Let’s discuss serving food. What’s the joy of grocery shopping, meal planning, and food preparation if there is no one to eat it? Whether you are just cooking for yourself, a significant other, a family, or a large group of people, serving food can also be fun process instead of a chore. Have you ever had a meal and felt no joy in eating it? Or you could tell that the person making the food wasn’t enjoying the process? The energy we put into meal preparation and serving can also affect the experience - both your own experience and everyone else who will be eating the food.
Of course there are times when you will be busy, hurried, worn out, tired, and just not in the mood to make a meal. That happens to all of us at one time or other. And maybe for some people it happens more often than not (especially if you are the one making most of the meals). What are some strategies that can be helpful during those times?
Take a “time out” from cooking and enjoy a meal out. Look for healthy food options on the menu to be consistent with your own health goals.
Exchange cooking days with someone. If you have a friend close by, significant other, grown child that likes to cook, or even a neighbor, talk about exchanging meals with each other. It doesn't have to be all the time - every few days, once a week, once a month, or even just for Holidays! Take turns cooking for each other so you’re not the only person cooking.
Cook WITH someone. Schedule a cooking date with your significant other, child, or friends. That way everyone can participate and enjoy the rewards of a delicious meal together.
Plan ahead and cook in bulk. This strategy may take more time initially, but can be a huge time saver in the long run. Set aside a few hours to make large portions of certain meals you enjoy eating a lot. Divide them into smaller containers and store in the fridge or freezer for quick use throughout the week. I will be providing helpful tips for cooking in bulk in a future blog post so stay tuned.
Sign up for a healthy food preparation kit online. There are some great resources where you can purchase meal kits that will send you recipes and most of the food items needed to prepare those recipes. Sun Basket and Purple Carrot are a couple that I know of but there are others as well so do some research. Yes, you will still need to do some meal prepping, but it can help eliminate some of the stress.
On the days that you are cooking, what are some strategies to make it a pleasant and enjoyable experience?
Think of the food you are making as nourishment for your body. You expend energy all day working and this is the fuel you are giving back to yourself. Imagine all the healing properties of the macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you are providing your cells.
Think of the delicious meal you will be able to eat at the end of the meal preparation. When you take the extra time to “squeeze that lemon” or “crush the garlic” or “add the extra spice” think about how much more tasty that meal will be as a result.
Cooking can be therapeutic! When I cook it’s my time to de-clutter my brain and just focus on that one thing. It’s a time when I can zone-out and de-stress from all the business of my day and just grate the carrot or slice the tomatoes. It may sound silly, but it works!
Imagine all the energy you are putting into your meal. Are you putting healing thoughts into your meal preparation? Positive energy is contagious, so fill your thoughts with positive energy and love and it will come out in the food you make.
Use it as a learning experience. What are some fun new things you can try? These don’t have to be crazy or extravagant. Try adding a new spice or pairing food items you never tried before. Follow a cooking blog and try their recipes out. Experiment on your own - sometimes it will work out and other times it won’t but that’s the fun of it!
Other things I like to think about when serving and eating food:
How can I make this food look delicious? Of course I like the food to actually taste delicious, but rearranging it on a platter to make it look great too is part of the fun.
When I am eating alone - It’s my time to de-stress, focus on my food, take my time to eat it, and enjoy every bite.
When I am eating with people - It’s a great time to have an interesting conversation, laugh with others, and still take my time to eat and enjoy every bite.