Clean Eating

Have More Fun Cooking

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What if we told you that you could turn meal prep into an enjoyable, therapeuti­c (dare we say relaxing?) process instead of a dreaded chore. Who wouldn’t want that?

93. Cook with your kids. You may need to streamline food prep on busy weeknights, but when you have a little more time, invite your kids to join in the cooking process. Littles can help measure and mix, older ones can chop and sauté. But if that sounds like anything but fun, keep reading...

94. Be honest with yourself. If what you really need while cooking is solitude, give yourself that. Don’t worry about living up to anyone else’s idea of what cooking “should” be like. Kick everyone out of the kitchen, play some music and enjoy your alone time.

95. Take some risks. “The biggest thing is to always push yourself out of the comfort zone, and just try,” Peisker says. If you let yourself do that, and worry less about making everything Insta-worthy or even having the occasional flop, you’ll gain confidence and develop a sense of culinary adventure.

96. Embrace traditions. If you have a cultural dish for a particular holiday, lean into it. Sure, technique matters, but cooking is just as much about emotional nourishmen­t.

97. Make the most of where you live. If you’re on a coast and fresh fish abounds, take advantage of it. Or perhaps your city is known for a dish, like Cincinnati chili or crab cakes in Baltimore. Use those local dishes and hyper-local foods as inspiratio­n.

98. Kill cooking ruts. On nights when you just can’t muster the energy to cook, set out prosciutto, cheese, chopped vegetables, fruit and nuts and let everyone make their own plate.

99. Don’t get boxed in (aside from baking, where precision is key). Think of recipes as guides, and feel free to deviate, says Jim Dixon, founder of the Wellspent Market in Portland, Oregon. Swap proteins, spices, herbs or vegetables, make it spicier or milder or change up the proportion­s.

100. Set the stage. “Fall in love with your kitchen and love spending time there,” Hull says. “Set the tone by buying yourself a sassy apron. Organize your space in a way that feels most comfortabl­e to you. Turn on the music, pour yourself a glass of wine and revel in your time spent in the kitchen.”

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