Ordering takeout is easy, but it's not so healthy. Here are some ways to fall in love with the kitchen.
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So! You decided you want to eat healthier. Good job! You perused a few delicious recipes, got yourself to the grocery store, and bought some ingredients. Then you got in the kitchen and remembered… wait. You actually have to cook. You hate to cook. It's such a chore.

You're not alone. One of the surest ways to eat more healthy is to cook at home, but cooking is often right up there with house cleaning and yard work as among the last things some of us actually want to do most nights when we get home from work. But there are people who do it—and some who even like it. So how does one go from dreading turning on the stove to approaching meal-making as something manageable, maybe even enjoyable?

Pamela Elzey, a member of the Cooking Light Diet Facebook Community, recently shared her own struggle with starting to eat healthier. Pamela signed up for the Cooking Light Diet to help with her weekly meal planning, and followed the Facebook Community for months to get inspired. But she was still having trouble making the commitment.

That’s when other Cooking Light Diet members came to the rescue with advice that spurred Pamela to finally get started. Here’s what they had to say.

Interested in learning more about the Cooking Light Diet? Join today at cookinglightdiet.com or email your questions here: feedback@cookinglightdiet.com.

Start Slow

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook, committing to cooking three meals a day from scratch can be overwhelming. Member Vicky Bowen Morrow says it’s best to start cooking just a few nights a week. If you seek out recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare, you’ll find it’s not so hard to keep going.

Kristine Elkins agrees there’s no need to jump right in. She suggests focusing on just making that first dinner recipe. Find a recipe you think your family will enjoy that doesn’t require a lot of time, preparation, or ingredients you aren’t familiar with. Then, make another a few days later and slowly build up to cooking daily.

Repeat Recipes

There’s nothing wrong with having a few favorites in your back pocket, or leftovers in the fridge. Andrea Haight likes to make one or two of the same breakfast and lunches each week. When things get busy, she’ll even plan to double a recipe so she can enjoy leftovers later in the week. She says, “It takes the stress out of having to do something different every day.”

Kristine Elkins also likes to make meals that will feed her the entire week. She suggests making a batch of muffins or muffin-tin frittatas on Sunday, and then breakfast is ready for the entire week.

Plan It Out 

Member Jay Shaw says after he plans out his week and makes a shopping list, he goes to the store and buys everything he needs. He says, “Knowing I had all of the ingredients and had already spent that much money made it easier for me to stick to it.”

If heading to the store isn’t always feasible, members have found alternative ways to always keep their fridges stocked. Member Elizabeth Striegl uses an app to order all of her groceries and have them delivered.That way she always has what she needs on hand. Plus, Elizabeth says avoiding actually going into the grocery store helps her control making impulse purchases she doesn’t really need.

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Use Kitchen Shortcuts

Slow cookers and pressure cookers (like the Instant Pot) can be a real lifesaver when you’re in a time crunch, often requiring minimal cooking. Kristine Elkins says, “You can get everything ready the night before, put it in a gallon ziplock bag, and then in the morning dump it in the crock and turn it on. It’s wonderful to come home to the smell of dinner ready to serve!”

Pick Recipes That Excite You

It’s easier to dive into a recipe you’re really looking forward to than one that’s not so thrilling. Rebecca Lake recommends finding recipes that align with what you’re in the mood for. When you’re considering what to make for dinner, find recipes that use ingredients you have on hand or something you’ve been craving.

Give Yourself Credit

Member Debra Sivley Stevens recommends picking a few dinners that you’re really excited to try out, and then acknowledging the success you had in cooking them. She says, “Just enjoy the meal. Pat yourself on the back for doing something good for yourself. Progress, not perfection!”

Kristine Elkins says it best. “I would say you don't have to like cooking, you have to be willing to cook.” She says once you can understand the benefits of cooking (like saving money and eating healthier), it’s all worth it.