Diet culture often turns cooking into a chore, where it becomes just another task on your to-do list. Ditching diet mentality invites us to rediscover the joy of eating and cooking! In this article, I’m sharing how to approach cooking through an intuitive eating lens and recipe inspiration from my favorite cookbooks.
Intuitive Eating and Cooking
Has your kitchen been overruled by diets? Has dieting placed too many restrictions on what foods you can and cannot keep in the kitchen? Do you feel limited with your recipe selections?
Unfortunately, I see this all the time with my clients. Some feel burnt out from strict weekly meal prep with little-to-no variety. Others feel panicky when their cabinets are wiped clean of their favorite foods. The kitchen feels like a test, where the only outcomes are pass or fail.
Now, imagine this…
You walk into your kitchen, which feels like a sanctuary. The space feels warm and cozy. You scan your fridge and pantry to decide what to make for dinner. There’s an abundance of food and ingredients to choose from. As your favorite music plays in the background, you experiment in the kitchen, incorporating ingredients that were once “forbidden” on previous diets. You feel free, creative, and relaxed as you prepare a meal that tastes delicious and makes you feel amazing!
Here are some quick tips to make your kitchen feel like a sanctuary and cooking an act of self-love.
3 Tips to For Intuitive Cooking
1. Color Outside the Lines.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact ingredients a recipe calls for; take it as an opportunity to add your own twist! Give yourself the freedom to use ALL ingredients. Learn new cooking techniques by watching Bon Appetit YouTube videos. These always inspire me to experiment in the kitchen.
2. Invite Fun Into the Kitchen.
Queue up your favorite songs, drink a glass of wine, light your favorite candle, or invite any elements that elevate the experience for you. Let these elements remind you that cooking is allowed to be fun! What would bring you greater joy in the kitchen? Bring those elements into your space now.
3. Connect to Self-Love.
Remind yourself that cooking is an expression of love. It’s one of the many ways in which we nourish ourselves from the inside out. When we act from a place of love, the entire process is more lighthearted, and the outcome more beautiful than we could have imagined. While cooking, reflect on the many ways in which you show your body love and respect.
Last but not least, take inspiration from my favorite cookbooks!
Recipe Inspiration from My Favorite Cookbooks
Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. Eat like an Olympian…literally. Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky have mastered the art of nourishing recipes. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy this cookbook. Bake a batch of Superhero Muffins on Sunday for a sweet & satisfying snack to enjoy during the week! Ian and I just tried the Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes from the first cookbook, and I can honestly say that I’ve FINALLY found a way to enjoy leftover salmon. Recipe favorites:
- Superhero Muffins
- Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes
Half Baked Harvest. Super Simple. Do you follow Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest on Instagram? I can’t help but drool over the food photos, and the recipe creations are DIVINE. I love Half Baked Harvest because Tieghan is not afraid of using butter, sugar, or flour. The cookbook offers a nice blend of classic comfort foods (hello Cinnamon Rolls with Chai Frosting) and quick, healthy dinners (like the Pan Roasted Morrocan Salmon). Start with some recipes from the HBH blog if you want to wait to purchase the cookbook.
Nutrition Stripped. McKel Hill, Founder of Nutrition Stripped, is one of the first dietitians I followed when I became interested in becoming an RD. Nutrition Stripped recipes remind me of nutrition from the ground up. The cookbook even contains education on key nutrients! I love the Stripped Green Smoothie when I’m craving green juice or if I’m feeling rundown. It’s a nice boost!
Of course, you can always check out Everglow Nutrition recipes to celebrate the JOY and fun of cooking, too!