“I like to cook, but for other people.”
“When I am on my own; I just do not see the point of preparing food for myself; I cannot finish it all off on my own.
” I do not like to plan.”
I hear comments like these often. For me these are just excuses that these individuals have been conditioned to believe. This may come off as judgmental, however I have observed that people who tell me these things, are eating a lot of highly processed foods. Another thing I have observed is that the people that have told me these things usually complain about their sugar intake, go on drastic crash diets and fasts at some point, or suffer from some stomach ailment.
Personally, I find it annoying when people comment on my eating habits. I usually get these comments like “oh wow its insane how much effort you put in.” “I simply could not cook like you, I have too much to do.” I do not understand why the normal act of cooking needs to be commented on so much. Let us get something straight, cooking for yourself and preparing food for yourself is part of being human. Without food we as humans do not function.
Some people try to go for long stretches without food and trick themselves that they do not need adequate quantities of food because they are “so zen”. For me this just sounds like an eating disorder, as it is a matter of disciplining yourself and restricting only to binge on a whole bar of chocolate at night.
However, I do not mean to say that everyone who does not cook for themselves fits the above outlined scenarios. I get comments about my cooking especially from white cis males, who ridicule my cooking and try to gaslight me by saying that I am too extreme with my cooking habit. I assume that these individuals come from households where the parents do the cooking and that they have socially acceptable body types that they simply do not need to think about cooking. I get comments from women as well mainly women who are thin and do not experience social stigma for their body types, other times they question me buying of organic produce as if I should not be buying organic.
But I won’t let these negative comments slow me down. Cooking for myself is an act of self-preservation, it is my way of caring for myself. I have noticed that my mood and the way I think and feel all depends on how my nutrition and digestion is taken care of.
This post is for those that simply find it difficult to take care of themselves and cook for themselves by themselves and for themselves. No worries darling, I got you covered, it is simple. It may be boring at first, but you can do it.
As a side note, I am currently in a long-distance relationship myself, so I have been cooking a lot for myself and to be honest I know what it is like to be unmotivated to cook for yourself. So here is a very doable checklist to get you started on cooking for yourself, let’s get it!
1. Meal Prep
Meal prepping is a great tool, which will assure that you always have self-cooked food available. To meal prep you need five things:
- Rice cooker (optional but also essential if you are highly unmotivated)
- Some carbohydrate: rice, millet, cornflour, potatoes
-Get a rice cooker! At the push of a button, you can prep your legumes and you can make your rice and millet. The best part of a rice cooker is that you do not need to take care of anything or worry that something will get burnt, as it automatically switches off when everything is done.
-Prepare your veggies by simply chopping them up, place on a baking tray, drizzle them with your favourite oil (if you are oil free use water), massage in your favourite spices and shove in the oven and bake till ready.
During meal prep to avoid loneliness I would recommend listening to a podcast or to some feel good tunes, trust me it really helps.
-Now that you have prepped your meals, put everything in a separate Tupperware and once cooled place in the fridge. I always make dressings as well that I then drizzle on my food. I make different dressings so that even though the base of my food is the same; veggies, carbohydrate and legumes the dressing always differs which adds a different flavour. Here is one of my fave tahini dressing recipe:
|What you will need:
1 Tbsp of tahini
½ tsp of honey or molasses
½ tsp of miso
1 Tbsp of lemon
1 tsp of apple cider
Chilli flakes (optional)
Mix everything in a small bowl with a whisk and place in a small tightly sealed jar. Drizzle on food when serving or just before consumption.
-For legume recipes there are a ton of things that you can make, think daal, or coconut mung beans, bean chilli.
2. Prepare a tray of something sweet
If you like sweets or always need desert than prepare a tray of something sweet. I personally like to make a big tray of sweet potato brownies, that I cut into squares. I freeze half of the brownies so that they do not go bad. Another alternative is making energy balls or banana bread.
3. Autopilot Breakfast
In winter I always eat the same breakfast which is oatmeal. This is my go to breakfast and it does not change it is part of my morning routine, since I already know what I will be having for breakfast I do not have to think too much about it.
I would recommend finding something that you always have for breakfast as well, something that remains constant.
However, if you get bored quickly of having the same thing every day then switch up the toppings or alternate between two things that you like. You could also designate a day on the weekend when you will make a special breakfast like pancakes or a chickpea omelette.
Invite a friend over on weekends and have breakfast with them or eat with your flatmates/family on weekends or when you have time.
4. Soup for Dinner
I would recommend making a super quick soup for dinner. Soups are warming and if you are someone that maybe does not snack or goes for long hours between meals because of classes or work, soups are a good idea. Soups are super easy to make so make sure to always have a veggie bouillon (aka vegetable stock) at home.
If you do not want to wash up or anything grab your favourite soup bowl; boil water in a water cooker; take a desired portion of your vegetable stock and place it in your bowl; add boiling water into your bowl and stir; now add the veggies from your meal prep; add legumes from meal prep; you can also add the carb from your meal prep: then top with lemon juice and freshly chopped herbs; add your choice of spices and enjoy!
*Tip- buy a bunch of fresh herbs wash them and freeze them, these herbs last you ages and can always be used when you need them.
5.Remember this is for you
Remember that cooking for yourself is an act of self-love. Yes, I know that some of you may not relate to this, as you have always felt love or maybe you never have, and it is difficult for you to cut out time for yourself because someone told you it is wasteful. Self-care and self-love does not always have to be cultivated by doing extraordinary things on the contrary I think that it is the little day to day things that add up like cooking for yourself. You do not need to cook something extravagant either, all you really need is simple ingredients, ingredients that you can understand. Beans, rice and spinach so simple yet so nutritious. I hope this list is of some help!
Do not hesitate to reach out to me and share your ideas and questions in the comment section below or send me a mail. Now go on you got this 😊