I don’t like to cook. I’m not a fan of baking, I can’t stand grocery shopping, and I don’t enjoy gardening. Basically, I’m averse to almost everything related to food. Even eating often feels like a chore.

I realize this is difficult for some people to fathom. If you happen to be the sort of person who loves spending time in the kitchen, who finds cooking relaxing, and who delights in savoring your well-crafted culinary concoctions, then this post is not for you. I honor you, I envy you even, but we are not the same.

I know I’m not alone.

Maybe I’m making up for the years I OBSESSED over food while struggling with an eating disorder. Or maybe I simply happen to have a billion other ways I’d rather spend my time. It doesn’t really matter why I’m this way. I just am.

Thankfully, I married someone who enjoys cooking and gardening. He tends to the chickens (who, I’ll admit, scare the shit out of me. Those feet!) and does the dirty, sweaty labor required for growing our own food. Turns out, my urban roots run deeper than either of us imagined.

That said, I don’t like being dependent on anyone else for something as basic as nourishment. There are times when I need to take care of myself and, to be honest, my husband and I don’t have the same culinary palate. I can only eat so much curry and I’d be fine if I never ate mashed potatoes.

The good news is, I’m not picky and I enjoy eating healthy foods. The bad news is, eating healthy requires more effort than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or munching Dorito’s straight out of the bag. I’ll admit that I’m no expert on the subject of simple, nutritious meal prep. But there are a few things I’ve learned over the years.

Suck it up, Buttercup.

Until I can afford to invest in a personal chef, I have to do some things I don’t like to do. Trust me, I know it’s a first world problem. And like any other unpleasant task, whining and complaining isn’t going to make it better. It helps to roll up my sleeves and simply get to work.

It’s best to plan ahead.

If you know what you’re going to eat, you can buy and prepare the ingredients in advance, which makes things simpler in the long run. Set aside some time to chop and dice so that when it’s time to make the meals you can easily throw it all together. Put on some good music, an audiobook, or a podcast and get it done.

A good blender is worth its weight in gold.

I love smoothies. Throwing together a bunch of healthy ingredients, pressing a button, and drinking my nutrition makes life so much easier. I always keep fresh greens, frozen fruit, ginger and turmeric around for this purpose. Here are 100 Healthy Smoothie Recipes for you to choose from.

The crockpot isn’t just for Grandma.

Like the blender, the crockpot is another small appliance that allows you to simply throw in food and press a button. So convenient. Check out these Healthy Slow Cooker recipes.

One bowl meals are easy and allow variety.

It’s a simple formula: base ingredient (ie: rice, quinoa) + protein + vegetable + sauce and/or garnish = complete meal with minimal effort. Here are 21 Simple, Healthy Meals in a Bowl.

Breakfast for dinner is a fun option.

Who says you can’t eat eggs and toast in the evening? Throw some veggies into a frittata or an omelet and you’re good to go. Here’s a Super Quick Healthy Vegetable Frittata for you to try, or you can check out these Easy Breakfast for Dinner Recipes.

Sheet pan meals are awesome.

A small bit of effort chopping, some parchment paper and an oven are all that’s required. Easy peasy. Here are 25 Super Easy Sheet Pan Dinners.

Spaghetti is still an easy meal.

I love the ease of boiling pasta and pouring some sauce over it. Thankfully, healthy alternatives such as spaghetti squash and veggie spirals are also easy enough to prepare.

Meal services are an option.

Companies like Hello Fresh and Sun Basket will provide you with everything you need to make a meal. Meanwhile, Freshly or TheGoodKitchen will deliver fully prepared meals. There are also local meal delivery services, like Eden-Out in Asheville, that offer healthier options than restaurant food. For some people, the extra investment may be worth time and energy saved.

When in doubt, watch videos.

YouTube is a treasure trove of discovery. This video offers a good primer for people who don’t enjoy cooking. Here are some good tips for how to meal prep. This video is a lovely self disclosure that offers support for overcoming anxiety about cooking.

I’ll never love preparing food but since living requires eating, I might as well acclimate myself to the kitchen as best I can. If you’re like me, I hope you found this post helpful. If you’re not like me, I’d love to be your dinner guest sometime😉 (whenever we get out of quarantine, of course).

With Love & Compassion,

Adina Arden Cooper

I'm a healer, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.

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