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There are days that figuring out what to eat for dinner can feel like a monumental task. And while I do find the act and art of cooking to be enjoyable and therapeutic, there are many days I lack motivation cooking for myself. I am lucky to live in an area with lots of healthy and organic food options to eat out, however, nothing beats a home cooked meal where you have control over food sanitation and quality of ingredients. I have been making a conscious effort to improve my health lately including exercising more frequently (the life of a psychotherapist is terribly sedentary) and eating at home more. After my own trial and error, getting creative, and finding what works for me, I’ve noticed a few strategies that have lead to success, particularly after a long day of work when I’m cranky.

  1. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Isn’t it annoying when mothers are right? My mom use to tell me this one. Eating a little snack before the days end can help curb a sense of urgency allowing for better meal planning including making conscious choices.
  2. Master a few dishes.  On my drive home from work, I refer to my cookbook. Basically the rotating meals I have mastered and are stored in my head. I’m a girl with particular preferences and when I’ve mastered something I like, I can eat it often without getting bored. The predictability of knowing what you’re going to make and knowing you’ve made it before with success can make dinner time less overwhelming.
  3. Plan ahead.   As a single gal at present, my planning ahead of purchasing ingredients can sometimes take the shape of “in the moment”. I do know this is not realistic nor preferable for everyone particularly those with families, etc. This tends to work for me as I pass a natural food co-op on my way home from work and get only what I need for a day or two.  Having a list and staying focused on the ingredients needed for the meal is helpful.