How do I get my cooking mojo back?

Try making something different like Moroccan or Indian food if you find yourself losing your creativity in the kitchen.

I used to enjoy cooking nutritious food but recently I’ve really lost my cooking mojo. I can’t be bothered and I am tending to buy more takeaways, which I know aren’t as good for me. How do I get my love of cooking back? Thanks, Jane

Hi Jane. That’s an interesting one. Any time we lose an interest or a passion it’s worth taking a little bit of time to reflect on what is going on around this. Are you more stressed? Taking on more work commitments and so on? There could be a number of reasons here. However, it’s not uncommon for the main chef in the household to become sick of cooking, particularly when you add in time pressure and hungry children. We can often get into a routine of cooking the same dishes, which is helpful for efficiency but not necessarily for a creative outlet which cooking can most definitely be.

To re-engage your interest in cooking I suggest going to the library and getting out some new cookbooks. Try some really different options like Middle Eastern, Moroccan or Indian cuisine. Or dust off your cookbook collection at home and aim to cook at least one new recipe a week. Get back in touch with what food means to you. Let it be nourishment and reconnect with the joy and value of cooking delicious and nutritious meals.

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Portion control is a big issue for me, I eat well but I eat too much. What’s the best way to manage portion control without weighing food/becoming obsessed with it? Thank you, Claire

Hi Claire. Portion control is most definitely an issue for many people. Especially if you’re from a family where more equals better, or your parent/s like to display their love through large quantities of food. Aside from the emotional reasons why we might serve ourselves larger portions such as a stressful day, anxious or overwhelmed feelings etc. there are a number of ways you can reduce or manage your portion sizes.

Here are some easy tips:

– Serve dinner on a smaller plate.

– Eat slowly and chew each mouthful 20 times. This takes time – be patient! Give it some practise and it will become a habit. Start with chewing each bite 10 times.

– Enjoy the tastes and textures of food – really savour the experience!

– Put your knife and fork down after each bite.

– As a rough guide use your fists to indicate portion sizes – 1 for protein, 1 for carbohydrate and as many as you like for non-starchy vegetables. However, please note every body is different and this may not suit your nutritional requirements.

– Avoid eating when you’re stressed or anxious – go for a walk, have a cup of tea or read a book. More often than not people overindulge when they’re stressed.

For more information about portion sizes check out Dr Libby book The Calorie Fallacy available from all good bookstores and www.drlibby.com

Email your questions for Dr Libby to [email protected]. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.

Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.  To read more from Dr Libby, be sure to get her monthly newsletter. Simply complete the form at www.drlibby.com

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