I often find myself daydreaming about having a live in chef. You may be thinking, aren’t you a dietitian that shares recipes? Listen, I like to cook, I actually REALLY like to cook. I like to experiment and think about new combinations, but having a family and a business that centers around food there are still times that I don’t want to cook and need some dinnertime inspiration.
Have you found yourself in this dilemma? Your stomach says Pinterest-worthy meal, but your brain is on overload, here are few of my favorite tips to bust through that cooking funk and rediscover dinnertime inspiration:
Dig through the freezer
I hate to have my first tip require cooking, when we’ve already established that this is when you have no desire to cook. However, preparing extra meals that you can keep in your freezer for days that you lack dinnertime inspiration, because we all know they will come, prevents you from being at the mercy of whatever package frozen foods you find in your grocery store. One of our favorite meals to make and freeze is Freezer-Friendly butternut squash enchiladas . There are also several places in Kansas City that offer freezer meal exchanges and cooking classes so you can make freezer meals in bulk and just pull them out as needed.
Avoid imposter syndrome
Up until recently the weeknight dinner table was one of routine. It wasn’t uncommon to have spaghetti every Monday night, or meatloaf once a week. It’s true, in general, there was a lot less variety and meals had a lot less hype. (Imagine how boring those Instagram feeds would have been). If you are lacking inspiration or motivation sometimes the answer isn’t to turn to Pinterest or Instagram but instead to shut those off. Perfect Pinterest or Instagram dishes can make you feel like a failure if you are serving your family boring old tacos AGAIN! Going back to the basics and not always viewing food as something needing improvement or perfection may be just the thing to help your dinnertime inspiration. Plan out your meals with a simple schedule like this:
Monday – Sheet pan veggies
Tuesday – Tacos
Wednesday – Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday – Spaghetti with Banza Pasta
Friday – Pizza
Try a cook-it-yourself meal prep service or a meal delivery service
Although we are an e-mail driven society, we all still love getting snail mail. Imagine getting dinner delivered in your mail box. These subscription programs package all the food and supply the recipe too. All you have to do is the final cooking step. These would be companies like Sunbasket, Hello Fresh, or Blue Apron. Here is another dietitian’s review on some of the top meal delivery services.
Try a no-cook meal prep or meal delivery service
No-cook meal prep services come in individual packages and are portioned and fully prepared. These types of services aren’t just for individuals wanting a whole week of meals, this can be a great option for someone that wants a few meals a week to take a break from cooking but doesn’t want to always eat out or eat convenience foods.
I tried three different Kansas City based services and there really is something out there for everyone. If you haven’t heard of Evolve, Brookside Holistic Solutions, Rawsome Nutrition or Fitstyle Foods let me introduce you and help you narrow down which one might be a good fit for you:
From Riverside to Olathe and Blue Springs to Bonner Springs it doesn’t really matter where you live in Kansas City there is a location that is convenient for you. FitStyle Foods has seven locations across Kansas City, including Brookside Holistic Solutions in Lee’s Summit where I got mine. Rawsome Nutrition is also available at Brookside Holistic, so you place one order and can pick up both at the same time.
Evolve has 4 locations in Kansas City: Overland Park where I got mine, Briar Cliff, Liberty, and the Crossroads. Plus for my non-Kansas City readers it is also available in seven other midwest cities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Iowa.
Special Dietary Requirements
Vegetarian/Vegan: If you follow a vegetarian or a vegan diet Rawsome Nutrition has some amazing varieties. I loved the nacho “cheese” and “meat” crumbles, they have a great authentic texture and traditional vegan taste. If you want to experiment with more plant-based options these are the meals for you. I will warn you that if you are trying to trick a friend or family member into thinking there is meat or cheese these substitutions, while very tasty, are not similar enough to fool the meat-lovers palate.
Paleo/Gluten-Free: For those following a Paleo diet, or needing to be gluten-free, Evolve’s chef prepared meals are the way to go. Although you do a quick heat up of most of these meals you will feel like you’ve had a chef in your home. The Evolve meals were my favorite out of the bunch with many unique varieties to pick from including Asian Ahi Tuna Salad and Chicken Fried Chicken.
Macros: Both FitStyle Foods and Evolve help those wanting to count their Macros by providing the macro content of each dish both on their website and right on the container.
With all these ideas I’m feeling inspired, how about you? How do you come back from a lack of inspiration?