and tips I use to get through my total disinterest in making dinner.

Mindset tricks – These are thoughts that help motivate me:
Take out will take too long, will cost more money than it is worth, and I won’t like it as much as I think I will.  Take out still requires choices to be made, and that is usually what deflates me the most.  We enjoy takeout much more when it is a choice made as a treat, rather than a crutch or default.
What would I make/serve if I had to feed 15 people right now, for a TV reality show?  Suddenly four seems manageable.
It doesn’t have to be fresh.  Of course that would be best, but if all you have, or all you have time/energy for is something out of a can or the freezer, that is perfect for right now.
Every meal doesn’t have to include all parts of anyone’s perfect dietary recommendation.  As long as our diets balance out over the course of a day, maybe even two, it’s ok if there are not lots of vegetables at dinner.  I fill the fridge with lots of plants (fruits and vegetables).  When we are making our lunches, grabbing ready made fresh snacks is a very easy option.  So I know that by the time dinner time comes around, I don’t have to worry about it on that day when I don’t feel like thinking about dinner.

If shortcuts such as canned foods are a habit rather than an occasional support, send me an email and I’ll write an article with ideas on how to change those habits.
Practical tips:
Make a cheat sheet of possibilities for those scramble days.  Get everyone involved.  When everyone understands that the chef has off days, you never know what might happen!
Have a dish or two in the freezer or the pantry for such days.  It could be something from a favourite restaurant, or prepared foods, such as a jar of sauce and a package of noodles. Of course it could be a home made meal too!
Remember, every culture has some form of noodles and sauce, so pick a country and try a new version of “pasta and jar sauce”.  Maybe Thai style: broth, rice noodles, whatever protein you have, and any vegetable that might be available.  Relevant condiments, such as soy sauce, fish sauce, coriander pesto…Make it up.
Keep your kitchen stocked.  Think of the basic ingredients you can keep in the pantry, fridge and freezer to make life easy and delicious.  Make your kitchen a convenience store. Foods that are right for you, in convenient formats.
Finally, I know you may not want to hear this one, but making some form of a plan in advance really helps.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, but taking a few minutes to scratch some ideas ahead of time will take a lot of the thinking out of the last minute meal making.

Each person is different, and each family member adds to the matrix of possibilities (and challenges) around meals.  My Kitchen Scorecard helps clients assess their own kitchens and habits. Together we figure out which of my other tools will help them the most. Taking charge of meals, effectively stocking your kitchen and knowing what you are eating is a powerful skill. I call it being a director.  When the kitchen is prepared for meals, everyone wins. Give me a call to talk about how you can become a powerful Kitchen Director.

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