It’s six o’clock on a Wednesday evening. You’ve just wrapped up a hectic day of back to back Zoom calls, and as you’re thinking to yourself that there’s nothing you want to do less than figure out what to eat, an Uber Eats promo code pops up in your notifications. It’s as if your phone is reading your mind (we’ve all been there).
Suddenly you’re faced with a decision. Are you going to channel your inner Chopped champion and pull together an edible dinner from the recesses of your pantry, bury yourself in food blogs until you find a perfect recipe and brave the grocery store during the dinner rush, or shell out your hard earned cash to have Chipotle delivered? After a long day of managing choices about work and your social life, decision fatigue can set in and make settling on dinner feel next to impossible. When you have to decide what to eat day after day, it can start to feel like a major chore that may take a toll on your mental health, checking account, and physical health if you stop prioritizing balanced meals.
If you want to avoid finding yourself wondering, “how do I decide what I want to eat?” for the sixth consecutive day, consider these strategies to take the boredom and guesswork out of meal times.
If you find yourself regularly lamenting the arduous task of settling on a meal, consider taking some time on the weekend to plan ahead for the busy week. Whether you want to actually meal prep and have food ready to heat up or just have your fridge stocked and general recipes planned, taking some time to think a few days out will save you valuable mental real estate to get you through the week.
Cook your favorite dish
Sometimes, planning ahead doesn’t cut it when life throws us curve balls. Maybe a dinner got cancelled and you’ve found yourself with an extra day you didn’t account for. Alternatively, the thought of digging into the Tupperware of salmon and veggies that you prepped on Sunday makes you cringe. Keep some shelf stable items on hand that you can always use to throw your favorite dinner together. Whether that’s breakfast for dinner, soup, or curry, you know you can always lean on it when you just can’t be bothered to figure out anything else.
Sometimes, we find ourselves in a cooking rut that takes the fun out of meal times and turns the decision into a chore. If you’re finding yourself in this position, remind yourself that cooking can be a lot of fun rather than a dreaded task that you have to take on day after day.
Mix up your grocery routine with exciting new ingredients or draft a friend for a cooking challenge where you each choose a recipe and then swap. The decision of what to eat might be a lot more fun when you’re making it for someone else.
Order from a meal kit service
Take comfort in knowing you’re not alone experiencing frustration around having to come up with meal ideas day after day. In fact, this problem is so common that meal kits have now popped up catering to different dietary preferences and how ready to eat they are.
If you need some inspo from the pros, consider ordering food for a week from your meal service of choice and see how you like it. Whether you find a permanent solution or simply new ideas that you can continue making on your own, you’ll be sure to mix up your meal routine and break up the monotony of having to choose your own recipe.