The Obstacle Meter – 31: Willingness/Desire to Cook

31: Willingness/Desire to Cook

I have little to no desire to cook.

I read some market research not too long ago that said

45% of Americans hate cooking

45% of Americans are neutral to cooking

10% of Americans actually like cooking

If you do not like cooking, it looks like you are not alone.  I do not particularly enjoy cooking either, but I choose to cook knowing that

  1. The more you cook, the easier it is to eat healthy.
  2. The more you eat out, the more difficult it is to eat healthy (there are too many temptations).
  3. Eating out is expensive, cooking saves me money.
  4. Cooking allows me to have leftovers for a day or two.
  5. At the end of a long day, I would rather be at home cooking than out an expensive and/or unhealthy dinner.

Having to cook a meal at the end of a long day can feel like a real chore but there are a few things that can make it a little more enjoyable (or at least tolerable).


Have a Cocktail and Listen to Music: having a couple of drinks, dancing, and listening to music while preparing dinner puts me in a much better mood and makes cooking much more enjoyable.  The only time I really dance is in the kitchen.

Buy a Portable Speaker: my wife bought us a BOSE speaker that we can stream music from with our phones.  I used to use my living room stereo to stream music from, but the portable speaker was one of the best investments we ever made.  By itself, my I-Phone is much too quiet over the roar of the fan or the pot of boiling water.

Use a Recipe Manager: I use the Paprika Recipe Manager for my recipe ingredients and directions. I do not have to keep a cookbook open or fumble around with a recipe card.  All of my information is in one organized place.

Involve Others: have someone else cut up the vegetables or brown the meat.  When there are multiple parts to preparing a meal, it is great to split up the work between two people.

Use a Crockpot: start the food in the morning, and then it is already finished when dinner comes.  We try to use a crockpot at least once/week.  It is no fun having to cook every night or even every other night.  Coming home to a meal that is warm and ready to eat is simply, awesome!  Just like packing a lunch, this requires a little more time in the morning, but it is better to put the effort in, in the morning when you are fresh rather than after work when you are exhausted and totally spent.

Use Simple Recipes: cooking does not have to be hard or time consuming.  If a recipe is too complex or time consuming, either save it for the weekend, see if you can cut some corners without compromising taste or delete it from your rotation.  We all like eating good, healthy food but sometimes certain recipes just are not worth the effort it takes to make them.

Use Disposable Plates at Home if You Hate doing Dishes: I hate to even offer this one as a solution since it creates more waste but when push comes to shove, if this will help you eat better, then so be it.

Utilize Your Weekends: meal plan, shop, and cook when you have the energy and the time.  Sunday is also a good day to make a lunch that you can pack with you and eat for Monday – Thursday (i.e., quinoa salad).

When You do Cook, make Large Batches: eat some for lunch or dinner the next day and freeze the rest for later in the week. 

Try Meal Kits and Meal Delivery: meal kits have all of the ingredients for a meal ready for you (i.e., chopped up and measured), all you have to do is cook the meal.  If that is too much work, you can also order meal delivery from companies that specialize in healthy food.  Meal delivery is not the same as ordering food in from a local restaurant, meal delivery tends to be healthier than ordering in from a restaurant.

Eat Cereal: or some other easy to make meal such as sandwiches.  I think there is a certain stigma that we feel when we eat cereal or sandwiches for dinner, but the stigma is more cultural than anything.  The real stigma should/could be going through a fast-food drive through, which is for whatever reason, much more acceptable than eating cereal for dinner, despite the superior nutritional profile of the cereal instead of the fast-food meal.

For me so much of my dislike for cooking comes from the EFFORT vs. REWARD relationship.  If the food I am making takes a fair amount of effort and either a) does not taste tremendous, b) takes a lot of effort, c) does not produce many leftovers thus causing me to have to cook again the next day or d) all of the above, I am probably going to drop that recipe from my rotation.  You do not have to cook to eat healthy but cooking, at least a little bit, makes eating healthy a whole lot easier. 

If you are dead set and absolutely resistant to cooking, then you are going to have to use a combination of meal delivery and pre-made food options from the grocery store (i.e., a rotisserie chicken) AND do your homework before eating out.  If you rely on making a food decision at the restaurant you will be far too tempted to make a poor food decision.  If you are going to eat something that is high calorie at the restaurant, you should plan for it ahead of time and have the added bonus of looking forward to it, much like we do with vacations (sometimes the anticipation of the vacation is as good or better than the actual vacation, food can be the same way).