Playing mealtime by ear every day takes a toll. Here's how to plan ahead in the kitchen.
Every decision takes some amount of mental energy, and when the decision is "what's for dinner," it can be so easy to choose the simplest option because we have no energy left. This phenomenon is called "decision fatigue," more relatable as "I'm too tired to come up with a meal plan because I've been at work all day and now it's 7PM."
If you can relate, try these tricks! ⬇️
1. Planning Mindset
One of the most effective ways to combat decision fatigue in the kitchen is by planning meals in advance. Front-loading your meal prep saves time altogether, because you only clean up once from one big batch rather than several times from several small batches (see #2!). If you like to cook spontaneously, prepping in advance sets you free to improvise—not the opposite.
2. Batch Cooking
Batch cooking is a game-changer when it comes to simplifying your cooking routine. Make sure to pick whatever you batch carefully, because you'll need to enjoy it so much you'll finish it! Meals that are packed in individual portions or frozen and ready-to-bake are ideal here. Batch cooking's greatest strength, however, is probably how many messes it will save you.
3. Use Simple Recipes
Opt for straightforward recipes that require minimal steps and ingredients. Look for one-pot or sheet pan recipes that reduce both the complexity and the cleanup. Simple recipes which taste the best are always made with seasonal ingredients, the more local the better.
4. Pre-Chop and Pre-Measure
On your meal prep day, pre-chop vegetables, pre-measure spices, and marinate proteins. Having these elements ready to go makes cooking a breeze, especially during busy evenings. If you're feeling extra inspired, make a pot of grains or beans to add to dishes throughout the week!
5. Use Jow!
No matter how you want to cook, Jow can help you do it better. Whether it's automatically ordering more to cook a big batch, ordering supplies and ingredients for a party, providing simple recipes anyone can cook, or tailoring your weekly menu to specific dietary needs. Jow lets you focus on connecting over the food with your loved ones—not whether or not your local store has the right ingredients! That's the *wow of Jow* as we like to say. :-)
No matter what, planning ahead is always a winning strategy in our opinion—regardless of how much time you have, taking time to estimate how much time, money, and interest you have in cooking will help you make meals that are appropriately suited to your needs. Not everyone has to be a hobby cook. Making the perfect meal plan for you and your family is just as satisfying!