I usually love cooking. But during my temporary stay in New Zealand, missing my well stocked kitchen, garden and markets, my mojo has waned.
In the past I’ve relished the creativity born from limitation. A couple of weeks of remote bush camping with a one burner stove, limited spices and no fresh ice or vegetables to replenish the esky? No problem!
Right now, cooking up to three meals a day solo, just feels like an endless slog. The cure? I’ve found some hacks that have helped me eat well during this slump. However, it’s ok to give yourself permission to take it easier in the kitchen – as long as you’ve got the basics covered.
Include at least 5 different types of vegetables and 2 serves of fruits a day.
Protein: plant foods like nuts, whole grains and legumes are handy pantry staples and a great source of vegetarian protein.
Omnivores: just add steamed or raw vegetables to simply cooked animal foods like meat, fish and eggs, for a satisfying meal.
Healthier supermarket staples:
- Frozen berries are full of nutritional goodies and add flavour to easy breakfasts like cereal or smoothies
- Falafels and veggies burgers
- Refrigerated soups, curries and stews
- Red lentils (you can make this versatile dahl in 30 minutes)
- Canned beans
- Canned tomatoes or passata
- Canned fish
- Jarred artichokes to enliven a salad or make a delicious spread
- Olives for a salty snack instead of chips and crackers
- Bags of pre-chopped fresh vegetables or salad mix are a better option than no veg at all
- Aromatics like onions, garlic or fresh ginger, make almost any meal taste better!
- Spices: cumin and coriander seeds are versatile for Asian and Middle Eastern flavours, or combinations like garam masala or curry paste
- Lemons or limes and a pinch of sea salt ‘brighten’ the flavour of most food including steamed vegetables
If you’ve totally lost your mojo, or are too busy to shop, consider a healthy meal subscription service for a couple of weeks. There are so many companies offering fresh meal kits, most include plant-based, low carb or keto options.
While outsourcing your shopping and meal prep can be a costlier option, sometimes it can save money by eating at home, not wasting unused produce and help avoid snacking on junk. The more creative companies can also expose you to new tastes and easy to prepare recipes. A perfect cooking mojo kickstarter!
Take a look at this recently curated list of Australian meal services put together by Beanstalk, with a comprehensive list of kits and fully premade meals, with lots of healthy choices.
A friend recently test drove a popular New Zealand company and gave it the thumbs up for taste, variety and ease. I’m tempted by their plant-based weekly meals.
When cooking still feels too much
This has been a rough year, so be kind to yourself if you’ve lost your cooking mojo.
Revisit simple pleasures, such as a boiled egg or blanched asparagus.
If nothing else, focus on keeping your water uptake around 2 litres a day, and ease off the caffeine and alcohol.
If you’ve been skimping on fresh fruit and vegetables, add in a daily Vitamin C supplement because scurvy has made a comeback in Australia!
Consider adding a good quality multivitamin (preferably one prescribed by your naturopath, so you get the most appropriate supplement for your individual needs) if you’ve been skimping on eating well in recent weeks or months.
Remember to be gentle with yourself and those around you through these challenging times. If you’re struggling with your health,
I’m here to help.