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Too Burned Out to Cook? Here Are Some Helpful Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Quarantine Life Easier

When the stay-at-home orders started, you may have noticed that almost everyone you know is posting cooking and DIY videos meant to keep them entertained while social distancing. A lot of people suddenly had a new version of their life and are now trying out gardening, baking, and other home DIY projects.

Amid this uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, many turned to recipe books and kitchens to feel a sense of calmness. People finally found the time to cook. But after a few weeks in, you might feel that you’re already burned out—and it’s perfectly normal. The reality that we’re living right now can be overwhelming.

Some might find peace in keeping themselves busy, while some don’t want to do anything at all. Sometimes, that even includes preparing food. You want to eat, but your energy doesn’t seem enough to make you get off that couch. However, it’s a must for us to keep ourselves nourished to stay healthy during this public health crisis. If you find yourself burned out and struggling to eat adequately, here are five kitchen hacks to make your life easier while on quarantine.

Feeling like you’re not up for cooking is normal, but you still have to nourish your body.

Redefine Your Idea of a Meal

When you think about making a meal, you immediately think of cooking. However, you don’t have to take out the pots and pans to whip yourself a plate of food. There are easy-to-prepare food items that you can mix and match to create a complete meal. You just have to make sure that you include 3 or 4 food groups for a nutritionally balanced meal.

You only need minimal preparation to fix yourself a tuna wrap using canned tuna, some greens, avocado, and mayo. If you have bread, toast two slices and add in some scrambled eggs, avocado, and cheese. A salad meal is also easy to prepare with just some dressing, feta, and canned chickpeas mixed with a bowl of greens. It’s okay if you don’t feel excitement toward food like before. What’s important is that you get the nourishment that your body needs to help combat sickness.

Meal Prep for an Entire Week

Buying ingredients for your meals at the grocery store can be exhausting in itself, so it’s better to get everything you need for the week in one grocery run. Get an overview of what you’ll be eating throughout the week and list down all the ingredients you’ll need—stock up on things that have a longer shelf life. Fresh produce like pears, apples, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and squash can last longer as long as these are stored properly.

Once you arrive home, get as much prep work done as possible in 1 day. You can chop some ingredients and store them in airtight containers. Staple food like rice, quinoa, stew, or broth can be cooked in batches and stored for future use. Anything that you can do in advance, do it in one kitchen session. This cuts down the things you have to do when mealtime comes.

Try to prepare as much as you can in one day so you won’t have to worry about cooking for the rest of the week.

Swap Food with Your Neighbors

You can arrange with your neighbor to take turns in cooking large batches for both of you. You may be assigned to cook a big batch of pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, while your neighbor will be the one to cook for lunch. With this set-up, you won’t have to cook as much.

It brings excitement when you look forward to what your neighbor may hand over through the next days. It also motivates you to put together something you can be proud of. Just make sure that there will be no contact when you drop off meals in front of each other’s doors. 

Opt for Pre-Made Meals

Pre-made meals or frozen food may not be the healthiest option, but health is more than just nutrition. During times like this, you also have to take care of your mental health. If the thought of being in the kitchen makes you feel anxious or distressed, then you may be better off with pre-made meals.

If a bowl of microwaved mac & cheese makes you feel better, then go for it! There are also other options for the health-conscious in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Pre-made meals or takeout food may just be your lifesaver while stuck on quarantine

Order Takeout or Delivery from Your Local Restaurant

Takeout has always been a lifesaver—what more in this time of social distancing, right? Aside from being able to get your fill with your favorite dish from your local dining spot, you can also support these independent restaurants that employ around 11 million workers.

Before you open your delivery app, try calling the restaurant directly first if they can deliver. Several delivery apps take huge commissions from these restaurants, so you’ll probably save them a few bucks. Also, try to give a generous tip to the delivery person. Make sure to choose a contactless drop-off and wash your hands properly after handling the takeout boxes and before eating.

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