After over a year of pandemic-living, I have every case of fatigue imaginable: Weighing health and safety risks? Fatigued. Entertaining small children? Exhausted. Feeding my family? Burned out beyond belief.
While there’s little advice I can offer to solve the first two conundrums, when it comes to battling kitchen burnout, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. If you’re anything like me and need a nudge in the nourish-your-kids department, I have five simple ideas for combating this culinary ennui.
Made up of part boredom and part exhaustion, my aversion to cooking centers mainly around two things: I am neither inspired by our go-to recipes, nor am I eager to stroll the aisles of the grocery store. The solution? Blue Apron.
Each week, Blue Apron offers a selection of up to 35 recipes to choose from. The meals feed either two or four people and fit a range of dietary preferences from meat-eating to vegetarian to low-calorie. Just place your order, follow simple prep instructions, and enjoy!
- Once you’ve made your recipe selections, sit back and wait for your full meal kit to arrive at your door. Each kit comes complete with only the ingredients you need, so there’s never extra food left over.
- Your delivery even includes the specialty sauces you’ll need to make your meal. And don’t worry about mixing those—these delicious items come ready-to-use to save you time on meal prep.
- Not only are Blue Apron’s meal kits delicious, simple, and affordable, but almost all of them can also be whipped up in under 35 minutes—a real boon for any parent racing toward bedtime.
- Need to change your delivery schedule? No problem. Blue Apron makes it easy to pause, skip, or add shipments to keep life in the kitchen as stress-free as possible.
2. Swap Meals with Friends or Family
Every Tuesday, my second-grader heads to her grandparents’ house for dinner, card games, and a sleepover. Inevitably, upon drop-off, my mom will fill my arms with their leftovers—enough to ensure that my equally kitchen-fatigued husband and I don’t have to cook that night, bringing us both relief and deliciousness. And though my parents never ask for it, we bring them some dishes too.
There’s something about cooking your favorites for someone else that makes it far more enjoyable. And it’s doubly so if you’re receiving a new-to-you meal in exchange.
On nights when my husband and I can’t think of something to cook, we don’t. Instead, we assemble a fancy platter of ingredients our whole family loves. Depending on what’s in the fridge or pantry, we might include any of the following for everyone to load onto their plates as they wish:
- Quartered bagels and smoked salmon
- Lemon hummus and roasted broccoli
- Cubed cheeses
- Chopped fresh fruit
- Sliced tomatoes, peppers, and fresh basil
4. Keep it Simple
At this point in our parenting game, my husband and I are no longer trying to impress. We don’t have the strength nor determination to persuade the little one to like certain foods, and we can’t keep up with our 7-year-old’s on-and-off love for sweet potatoes. On many days, we’re just trying to fill bellies, and we do that by going back to the basics: spaghetti, grilled cheese, and veggie-stuffed omelets. We squeeze in as many healthy ingredients as possible but still keep things easy.
5. Set the Mood
My grandmother always cooks with a glass of pinot grigio in hand and old, soulful crooners playing quietly from her stereo. On my best days, when whipping up new dishes sounds adventurous and fun, I think of her. I pour myself a drink and turn on the tunes I like, embracing a moment of solitude, even if it’s just while cooking dinner. I find that the more I can infuse my kitchen duty with things I enjoy—a good drink, an audio book, or even a FaceTime call with a friend—the less preparing meals feels like a chore.
This post was in partnership with Blue Apron but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.