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5 Ways to Start Cooking More Often (For Busy People)

We talk often about the benefits of cooking at home, but if you think cooking is overwhelming, time consuming, or hard, that might not be enough to drive you towards cooking more often. 

If cooking isn’t already your wheelhouse, getting yourself into the kitchen can be challenging, especially on top of everything else there is to do as a parent. So, what can you do to make your time in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable?

Take time to identify what’s holding you back from cooking more often. Most of us have something we dread or resist about cooking. Is it the cleaning up? Is the time required? The fact that you have to stand more after standing all day? Whatever it is, be curious and notice it.

Then ask yourself, “how can I work with that to make it easier?”

This article is all about simple mindset shifts and some functional changes in the kitchen to make cooking at home more approachable and fun. Cooking real, whole foods at home more often is one of the best things you can do for you and your family’s health.

Here are five tips to get you cooking more often.

Find Your Inspiration

If you need help thinking up meals, find two or three cookbooks that inspire you. Julia Turshen has some great cookbooks that are accessible and filled with helpful tips and delicious recipes. We also LOVE the Thrive Market Cookbook because it has tons of EASY whole food recipes. Thrive Market is one of our favorite places to shop for healthy brands as they have the best prices. If you sign up for a membership, you can get the cookbook for free. 

Leave the cooking channel on in the background (you can modify their recipes)!

Find 4-5 healthy cooking accounts to follow and scroll through them to amp yourself up. We like Cookie and Kate and Prep and Rally.

Here’s the trick: Keep your choices limited enough that finding a recipe doesn’t become an ordeal in itself. Stick to a few go-to resources so you don’t spend a ton of time searching on the internet, which can quickly become overwhelming. For example, choose 2-5 veggies you plan on consuming this week and work with that. 

Cooking utensils

Invest in Good Tools

Part of making cooking enjoyable is having the right tools. You don’t need every new kitchen gadget, but having a few reliable basics can make the kitchen a much more manageable space to navigate. Only buy appliances that you will use all the time. Otherwise, you can probably do without it. It also helps to buy things as you need (rather than spending a bunch in one go!). 

A couple of sharp knives, a good cutting board, some wooden spoons, a spatula, and a variety of bowls will set you up nicely. Ensure you have the correctly sized pots and pans for the meals you like. If your pasta is always crowded in a pot that’s too small, invest in a larger one! The tools you need will depend on the types of meals you tend to cook.

Oh, and when you buy new kitchen items, make sure you like them. Get them in your favorite color or pattern. Spend the extra $2 on a spatula you like. When you like the items you use while cooking, you will enjoy the cooking much more! 
Also invest in a set of kids’ knives by Tovla Jr. My kids love these and use them almost every day. One of my biggest inspirations for being in the kitchen more is that it is quality time with our kids

Prep Ahead of Time

If time is your nemesis, break up the work by doing some prep ahead of time. Preparing greens ahead, keeping a container of sliced onions at the ready, and making a big salad for the next three days—little things like this can make your time on dinner go just a bit faster and smoother. That way, whenever you’re starving, you already have a bunch of veggies ready that you can toss into a pan and whip up quickly! I’ll often prepare veggies for the evening’s meal throughout the day, five minutes at a time. 

Try out mise en place, a French term for gathering all of your ingredients and chopping everything before you start cooking. You can prepare a day or two ahead or get everything ready right before you cook.

If you’re cooking with kids, get out all the items you’ll be using and do any tasks you don’t want the kids to do BEFORE you invite them into the kitchen. Then, sit back and let them do most of the work. Preparing the cooking station beforehand allows you to relax and enjoy the task with your kids instead of searching for ingredients and trying to keep an eye on them simultaneously.

Organized kitchen cooking more

Organize Your Kitchen

You don’t need to do a complete makeover to have a well-functioning kitchen, but there are a few places that, if set up correctly, can make your life much easier. Clean countertops and having the essentials close by your cooking station are the big ones. 

Around the stovetop: Keep your go-to cooking oil, salt, pepper, and other favorite seasonings within reach of your stovetop. It’s nice to keep your most-used cooking utensils close by, too. Grabbing these items immediately without stepping away from whatever you’re making helps you feel less stressed and more in control while cooking. 
Countertops: Keep the clutter to a minimum. Anything that you aren’t using every day put it away. A clean countertop is much easier to start dinner on than a cluttered one, making clean-up much simpler!

Minimize Cleaning

Cleaning is half of the battle in the kitchen. If clean-up is the thing you dread about cooking, try to minimize it as much as possible. Talk with your partner to see if they can tackle the cleaning for you or have your older kids clean after dinner as their contribution to the meal. 

If you need to do all the cleaning yourself, see if you can use fewer dishes as you cook. Can you prioritize one-pot meals?

Cleaning as you go is the real winner here. As soon as you’re done with a utensil and dish, clean it. There are often moments of pause–—waiting for water to boil or waiting for something to finish baking—that provide enough time to wash a dish or two. Cleaning before the meal is done makes it easier to enjoy your food when you sit down to eat.


Cooking more often at home is do-able, you just have to find your style and set up habits that work for your family. Have your children help whenever possible to make the work easier and to help them learn healthy cooking habits from the get-go! Some people prefer to meal prep every week, while others need step-by-step instructions to help them make tasty food. Try out as many of these tips, and any others as you can and see how quickly your home cooking habits change. And if you have any tips that have worked for you, share them with us on Instagram or via email.

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