Author Topic: Being less lazy about cooking  (Read 6383 times)

scottyah

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Being less lazy about cooking
« on: January 30, 2018, 07:55:23 PM »
Basically the problem is that at the grocery store I'm good at getting the basics/fundamentals. I have a good amount of rice, beans, canola oil, spinach etc to where I could make plenty of healthy, cheap meals. The problem is that I never seem to do it. I'd say I skip 3-4 dinners a week just because I don't want to make anything, but am too cheap to go out and buy something. I'll just snack on junk food if its there. Lunches typically consist of two vienna sausage cans and a bag of ramen because I can conveniently keep them at my work, and breakfast is always a protein shake. Then after about a week or two I get so hungry I binge eat at chipotle or McD's and feel bad about it, causing me to return to the basics and the cycle to start again. Another major issue is that a friend will ask if I want to eat out and I say yes, because I know I've been calorie/nutrient deficient.

Has anyone here come from a similar place and fixed it, or do you have any advice on how to overcome this?

Blackeagle

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 08:43:50 PM »
Have you tried making a big batch of something on the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week?  That would only require mustering the motivation to cook once a week, rather than every day.

scottyah

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 08:47:02 PM »
Have you tried making a big batch of something on the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week?  That would only require mustering the motivation to cook once a week, rather than every day.

Yeah, sadly this is the worst part: I get sick of it after 2-3 meals and the rest usually ends up sitting in the back of the fridge until it goes bad :(

missundecided

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 09:15:43 PM »
How about batch cooking more than one thing and freeze them? That way you have more of a rotation to work through.

Zikoris

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 10:19:10 PM »
I usually cook about five or six dishes on the weekend, and find that's enough variety for us - that gives us about three or four portions of each thing, so one or two of each meal per person spread over a week.

damyst

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 01:41:54 AM »
Have you tried making a big batch of something on the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week?  That would only require mustering the motivation to cook once a week, rather than every day.

Yeah, sadly this is the worst part: I get sick of it after 2-3 meals and the rest usually ends up sitting in the back of the fridge until it goes bad :(

I'm the same - I rarely enjoy food that had been sitting in the fridge for more than 2-3 nights.
I've also had limited success with freezing portions - the kind of dishes we like often come out sad and tired, and end up being tossed out.

Our current strategy looks like this:
1. Try to cook twice a week, which gets us most of the way through the week.
2. Develop a menu of simple dishes that can be prepared from scratch and served in under 30 minutes. Mind you there are plenty of recipes that will claim to be ready in under 30 minutes, but that in practice would take two hours of actual time from start to finish. It takes some experimenting to figure out which ones work for you.

11ducks

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2018, 02:33:08 AM »
Can you find a middle ground of quick to prepare meals? Like a can of tuna or chicken nuggets, cooked sausages with those microwave steamed veggie bags, precooked Rice/quinoa cups with bean mix or cold salad stuff? Not the cheapest bit cheaper and healthier than eating snack food and binging on takeaway. You could do a few things in the oven one night (2 of each -sausage rolls, pies, chicken strips)- and eat them with easy sides for lunch and dinner for the next 3 days.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 02:43:56 AM »
I'd say I skip 3-4 dinners a week just because I don't want to make anything, but am too cheap to go out and buy something. I'll just snack on junk food if its there. Lunches typically consist of two vienna sausage cans and a bag of ramen because I can conveniently keep them at my work, and breakfast is always a protein shake.

Make a plan for what you are going to eat or snack on from now. Put that on a shopping list and buy only that. Don't buy any vienna sausages and protein shakes. Buy for example bread, yogurts and bananas instead. Make sure you have good toppings for the bread, so you will enjoy eating it. Then leave your wallet at home when you go to work. You are not allowed to borrow money from your colleagues.
Making some sandwiches for lunch is really just a habit that only takes a few weeks to getting used to. Try it out for a month! And in between the lunch at work you can for example eat a banana and a small yogurt.

If you buy bread, then cut it into daily portions and freeze those. Every night before you go to bed, you take a daily portion out of the freezer. This way you will have reasonably fresh bread every day. Old bread tastes bad in my opinion.
I support the suggestion from the others for binge cooking large portions and freeze in meal portions. You can easily reheat a portion for dinner in the microwave. You need to do this several times to get some to choose from.

Then after about a week or two I get so hungry I binge eat at chipotle or McD's and feel bad about it, causing me to return to the basics and the cycle to start again. Another major issue is that a friend will ask if I want to eat out and I say yes, because I know I've been calorie/nutrient deficient.

Make sure you eat enough real food, to you are not starved. In your case, I would recommend to have a look at the freezer department in your grocery store. Where I live, there are a new frozen wok meals for sale that have very healthy ingredients, like rice, veggies and chicken. I think you should have a number of those available in your freezer. It is much better to eat those for dinner, than to go to McD and eat junk. It will also provide you with portions when you haven't built up your own stock of choice yet. Any leftovers can be brought to work for lunch the next day.

Invite your friend home to you for a cup of tea/coffee. Or suggest to do something else together, like running or hiking.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2018, 02:56:57 AM »
This is a thread on pulling together meals when you're low on health or energy.

It's Australian-focused, but you might find it useful.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/aussie-keeping-yourself-fed-when-running-low-on-spoons/

PMG

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 03:29:38 AM »
Maybe redefine your meals? Sandwiches loaded with veggies. Toast it if youíre ambitious.  Salad topped with deli meat left from the sandwiches.  Canned soup and half a sandwich.  Pasta and a salad.    An egg sandwich.  Omelette with veggies.

These arenít rice and beans cheap but are a lot more inexpensive than take out and healthier than skipping meals or eating ramen!  They are all quick, low or no cooking and couple use the same ingredients in a variety of ways in one week. 

former player

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 03:51:31 AM »
The first thing when buying food is to only buy what you like to eat.  No point buying something that is going to sit in the fridge looking reproachfully at you every time you open the door until you throw it out.  So start your reboot by thinking about what you like to eat.  Write a list of all the meals you would like to eat in a week.  Then start thinking about modifying that list as necessary to make it a bit healthier, a bit more convenient and a bit cheaper (in that order).

Do you have a microwave?  Because people get sniffy about them, but when I am disinclined to cook a full meal it is a godsend.  Other people swear by pressure cookers and slow cookers.

Also: beans.  Cooking raw beans from scratch is a pain, and also the plastic wrapping they come in isn't recyclable where I am.  So I buy beans in tins: one tin of chickpeas, one tin of black beans (both rinsed in a sieve) and one tin of sweetcorn and with a little dressing you have a filling and healthy three bean salad that you eat with dinner or take to work.

11ducks is on the money about having some "quick eats" options to hand that aren't a traditional full meal but are better than your current default options.  Mine would be Welsh rarebit, scrambled eggs, or a (microwaved, the horror) baked potato with anything to hand.

slappy

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 06:14:55 AM »
Following. I pretty much have this exact problem. I think part of the issue is that I make food that I'm "supposed" to eat, because it's healthy or cheap, but I don't actually want to eat it. So when the food in the cafeteria looks better than my food, I just buy that.

guccigrace

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 06:29:45 AM »
I actually hate batch cooking cause I get bored of it so fast, and I detest leftovers [my sister is a chef she spoiled me rotten] so what makes me actually love to cook is to do something totally different every day, eat it that day and next day its a new thing! I don't ever get bored or tired of cooking this way cause there's literally so many ways to make and tweak a meal that I don't make the same thing twice in a really long time. I'm a huge fan of masterchef australia and have a ton of cookbooks that help inspire. Also, I never bulk shop for groceries or greens - that wears me out - I just buy what I know I'll make, even if it means more than one trip to the grocer a week I hardly ever waste any food. I'm weird but I work :)

boarder42

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 06:38:06 AM »
so i dont have issues with eating and getting bored of food i eat the same lunch almost every day for 2 or 3 weeks - chili - then some other variant of chili

but if i had your issue i'd do this

1. buy a bunch of individual containers that freeze well - each should hold 2-3 servings of the food you make
2. batch cook meals and divide up and put in freezer
3. rotate food to the fridge and eat it every other day each week alternating

alternatively get single serving containers and just microwave the food from frozen.

sounds ike you're cooking for 1 its hard to cook for one

slappy

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 07:46:33 AM »
Following. I pretty much have this exact problem. I think part of the issue is that I make food that I'm "supposed" to eat, because it's healthy or cheap, but I don't actually want to eat it. So when the food in the cafeteria looks better than my food, I just buy that.

Yeah, thatís the problem with trying to change two habits at once.
Try tackling not buying cafeteria food first by bringing your own food, but only food you really like.
Then once you are used to never buying food, you can start implementing healthier meals into your repertoire.

Making your home made food less attractive than bought meals is just asking for failure.

Tackle one habit at a time.

Tell me about it! lol

I've thought about buying frozen meals or making something that I really like. Even a frozen meal is cheaper than cafeteria food. Plus less time wasted in the line waiting! That gets me more than anything!

NotJen

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 07:53:13 AM »
As a single person who doesn't like to spend a lot of time cooking after work - the freezer is my best friend!  Whenever I do cook, I make extra portions and stick them in the freezer in individual containers, so I always have a variety of food to pull from for work lunches (I also make a large batch of salad on the weekends to pair with the leftovers).  I also batch cook for dinners - seemingly unhealthy things - burritos, pocket sandwiches, veggie burgers, and pizza - that I make healthier than what I would buy at the store.

Before getting to this level of cooking/preparedness, I did keep a stock of purchased prepared freezer food.  Then I transitioned to easy-to-make foods for dinner, omelettes, fried egg sandwiches, salads with lunchmeat or poached eggs (there was definitely an egg theme for a while...), tuna salad, chicken salad, baked chicken tenders (fresh, not fried frozen), pre-seasoned pork tenderloin, maybe a steak if I felt ambitious, and frozen bagged veggies as a side.

Start slow and stop buying anything that you regularly throw out.  Food waste is just not cool.  Or, before you throw it out, stick it in the freezer until you find a use for it!

I've also had limited success with freezing portions - the kind of dishes we like often come out sad and tired, and end up being tossed out.

I hear this a lot, and I just have a hard time believing that you don't have success in freezing the food you've made.  I freeze absolutely everything, and have not had an inedible dish yet. I freeze bread, baked goods, meats, casseroles, soups, stews with mashed potatoes, sandwiches!, summer fruit and veggies to use in the winter, jams, rice and tofu somehow tastes better after they are frozen...

brokescientist

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 08:20:18 AM »
Have you tried making a big batch of something on the weekend and eating the leftovers during the week?  That would only require mustering the motivation to cook once a week, rather than every day.

Yeah, sadly this is the worst part: I get sick of it after 2-3 meals and the rest usually ends up sitting in the back of the fridge until it goes bad :(

You need to get over that ... and quick.  Seriously.  Just make something you like and eat it... think of it as calories.

lizzzi

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2018, 08:47:19 AM »
Cooking for one isn't hard, it's just different. I moved from my home in the Midwest where I cooked for 5 or 6 people five nights a week, to an apartment in NY where I cook for myself...and to some extent, my small dog. After some experimentation, I decided I seldom want to eat a frozen dinner or frozen pizza, or any sort of prepared food. But I keep some frozen and canned things on hand that are the best of the worst, so in a pinch they are available. I don't have a set cooking schedule--I don't have to go out to work, so can be flexible on when I shop and cook. My "secret weapons" are my 6 qt. Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven, my big Hamilton-Beach slow cooker, and an assortment of lidded, plastic "take n tosses" in sizes ranging from two cups to one quart.  The dutch oven is for chili--one of the basics in my rotation.The slow cooker is for chicken breasts, top round roast of beef, or sometimes soup. The take n tosses are what I freeze stuff in--then I just defrost in the microwave when ready for a meal. (I usually do the chicken or beef because I share with the dog--cook it unseasoned for him, and then season my portions at the table.) I usually make rustic mashed potatoes (use yellow potatoes, cut in small chunks, don't peel them, boil and mash in the pan with butter, salt, milk, lots of parsley) 2 and a half pounds at a time, and freeze--potatoes are my go-to starch. Some canned vegetables, a few fresh veggies (hard to eat up before they go bad), but mainly the frozen steam-in-the-bag veggies. Enough fresh fruit for one portion daily--usually get something perishable and eat it up the first couple of days, then switch to apples, grapes--stuff that keeps--and remember, grapes freeze really well and are surprisingly good. Another basic in my rotation is a French-Canadian tourtiere--a meat pie that I make with pre-made pie crusts--this freezes well, too. Lots of recipes online--go for the simplest. It is also ridiculously easy to make your own burritos with ground meat, cheese, maybe some canned tomatoes--and just wrap and freeze them. I also don't understand the people who don't like meals that have been frozen. Mine come out fine--I eat my food up pretty fast--usually within a two weeks my frozen meals are gone. I eat my main meal in the middle of the day, which I realize people out to work probably can't do. Supper in the evening is something like bread and cheese, a cup of soup, fruit. For me, it's easier not to have a big kitchen clean-up in the evening when I'm tired.

lizzzi

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2018, 08:59:05 AM »
Breakfasts and work lunches: I suggest hard boiling a half dozen eggs or so, and having a hard-boiled egg in the morning with a dish of oatmeal that you microwave with nuts and/or fruit in it. Nutritious and fast. If you don't have time for something like that, put peanut butter on whole wheat bread or toast, fold it into a sandwich, and eat it on your way to work. The secret to brown bag work lunches is to make your sandwich and do other prep work the night before. You can just throw everything into your lunch bag. Have some non-messy fruit washed and ready to go, and also have some  cut-up fresh vegetables. If that is not enough food, you can have granola bars or something like that--or an extra half or whole sandwich. The trick is to only buy food that you like, not food you think you "should" like. Because we all come from families, and have probably been compromising for years on food choices--or eating the things our parents taught us to eat--sometimes it is hard to know what you really love. But figure it out, and you'll be eating much better.

4alpacas

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 09:41:16 AM »
Following. I pretty much have this exact problem. I think part of the issue is that I make food that I'm "supposed" to eat, because it's healthy or cheap, but I don't actually want to eat it. So when the food in the cafeteria looks better than my food, I just buy that.

Yeah, thatís the problem with trying to change two habits at once.
Try tackling not buying cafeteria food first by bringing your own food, but only food you really like.
Then once you are used to never buying food, you can start implementing healthier meals into your repertoire.

Making your home made food less attractive than bought meals is just asking for failure.

Tackle one habit at a time.

Tell me about it! lol

I've thought about buying frozen meals or making something that I really like. Even a frozen meal is cheaper than cafeteria food. Plus less time wasted in the line waiting! That gets me more than anything!

Then start with that.

Iíve studied enough behavioural psychology to know that building sustainable habits is all about identifying and removing barriers, not just knuckling down and making life harder.

So stock up on some easy and yummy foods that you can easily bring for lunch, and slowly try introducing healthier and more diverse options when you feel a little more motivated. Break the caf habit first and youíve tackled most of the battle. From there itís just minor adjustments to food shopping and planning as opposed to trying to change your whole day-to-day routine.
My DH and I completely cut out our "convenience" take out habit by having frozen meals around.  A frozen pizza is about $5, and we can have it cooked in WAY less time than it takes for delivery.  I'm also a huge fan of eVol mac & cheese.  We have a few in the freezer for when we want comfort food.  If I'm feeling motivated, I also microwave a bag of frozen broccoli and stir it in. 

I'm a big fan of batch cooking, but I've been a bit lazy lately.  I plan to rededicate myself to the effort this year. 

lexde

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2018, 12:43:41 PM »
Boil pasta + tinned sauce? You can boil a few batches ahead of time too to have some leftovers. That’s about as low-Maintenance as it gets!

Or eggs scrambled in the microwave.


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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2018, 12:49:28 PM »
I'm one of those people who can eat the exact same lunch every day for decades, so keep that in mind.

I batch cook on Sunday afternoon.  I usually make 3-4 different vegetables and one entree (usually chicken fajitas, sometimes ham). I then prep my lunches for the week - the same entree, but different combinations of veggies.  Sometimes I might plan to eat the chicken by itself, some days I add a tortilla to make a fajita, some days I smother it with grilled bell peppers. 

I cook large batches of chicken and ground beef and freeze them.  I also chop up veggies in freeze them.  When I am cooking, it's easy to grab that serving of cooked chicken (usually cut into strips) and throw it into stir fry or pasta, or take out a precooked hamburger patty and defrost it for my dinner.

I do buy some things prepackaged.  We get a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies at Costco.  On lazy nights we can throw some of that in the wok, take rice out of the freezer or put the rice cooker on) and we have a relatively quick and easy meal.

Some weeks I don't have time to batch cook.  Then I might eat something out of the freezer (always lots of single servings of casseroles I'd cooked) one night, and after I eat I cook the next night's meal and put it directly in the fridge.  All I have to do after work the next day is warm it up.

For me, it's about being rigid with scheduling.  That hour or two on Sunday afternoon is always reserved for food prep.

redbird

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2018, 12:55:24 PM »
I don't batch cook intentionally. However, my house is a family of 2. Many recipes are intended for 4, 6, or sometimes even 8! I will purposely freeze some of those leftovers sometimes and will have them available for another time. That would be a great way for you to not waste leftovers but at the same time not get bored of them either.

I love my Instant Pot, and wish I had one while I was working, because it can make things super fast. That definitely can help cut down on laziness. I'm talking about being able to cook chicken breasts in 9 minutes instead of 20 or 30 in the oven, beans in about 25 minutes instead of soaking overnight + slow cooking, etc.

Definitely cook what you like though. That will help motivate you. For most things, making it at home is way cheaper than eating out. You can sometimes cook it and get eating faster than you can eating out too (as compared to a sit-down restaurant anyway).

galliver

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2018, 02:07:48 PM »
OP, I think first thing you might want to look at is your scheduling/routine. It kind of sounds to me (could be wrong) that by the time you get to your kitchen, you're quite ravenous, which hands the reins to your animal-brain and it pushes you toward the fastest food available instead of allowing you to make reasonable decisions about it. There might be various causes for ending up ravenous in your kitchen...if your schedule dictates you get home late, many hours after lunch, maybe you can pack a solid snack to get you through the afternoon. If you're getting home at a reasonable time, but doing other things for a while until you feel hungry, set yourself a schedule of prepping food at a particular time. Even if you aren't hungry yet, that's "dinner cooking time".

DO make food you like; if you make it yourself chances are it will be more nutritious automatically. Even if not, it gives you room to make small tweaks...add more vegetables, use less salt, etc. @slappy , if the cafeteria food looks better because it's pizza vs salad, the problem might not be your cooking, but rather the siren call of junk food (not quite sure how to fix that besides being strict with oneself and tuning actions to priorities...). But if the caf salads (pasta, etc) look better than what you make, maybe you can learn from it...WHY does it look better? If they're using an ingredient you like, but don't usually cook with, can you buy it or find a recipe for it? (And they might be using more expensive ingredients...but they'll still be cheaper at the grocery store ;) Indulge! Life is too short to eat iceberg lettuce. Unless you enjoy it. Also it's basically just water so not even a bargain...)

I didn't like to batch-cook for one (It's miles better to do it for 2! Things last half as long!). I *did* like to do "modular" cooking. You mentioned Chipotle; Mexican food is very amenable to this. For example, make 2 lbs shredded chicken (e.g. http://www.inspiredtaste.net/27293/tender-shredded-chicken-recipe/) (or grill steak, or shredded pork, whatever) and some rice (if ambitious: cilantro-lime rice). Now you can throw those in a taco/burrito (add any vegetables/sauces you like), make quesadillas, top a salad... endless possibilities. If you get tired of Mexican, throw that chicken in with some pasta and your favorite sauce. Some vegetables store just fine chopped up for a couple days (peppers), that can also minimize prep work on salads, stir fry, pasta....

TL;DR on "modular cooking": if you can do the most effort-intensive parts in a batch-cooking way, you have only to assemble your dinner instead of doing all the cooking and cleaning. And that way you can add the most delicate components in fresh, preserving desirable flavors and textures.

I've also had limited success with freezing portions - the kind of dishes we like often come out sad and tired, and end up being tossed out.
I hear this a lot, and I just have a hard time believing that you don't have success in freezing the food you've made.  I freeze absolutely everything, and have not had an inedible dish yet. I freeze bread, baked goods, meats, casseroles, soups, stews with mashed potatoes, sandwiches!, summer fruit and veggies to use in the winter, jams, rice and tofu somehow tastes better after they are frozen...

You probably have different taste/texture preferences for food. Maybe you just cook different kinds of dishes, maybe you don't sense a difference (or don't find it off-putting) between once-frozen and never-frozen food. Personally, I can't handle most vegetables from frozen because they get soggy and slimy (broccoli, peppers, onions, etc...peas, carrots, and corn are about all that thaws right, IMO). I like my veg with a little crunch :)

mm1970

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2018, 02:49:43 PM »
Basically the problem is that at the grocery store I'm good at getting the basics/fundamentals. I have a good amount of rice, beans, canola oil, spinach etc to where I could make plenty of healthy, cheap meals. The problem is that I never seem to do it. I'd say I skip 3-4 dinners a week just because I don't want to make anything, but am too cheap to go out and buy something. I'll just snack on junk food if its there. Lunches typically consist of two vienna sausage cans and a bag of ramen because I can conveniently keep them at my work, and breakfast is always a protein shake. Then after about a week or two I get so hungry I binge eat at chipotle or McD's and feel bad about it, causing me to return to the basics and the cycle to start again. Another major issue is that a friend will ask if I want to eat out and I say yes, because I know I've been calorie/nutrient deficient.

Has anyone here come from a similar place and fixed it, or do you have any advice on how to overcome this?
I didn't fix it at your age.  At your age I ate out a lot.  Or let my husband cook.
But I got fat that way, so I had to fix it.  I got frugal at the same time.

You just have to decide to build the habit, and do it a bit at a time.  Make one meal once a week, and eat it until it's gone.

Find a routine, but it might be different from someone else's, and it might change over time. 

A few examples:
meal prep and putting into freezer containers.  http://mybodymykitchen.com/
(a great example)

Buying a loaf of bread, meat, cheese, and a bag of carrots and leaving it all in the fridge at work.

Making one big meal, and eating it until it's gone.  (You have to get used to leftovers.  Trust me, when you do it, you get used to it.)


mozar

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2018, 05:24:39 PM »
Even though I eat healthy food most of the time (and it took me many years to get here) the siren call for junk food hasn't gone away. But if I eat low quality food too much, a couple days of diarrhea gets me back on the wagon real quick.

NotJen

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2018, 09:53:31 PM »
Quote from: galliver
I've also had limited success with freezing portions - the kind of dishes we like often come out sad and tired, and end up being tossed out.
I hear this a lot, and I just have a hard time believing that you don't have success in freezing the food you've made.  I freeze absolutely everything, and have not had an inedible dish yet. I freeze bread, baked goods, meats, casseroles, soups, stews with mashed potatoes, sandwiches!, summer fruit and veggies to use in the winter, jams, rice and tofu somehow tastes better after they are frozen...

You probably have different taste/texture preferences for food. Maybe you just cook different kinds of dishes, maybe you don't sense a difference (or don't find it off-putting) between once-frozen and never-frozen food. Personally, I can't handle most vegetables from frozen because they get soggy and slimy (broccoli, peppers, onions, etc...peas, carrots, and corn are about all that thaws right, IMO). I like my veg with a little crunch :)

Maybe, but I donít find my food to be soggy/slimy; I do prefer fresh foods for my crunch, usually salads.  I do use really fresh ingredients though (local CSA, so they were picked several days before), which could make a difference.  Also, I freeze immediately, maybe that helps?

I had chili for lunch today from several weeks (months??) ago, and the onion, pepper, and corn still had bite to them (but not crunch, because I donít want crunchy chili).  Frozen generally canít be used the same way as fresh vegetables, but when theyíre already cooked into something, Iím not sure why there would be an issue.  I only freeze veggies that are already cooked or will be cooked.  Blanching helps for the Ďwill be cookedí variety.

Also, cooking a big piece of meat in a crockpot and having portions in the freezer was a real step forward for me.  Whole chickens and Boston butt pork roasts are my go-to.  But I lost my source for local chickens, so no chicken for me until the summer probably :(

a-scho

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2018, 12:13:36 AM »
I could be waaaaaaaaay off base here, but when I read about you eating cans of weiners, dry ramen, and protein shakes, it sounds like you do not have a lot of exposure to great tasting food. Like, I get bored of eating the same food three days in a row as well, but I would rather eat Shepherd's pie, meatloaf, split pea soup, meat chili, etc. a fourth time than eat a can of Vienna sausages. I have never bought or eaten them and I'm pretty sure I'm not missing out. So, the fact that you do purchase and eat them, well maybe you really really REALLY like them??? or you haven't ever had kick ass shepherd's pie.

It also sounds like what you are cooking is more of what you should be eating instead of what you really want to eat. When I make food that's "good" for me, like cabbage, for example, I get bored of it before one serving. I'm bored of it while I'm buying it in the store. But, this is also because I do not have a lot of practice with cabbage. Cabbage rolls are mighty tasty, but also a couple more steps in making than I want to do. So, I have learned to not buy cabbage unless I already have a recipe in place......one that I can totally execute and will also eat. Start with food you really like and with recipes you know you can handle.

 I would add that you try to peruse cooking websites, let the pictures lure you in, and pick something that looks great, and try to make it. Maybe you could invite a friend/love interest over to make it with you? In my opinion, cooking is more fun when you do it with others, especially when you are a beginner.  It takes practice to get into the habit of making meals. It also takes practice for your mind to automatically think of making a meal instead of procuring a meal. The more practice you get, it takes years, the bigger your folder of tried and true recipes. You get to a point where eating out doesn't appeal as much because you can make a better version of everything on the menu for one third the cost. Even stuff like Chipotle and Mcdonald's. A homemade burger with sharp cheddar(and a fried egg!!) is ten times more enjoyable than anything at Mcdonald's and costs less than one lame cheeseburger. Baked potato wedge fries sprinkled with herbs de Provence or just salt and pepper, are amazeballs compared to Mcdonald's French fries.

Mongoose

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2018, 07:31:15 AM »
Our local grocery stores have cook and take home classes that are reasonable. My aunt who lives alone uses those so she has folks to cook with and doesn't have to clean the kitchen. They take home a bunch of self-prepared and portioned freezer meals. It has changed her menu from not eating/take out to homemade food she likes.

NotJen

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2018, 09:09:58 AM »
It also sounds like what you are cooking is more of what you should be eating instead of what you really want to eat. When I make food that's "good" for me, like cabbage, for example, I get bored of it before one serving. I'm bored of it while I'm buying it in the store. But, this is also because I do not have a lot of practice with cabbage. Cabbage rolls are mighty tasty, but also a couple more steps in making than I want to do. So, I have learned to not buy cabbage unless I already have a recipe in place......one that I can totally execute and will also eat. Start with food you really like and with recipes you know you can handle.

You might not want any cabbage-specific recopies, but OMG, this is may be my favorite recipe ever: Hot Sauce Cabbage http://orangette.net/2009/01/the-best-we-can-hope-for/

So easy and so delicious (make it into more of a meal by topping with a runny fried egg!).  I use fennel seed instead of fresh fennel to make it simpler.  The fennel is VERY important (I think) - key flavor component.  Adjust hot sauce and soy sauce to your level of spice/saltiness.

NV Teacher

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2018, 03:29:21 PM »
Check out the Make-A-Mix cookbook.

https://www.amazon.com/Make-Mix-Karine-Eliason/dp/0762426020

It gives the basic recipe for cooking something like a big batch of chicken.  You cook the chicken, package it up in 2-3 cup portions, and freeze it.  Then it gives you a bunch of recipes to make with the chicken mix.  They are generally quick, easy, and tasty.  It has recipes for a bunch of different mixes. 

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2018, 04:03:35 PM »
I have a number of suggestions for you:

1) First of all, it is unrealistic to expect yourself to change ingrained habits all at once, but you can start to change them slowly. I suggest you commit to cooking twice a week. On the weekend, choose two recipes that look good to you. Check out GIF recipes, which can make it all seem much more doable. Make a list of things you need, go to the store, buy the ingredients for those two meals. Make one that night, and one a couple of nights later. Most recipes are designed to feed ~4 people, so you'll have a couple of meals of left overs, but not something you have to slog through. So you'll at least be getting some nutrients that aren't ramen, and you'll be learning how to cook (and what you like). The only way to get better at cooking is to actually do it. Girls like a man who can cook (or, at least feed themselves like a grown up), so consider it an investment in your dating game as well.

2)Do you live near a Trader Joe's? Because they have tons of prepared and semi-prepared foods to make cooking easier. Buy some pre-made salads or wraps and keep them in the fridge for when you are feeling lazy. They are only about $4, and they are tasty and have a lot of stuff in them. Check out the frozen section - they have easy frozen stir fries where everything is already chopped, and they come with a sauce. Pair them with rice and you have a meal. They have good frozen/prepackaged indian food as well. Also, they sell vegetables that are pre-chopped, so if the prep work is an obstacle for you consider that.

3) There is a reason college kids live on pasta. It's cheap and easy. Saute some onions, garlic, and ground beef, toss in some canned sauce, put over pasta. This one really will take only 30 minutes. Personally I would add some sort of vegetable to the sauce or have a side salad (again - check out the salad kits at the grocery store - they have dressing, toppings, and all the veggies you need), but that is because I want to live past 50. You do you.

4) Buy a rotisserie chicken at Costco or the grocery store. Pair with some roasted vegetables (Do you know how to roast veggies? toss with salt, pepper, and oil, spread on a baking sheet, bake at 400. It makes every vegetable taste 100x better. Trader Joe's has pre-cut roasting mixes) or mashed potatoes or rice-a-roni or whatever. Make a chicken sandwich later in the week, or add chicken to a quesadilla or a can of refried beans or to a salad.

5) Most people don't cook breakfast and lunch, but are still "making food at home". Eat cereal or microwave some oatmeal packets. If you are feeling fancy, scramble some eggs and make some bacon (also, an excellent dinner option). For lunch, make sandwiches. It takes ~2 min. If that's too much, buy some string cheese (or other cheese you like), deli meats, crackers, apples, carrot sticks, and hummus or dip, and just keep them at work (assuming you have access to a fridge). Eat those things for lunch. No prep required.

6) You are missing out on a huge slew of foods that take <10 minutes to make. Fry an egg, heat up a can of beans, and add hot sauce. Make a quesadilla. Pour chips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with canned black beans, canned corn (drain both), and shredded cheese, and bake at 300 til the cheese melts. Top with sour cream and salsa and you have nachos. Heat up a can of soup. Make a breakfast sandwich out of two eggo waffles, a fried egg, and some bacon. Buy yogurt and add granola or cereal or nuts. Can of chili on a baked potato. Buy lunchables. Peanut butter on toast. Beans on toast. Eggs on toast. The super market is literally full of convenience foods that are not ramen, but you have to try and branch out.

7) Do you have any friends/siblings who like to cook? Tell them you want to get better at cooking, and ask if they'd be willing to come make dinner with you occasionally. You'll learn new things, and it's more fun to cook with (and for) other people. Believe me, people will be happy to come cook with you.

8) Save podcasts you are really looking forward and listen to them while you are cooking. It gives you an incentive to get started when motivation is low.


wenchsenior

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2018, 04:40:51 PM »
I have a number of suggestions for you:

1) First of all, it is unrealistic to expect yourself to change ingrained habits all at once, but you can start to change them slowly.

 Girls like a man who can cook (or, at least feed themselves like a grown up), so consider it an investment in your dating game as well.



8) Save podcasts you are really looking forward and listen to them while you are cooking. It gives you an incentive to get started when motivation is low.

These are all great points. 

My first private date (after coffee out and group date) with my future husband was when he lured me to his place by promising to cook me rabbit, which I hadn't had in a few years.

Also, don't try to change everything at once. Pick one area you suck at and focus on it for a few weeks until you have created a new habit in that area. Personally, I wouldn't try to learn to cook anything too complicated, I'd just focus on improving your nutrition first. Buy some HEALTHY prepared foods (as noted by SilveradoBojangles above) and make sure you are eating those for lunch and dinner. Because unless you are eating some fruit or veggies or complex carbs that you didn't mention, you are probably pretty nutritionally compromised at this point, not just calorie compromised. 

Your body and mind are probably not functioning optimally now (which will also compromise your willpower and ability to make better choices), and they certainly won't be if you continue eating like this much longer.  Trust me, I ate like crap from about 16 to about your age, at which point health problems forced me to change dramatically.  I wish I'd learned my lesson sooner, but I figured it just wasn't that important because I wasn't overweight.  However, I'm certain my mental health and overall energy would have been dramatically improved in high school and college if I wasn't constantly eating nutritionally empty food back then. 

Also, the point about the podcasts is a great one.  This and audiobooks are key to my cooking routine, walking boring routes, and cleaning my house.  Makes me look forward to all three.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Being less lazy about cooking
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2018, 05:59:59 PM »
Can you find a middle ground of quick to prepare meals? Like a can of tuna or chicken nuggets, cooked sausages with those microwave steamed veggie bags, precooked Rice/quinoa cups with bean mix or cold salad stuff? Not the cheapest bit cheaper and healthier than eating snack food and binging on takeaway. You could do a few things in the oven one night (2 of each -sausage rolls, pies, chicken strips)- and eat them with easy sides for lunch and dinner for the next 3 days.

I vote searching on these kind of things, I'm bad about salads, I want to eat more of them but hate making them from "scratch," so even though it's not a good use of my money or exactly environmentally sound, I get the salad kits.

Other semi homemade:

Costco and Trader Joes have pre-cooked chicken breast strips, dump some BBQ sauce on them (or something) add in some frozen veggies (heck tater tots) dinner.  You see where I'm going with this?