What to do when you just don’t know what to cook? Or you just can’t get yourself motivated to cook something and everything just seems kinda boring? Here are 7 tips for when you just don’t know what to cook and need some inspiration and motivation!
What to do when you don’t know what to cook
Tip 1: Check your fridge, freezer and pantry
Checking what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry is a good starting point when you don’t know what to cook. When I feel unmotivated, I like to check what vegetables or other food items I have that I really need to use up. Then I come up with a recipe around that.
This is also a great way to reduce waste and avoid throwing out food because it’s spoiled.
Tip 2: Look at a seasonal calendar
What is a seasonal calendar? A seasonal calendar shows you for each month of the year, which fruits and vegetables are currently in season. In season means a crop can be grown and harvested locally, usually open land (without heated greenhouses).
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and you keep cooking the same things over and over again, seasonal calendars can be a great help! Find one for the current month and pick a new fruit or vegetable that you haven’t tried.
This is a great way to try out new things and also enjoy local, seasonal produce which tends to be cheaper and doesn’t have to be shipped around the globe.
Tip 3: Think of your favorite restaurant
Think back to the last time you went to a really good restaurant and had a really good meal. Why don’t you try to recreate that dish? I personally love going to restaurants and looking at the menu because it gives me so many ideas what I could cook!
Tip 4: Think back to your last vacation or your favorite travel destination
We often attach so many memories to food – especially when we travel. Trying out local dishes and new restaurants is one of the things I enjoy most about traveling.
Think back to your favorite vacation and then think about a meal that you enjoyed on that trip. Or maybe, you have a travel destination on your bucket list and want to cook something that you are looking forward to. It can also be a great way to escape the stress of everyday life.
Tip 5: Try out a new cuisine
Trying out new cuisines has been a game changer for my cooking! Before, I was kinda stuck with the same ingredients and spices. Trying new cuisines introduced me to so many spices, ingredients and ways of preparing foods that I didn’t know before!
I really encourage you to check out Helen from @ethiopianfoodie for delicious vegan Ethiopian recipes and Carlo from @vecaliciously for vegan Italian recipes. They both also have amazing cookbooks!
Tip 6: Keep it simple
You don’t have to re-invent cooking every time you make something. Sometimes, simple is best.
What I like to do is have a few simple, basic recipes and then I can tweak them a little bit each time and add something different. Adding different spices or different toppings like fresh herbs and nuts and seeds can really change a recipe and make it more exciting.
Check out my guide “how to easily make balanced & healthy vegan meals” for more tips!
Tip 7: Don’t stress yourself
It’s totally normal to not feel like cooking sometimes. I mean, I really, really enjoy cooking and it’s also part of my job of running a food blog – but there are days when I just don’t feel like cooking or don’t know what to cook at all. And that is okay.
What helps me is having some ready-to-eat frozen meals on hand. Curries or chili work really great for that. And also, sometimes I just make a really simple meal like whole grain bread and hummus/peanut butter. Or I’ll have breakfast for dinner.
What do you do when you don’t know what to cook?
Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!