How to Overcome Cooking Fatigue

The past 6 months of the pandemic have been…. well, unpredictable, to say the least. With more people than ever working remotely, and having very limited options of public spaces we can escape to, the amount of time we spend at home has skyrocketed. And although restaurants have created new innovative no-touch pick-up and delivery options, Americans are still cooking at home more frequently than we were at the beginning of the year. And, as the pandemic continues, many of us are hitting a very unfortunate new obstacle: cooking fatigue.

Cooking fatigue is a relatively new wide-spread problem that many may have felt on a more micro-scale in the past. With limited trips to the grocery store and a general feeling of restlessness, cooking fatigue is characterized by a lack of interest and creativity with home cooking. According to a report from Acosta, 55% of people are eating at home more frequently during the pandemic, but 25% of shoppers have reported being tired of home cooking. For many, cooking has been a new found love during this time – but for others, it’s another chore.

If you’re experiencing cooking fatigue, here are a few ways you can break out of your rut and find a renewed passion for cooking at home.

  1. Give yourself a challenge – This can be as simple or complex as you would like. Set a goal for yourself. Make it a weekly thing, or even a daily goal. Try making one new dish a week. Come up with your own version of Chopped where you select 5 random ingredients from your pantry and make a dish out of them. The possibilities are endless. By giving yourself a task to complete with cooking, you may start to come up with creative ways to step-up your meals using the tools and resources you already have.
  2. Cook with others (safely) – If you live with family or friends, make cooking a communal activity. Set aside one night a week where you come together as a group to make a meal. If you live alone, set-up a video call date with a loved one and make the same recipe together. By making cooking a collaborative effort you’ll relieve some of the pressure you may be having to cook.
  3. Utilize meal kits – If you have the means to do so, sign-up for a trial of a meal kit service. Sites like Hello Fresh, or Blue Apron offer unique meal kits that give you all the ingredients you need to make a meal. There are also smaller companies that offer more locally-sourced meal kits using ingredients from local farmers and distributors. Try out a few recipes and find the ones you like, and as you start to get comfortable with them you can try making them on your own and putting your own spin on them.
  4. Crowd-source ideas – In our opinion, sites like Facebook and Youtube are often overlooked when searching for recipes. If you’re in the mood for something specific, try searching for it on Youtube. Once you find a recipe and creator you enjoy, follow them, and watch more of their content. Also, try joining private Facebook groups. There are hundreds of groups that cater to various dietary preferences where real people share their favorite recipes. Although these groups are considered private, joining them is fairly quick and easy.
  5. Follow your favorite brands – If you are a loyal customer of a specific brand, follow them on Instagram or Facebook. Brands often share recipes that they develop using the products you already enjoy, as well as recipes their fans have created. This is a great way to use products you would already purchase but in a new way.

Cooking fatigue can be quite troublesome and can happen to anyone. The best tip we have for those who are tired of cooking at home is to do what you can to mix up your normal routine. Start small and work your way up to something more challenging. Once you find that sweet spot and are starting to feel more excited about cooking, don’t stop. Keep trying new things. Force yourself to think outside of the box, and come up with new and exciting ways to keep home cooking a positive experience in your life.

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