50 Things to Eat for Dinner When You Lack Inspiration or Don't Feel Like Cooking
by Jen on May 27, 2020
It is a newsflash to no one that I have been in a cooking rut recently. It’s been reassuring to know that I am not alone and that so many others are majorly lacking in cooking mojo right now.
There was a night a few weeks ago where I was not only absent of inspiration and the motivation to cook but also any idea of what I was in the mood to eat. I turned to Instagram and asked in a question box on my story, “what do you eat on nights when nothing sounds good + you don’t feel like cooking.”
The answers were spectacular and left me craving everything from popcorn to nachos to cheese/snack plates. I thought that it would be helpful if I shared the list here because there are over 50 ideas for easy things to eat when you are ambivalent about food/cooking. I bet you can’t read through this list without striking a craving for something!
(One can never go wrong with frozen pizza, ice cream and wine. )
WHAT TO EAT FOR DINNER WHEN YOU LACK INSPIRATION OR DON’T FEEL LIKE EATING
Homemade queso + chips.
Popcorn. (Very popular answer and inspired me to buy popcorn kernels at the grocery the next time I went.)
Eggs on or with toast.
Omelet – very accommodating to whatever you might have in the fridge!
Grilled cheese and soup. Add bacon to up the delicious factor.
Annie’s Mac…straight up or if you’re feeling ambitious add peas and tuna.
Avocado toast. (Might I recommend the most addictive avocado toast ever?)
Breakfast for dinner.
Frozen Indian food from Trader Joe’s. (Solid. Especially served over rice.)
Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice with almond butter drizzled on top. (Interesting and not averse to trying this!)
Noodles with olive oil, salt and pepper. (Can swap butter for olive oil here, and maybe add cheese.)
Homemade Egg McMuffin or any kind of egg sandwich creation.
Nachos. (Going on my menu plan as fast ASA-freaking-P!)
Rice bowls with ground beef. Top with avocado and whatever random toppings that you can find in your fridge.
Scrambled eggs in a tortilla. (Maybe turn this into a breakfast burrito or scrambled egg and black bean quesadilla.)
ALL HAIL FROZEN PIZZA! If you’re really feeling fancy…add a side salad. Bonus points if you dip the pizza in ranch.
Frozen vegetable fried rice from Trader Joe’s with soy sauce and over easy eggs. (Trader Joe’s coming in strong here with the frozen convenience foods!)
A veggie burger patty. Optional to add some an egg. Serve with fruit.
Crusty bread and good cheese. Have some crudités on the side to help you feel like you’re eating some veggies.
Eggs poached in green chili. (Gonna need more details about this one please!)
Freezer black bean burger on English muffin with avocado and chipotle mayo.
Frozen chicken nuggets.
Panini sandwich creation.
Chips, cheese, bell peppers + hummus and wine.
Yogurt + fruit parfait.
Next level scrambled eggs: scrambled eggs with cheese, greens and crispy chickpeas and topped with balsamic drizzle.
Thaw homemade soup.
Hummus and pita.
Apples with peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Alexia brand tater tos.
Grits bowl with toppings.
Melted cheese on toast with greens or sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers on top.
Chips and salsa.
Chicken fingers tossed in buffalo sauce on a salad with lots of ranch. (Mmmhmmm)
Pimento cheese sandwiches.
Grain bowls. (FOR LIFE!)
Frozen veggies thrown in a pan with fried eggs.
Frozen veggie noodles + whatever sauce or toppings you might have on hand.
I’ll leave you with this: never underestimate the yum- and comfort-factor of a grain bowl with a runny egg. Also, never forget that takeout or delivery is an excellent option.
Your turn! What do you eat when you are lacking inspiration, don’t feel like cooking and/or don’t have much of an appetite?
What meal on this list speaks to you?
What To Eat When Nothing Sounds Good
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What Does It Mean When No Food Sounds Good?
If you’re racking your mind as to what to eat and nothing sounds good- you’re not alone. There can be many reasons for food apathy. Sometimes a disinterest in food can be related to medical conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the lack of enthusiasm surrounding food choices based on food restriction or binging.
People with restrictive and binge eating disorders may experience episodes where all foods seem dissatisfying. This could be related to:
altered digestion and hunger/fullness cues
Hedonism with a binge (seeking the best food possible with easiest access for the most immediate reward)
OCD surrounding food purchasing, storage or prep
ADHD causing difficulty completing and organizing tasks including tasks associated with food.
Why Is It So Hard To Find Food To Eat!
Let’s talk about all the barriers that can come into play before we put food into our bodies.
Time of day (we might be at work and not allowed to eat!)
grocery shopping (did we have time to make it to the store?)
time to cook (many meals require 30-60 minutes of prep!)
social barriers (not having someone to eat with or feeling pressure from others you’re eating with).
food prep skills (not everyone feels good about knife handling, meal prep, or even which pan to use!)
These barriers may lead us to going too long between meals, skipping meals, or having meals that don’t physically and emotionally satisfy us.
Why Does Food Not Taste Good Anymore?
There can be several reasons for this. One common reason food may not taste as good for those with restrictive eating disorders is that they are experiencing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Zinc is a common deficiency that can alter taste.
Food deficiencies can be common with conditions like binge eating disorder, even if they are meeting adequate calorie requirements.
When someone is starving, their body is also going to produce a hormone called neuropeptide Y, which can spike our preference for carbohydrate rich foods, thus making other foods seem less appealing.
Pain in the gut from restricting or binging may also lead to a decreased satisfaction with food.
How Can Easy Prep Meals Help Us Feel More Excited About Food
In order to get out of caveman brain (caused from starvation) we need to nourish our body!
This can be difficult when cooking seems overwhelming, we lack the motivation to shop, and our body tells us we need food NOW!
Easy meals and snacks incorporated no more than 3 hours apart will help us to increase intake as well as acceptance of a variety of foods.
I also recommend convincing yourself to do one easy meal prep task a week and build on this. Do this when you’re NOT hungry. This could be as simple as cooking some rice, overnight oats, or hard-boiled eggs in advance for easy grab and go.
However, most of us will need to be in the mode of honoring our hunger on a regular basis before meal prep might seem feasible.
If you are suffering from a restrictive eating disorder, your meal plan should be discussed with your treatment team. You will need to develop a specific eating disorder recovery meal plan in order to meet your needs. Your eating disorder voice may be too loud for you to make food decisions on your own.
What Should I Fix For Dinner When Nothing Sounds Good?
The more balanced we can create the meal, the greater both the emotional and physical satisfaction is likely to be.
When we balance a meal, we should look for:
However, it’s important we do not make this a hard and fast rule! We can nourish with different macronutrients and various points in the day and still be satisfied.
Here is a list of foods that take about the same time to prep as a PB &J. You can also download the full list at the top of this page. Please note these meals and snacks are not designed to be perfect, but rather quick and offer a variety of nutrients.
pre-made salad with canned beans and dressing or hummus
avocado wrapped in lunch meat
bean and cheese burrito
microwaved nachos with canned beans and salsa
meat sandwich or pb & j
top roman with salsa (add frozen veggies if desired!)
pre-made black bean burger
tuna or chicken salad on cracker or rice cake
What Are Good Breakfast Foods When Nothing Sounds Good?
If someone is restricting, breakfast ones can be the most common meal that is missed.
Many breakfast foods take less than 5 minutes to prep. These include
smoothies (made with frozen fruit)
a piece of fruit
toast with avocado
toast with peanut butter
frozen waffles with peanut butter
toast with butter
bagel with cream cheese (add fruit if adventurous)
Overnight oats or instant oats
Always keep in mind- you don’t HAVE to have a breakfast item just because its in the morning. You can also choose leftovers- even if it’s spaghetti!
I also personally love this nooch sauce for a quick burst of added protein kept on hand for when you are in a rush! It takes about 3 minutes to make and can be added to just about anything!
How Can Binge Eating Alter What Sounds Good?
Binge eating disorder is a restrictive eating disorder.
Many individuals that experience binge eating have bouts of restriction (or thinking about restriction throughout the day). We call this the binge restrict cycle.
When it comes time to eat, a person with binge eating disorder may feel like they are STARVING!. Their body has decreased their leptin (fullness hormone) increased their grehlin (hunger cues) and increased neuropeptide y and cortisol.
While someone with binge eating disorder may feel incredibly hungry, they may have difficulty deciding WHAT to eat.
For many- a meal seems like a scarcity. So choosing the BEST meal becomes important and can feel overwhelming. They may focus on very specific “safe foods” and avoid “fear foods” to honor their restrictive mindset while allowing their bodies to nourish.
This may also fixate on carbohydrate or fat rich foods as these are the foods the body prefers if restricted. The body knows that these foods will hold the most energy value- and produces hormones to signal these are the preferred fuel source!
This may lead other foods to seem less appealing.
What If I Don’t Know What To Eat Because I Don’t Want To Cook
When we are restricting our food intake for any duration of time, our brain goes into caveman mode. When it comes time to eat- the body is simply going to choose what is going to give it the most energy (calories) the fastest!
We are less likely to want to
cook food for a single meal
batch prep food for easy advanced meals
purchase a variety of foods involving both fresh and dried goods
use fresh foods before the go to waste. Thus increasing the chance we wont purchase this again at the grocery
We can’t begin to take care of our body and manage our time when it comes to food on a starving brain.
Thus implementing quick meals with a variety of macronutrients through the day will be the BEST way to put a plan in place if we want to do any future meal prepping.
How Has Food Apathy Impacted You?
When I was experiencing binging and restricting, I recall feeling apathy about food frequently.
When binging- No food ever seemed good enough. As I began my intuitive eating journey, I was more able to clearly distinguish my hunger and fullness cues and what my body truly wanted.
Sure, the first few bites were a win, but it quickly turned into an urgency to finish the food. I was left barely tasting and certainly not enjoying the food that I was consuming.
Are there days you have just felt a general apathy towards food?
food depression: I have this, have you met with this?: pushba - LiveJournal
I grabbed food depression. Everything is mixed up here, and I'm trying to fight it. I am ready to share my experience and accept someone else's experience, if someone has come across this and is ready to share. There are several introductory ones, read them under the cut. I am looking for assistants, associates, sponsors of this whole story, I really want to enjoy food.
So, a fairy tale about how I love to eat:
It's been a year since I've been changing, changing my attitude to life, to the body, to food, to sports, etc. A lot has already happened and now I caught food depression. What is it? did you have? No, that doesn't mean I don't want anything. And that everything tastes bad to me, it means that I have lost interest in food and my life experience no longer helps me plan my meals, I have faded and faded away, and I am very afraid that this will never end, which is also very typical.
Introductory: 1 I never liked sweets, I liked fast food and strong booze. I gave up booze 3.5 years ago forever. Fast food to him and I love passionately. I love fat fried and meaty mayo cheese. I love cola and fanta. I love grilled chicken and garlic sauce with brown bread. Sweet energy. I understand that it is not useful, and even harmful, if you eat so regularly. Over the past year, my eating habits have changed and I feel fat in my mouth even when I drink milk 3.2, and I can no longer eat something fatter.
2 my body or psyche began to need sweets when I realized that everything sweet is no longer for me: I can no longer eat tiramisu in buckets) the same goes for my favorite cheesecakes
3 I used to like to sit on different types of diets. The most successful experience was the Dukan diet - and everything was fine with me, and only now I understand that the main thing is not the volume, the most important thing is the quality of the body.
4 when I started my half-hearted attempts to go to the gym or work out at home, it was years ago, I kind of realized that nutrition is important, but work and schedules and all this endless mental throwing just tore apart any system that approached me.
5 I got food depression. What does it mean.
I am not happy with the food. I don't know what to cook. I can't think of what I want to eat, I can't think of what to cook with what I want to eat. I don't read my favorite cookbooks, I don't want to fry anything. The steamer is annoying. Everything infuriates and there is no faith in anything.
I think healthy food is boring. I don't want to eat what I have cooked. Children are in kindergartens, my husband is always away from home, so I myself cannot understand exactly what I need, what I love.
I know for sure that I love cilantro and lentils and onions and chicken and salmon. and all.
Food depression grabbed my brain because: - I don’t have a diet and I’m a passionate person, I can sit at a computer or take pictures without a pause - don’t drink or eat, and then wake up from hunger and eat everything that I have before eyes - I don’t have a full daily routine, so I can’t go to the store when I need to cook well - I don’t have good recipes in front of my eyes, so I suffer there is already a solution here, I’m writing about food depression on my instagram, and there are some small solutions there, you can subscribe if you want, I’ll say right away I don’t add closed profiles (only upon request by mail) http://instagram.com/thepushba
- I have constant emotional swing, I have regular stress at home - one clings to another and I get lost in the store, and I get lost among those recipes that are not focused on healthy lifestyles. Single recipes do not suit me, because they fall out of my head.
A state of food depression: this is an aversion to food, and an inability to understand what exactly one wants at the moment, and a feeling of guilt for everything connected with food. The surrounding world, which eats freely everything that lies, seems like a picture from a movie, which I personally am not destined to get into.
What I want: I want to find a food system, enter it and live in it, I want to eat healthy food and not eat bad food, I want to learn how to cook, because my past experience and my past abilities no longer suit me. I want to understand how spices and seasonings work in order to easily understand what can be prepared from certain products. I want to enjoy food.
That's how things are with me. Have you experienced this and how did you deal with it.
standing in the store and dancing like this
Why you don't feel like eating and what to do about it
Why I don't want to eat
Loss of appetite is not a diagnosis. But this can be a sign of serious health problems or just a misunderstanding. Here are a few common factors that can affect appetite.
Appetite often decreases Caroline Giezenaar, Ian Chapman, Natalie Luscombe-Marsh, Christine Feinle-Bisset, Michael Horowitz, Stijn Soenen. Aging Is Associated with Decreases in Appetite and Energy Intake—A Meta‑Analysis in Healthy Adults / Nutrients over the years. Perhaps this is due to the fact that with age, the metabolism slows down and people simply need fewer calories than in their youth.
But other reasons are not excluded. Scientists suspect Mary Hicksonab, Charlotte Moss, Waljit S. Dhilloc, Jeanne Bottin, Gary Frost. Increased peptide YY blood concentrations, not decreased acyl‑ghrelin, are associated with reduced hunger and food intake in healthy older women: Preliminary evidence / Elsevier that older people may not produce enough ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite. Or the work of the sense organs is changing, and people do not get the pleasure from food that in their youth (and if so, why eat?).
Research is still ongoing. But it is unambiguously established: the older we get, the less we eat.
2. High physical or mental stress
If you feel like a squirrel in a wheel all day long, hurry somewhere, worry about something, and in the evening you fall exhausted from your feet, you should not be surprised at a decrease in appetite Why stress causes people to overeat / Harvard Health Publishing.
When you are extremely exhausted, the body is forced to choose what to spend energy on: running around or energy-intensive digestion. If you can’t get out of business, the brain reduces the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. You just don't want to eat.
3. Pregnancy in women
Many mothers-to-be face nausea and loss of appetite. Most often this happens in the first trimester.
MD, obstetrician-gynecologist, in a comment to Parents.
Approximately one in two pregnant women in the United States experiences periods of aversion to some familiar food.
The exact cause of decreased appetite during pregnancy is not known. But experts suggest Food aversions during pregnancy / BabyCenter, which is about hormonal changes in the body and increased sensitivity to tastes and smells. Perhaps the refusal of a favorite food is an evolutionary mechanism: in this way, the mother’s body tries to protect the fetus from substances that are potentially harmful to its development.
In the summer heat, you want to eat much less C. Peter Herman. Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in Field Operations. / Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research than on cold autumn or winter evenings. The fact is that food is part of the body's thermoregulation system. When we are cool, we tend to consume more calories in order to convert them into heat. In the heat, the body does not need additional heating, and therefore neglects food.
Someone's appetite disappears because of nervousness, someone, on the contrary, gets stressed out. Scientists have not yet discovered any common algorithm for all that connects emotions and eating behavior. But they clearly established that the desire to eat largely depends on the mood L. Bourdier, Y. Morvan, G. Kotbagi, L. Kern, L. Romo, S. Berthoz. Examination of emotion‑induced changes in eating: A latent profile analysis of the Emotional Appetite Questionnaire / Appetite. And for each person, this connection is individual.
Nicotine has a side effect: it reduces Xiao‑Bing Gao, Marina R. Picciotto. Nicotine Decreases Food Intake Through Activation of POMC Neurons / Science
7. SARS and other diseases in the acute phase
Leptin is a hormone that causes satiety. But at the same time, this substance takes an active part Radheshyam Maurya, Parna Bhattacharya, Ranadhir Dey and Hira L. Nakhasi. Leptin Functions in Infectious Diseases / Frontiers in the immune response to infection.
With a cold, flu, exacerbation of other infectious diseases, the level of leptin increases - this allows the body to repel a pathogenic attack. But once the hormone becomes more, there is a feeling of satiety. Therefore, sick people often refuse to eat.
8. Taking certain medications
Reduced appetite may be one of the side effects of antibiotics Side effects. Antibiotics/NHS. But other drugs sometimes discourage the desire to eat. Such a reaction is caused, for example, by painkillers Appetite decreased / MedlinePlus based on codeine and morphine, as well as diuretics Diuretics / Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK.
9. Psychiatric disorders
Loss of appetite may be caused by depression Depression (major depressive disorder) / Mayo Clinic.
Another common mental disorder that is directly related to the reluctance to eat is anorexia nervosa Anorexia/NHS. So doctors call an eating disorder caused by a desperate fear of gaining weight.
10. Diseases of the digestive system
Change in appetite may be one of the first symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome Piero Portincasa, Leonilde Bonfrate, Ornella de Bari, Anthony Lembo, Sarah Ballou. Irritable bowel syndrome and diet / Gastroenterology Report and Crohn's disease Gordon W. Moran, Fiona C. Leslie, John T. McLaughlin. Crohn's disease affecting the small bowel is associated with reduced appetite and elevated levels of circulating gut peptides / Clinical Nutrition.
11. Viral hepatitis and other damage to the liver
One of the most important elements in the digestive system is the liver: it is here that blood enters with nutrients processed by the stomach and intestines. The body sorts the substances received, cleanses them of toxins and only then passes them into the general bloodstream. For viral hepatitis Viral Hepatitis and Hepatitis A Outbreak / University Health Service. University of Michigan and other liver diseases Liver disease / Mayo Clinic, she ceases to cope with her functions.
In order not to overload the suffering liver and give it a chance to recover, the body reduces Barbara C. Fam, Christos N. Joannides, and Sofianos Andrikopoulos. The liver. Key in regulating appetite and body weight / Adipocyte production of hormones, enzymes and other substances responsible for the manifestation of appetite.
12. Cardiovascular diseases
Loss of appetite is one of the symptoms Tingting Xia, Xichen Chai, Jiaqing Shen. Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in patients with chronic heart failure and its possible association with appetite loss / PLOS ONE chronic heart failure. In addition, reluctance to eat may be associated with a developing heart attack Heart attacks in women / Harvard Healh Publishing and malformations Congenital heart disease: What to watch for / Heart and Stroke of the heart.
13. Endocrine Disorders
If the thyroid gland produces less hormones than necessary (this condition is called hypothyroidism), appetite is significantly reduced. However, the weight may increase.
14. Iron deficiency anemia
Loss of appetite along with weight loss, especially if all this is accompanied by fatigue, a feeling of lack of strength, is one of the most characteristic symptoms Hanin Ghrayeb, Mazen Elias, Jeries Nashashibi, Awni Youssef, Mari Manal, Liala Mahagna, Masalha Refaat, Naama Schwartz, Adi Elias. Appetite and ghrelin levels in iron deficiency anemia and the effect of parenteral iron therapy: A longitudinal study / PLOS ONE
Loss of appetite often accompanies oncological diseases Appetite decreased / MedlinePlus, such as:
Food aversion can also be a side effect Alissa A. Nolden, Liang‑Dar Hwang, Anna Boltong and Danielle R. Reed. Chemosensory Changes from Cancer Treatment and Their Effects on Patients’ Food Behavior: A Scoping Review / Tumor Treatment Nutrients.
Is it necessary to restore appetite
On the one hand, reducing appetite is a convenient thing. Someone suffers on diets, and you reduce the caloric content of the diet by itself.
On the other hand, one should not rejoice at the lack of appetite. At least because with a limited diet, you get fewer nutrients. And this can lead to hypovitaminosis (and even beriberi), a decrease in hemoglobin levels, anemia Vitamin deficiency anemia / Mayo Clinic and more serious problems Hypovitaminosis / ScienceDirect - with the liver and other internal organs, vision, joints, teeth.
What exactly will be the long-term consequences of a decrease in appetite depends on the causes that caused such a condition. It's one thing if you don't feel like eating just because you're sad or too hot. And it is quite another if the loss of appetite is associated with damage to the liver, heart, and even more so cancer.
What to do if you don't feel like eating
First, take care of yourself, your well-being, and life circumstances. Perhaps your appetite has decreased for external reasons, for example, due to heat, fatigue, worries. In this case, the desire to eat will return as soon as stress factors disappear.
But if everything is calm in your life, and your appetite has disappeared, or if indifference to food lasts for weeks, try contacting a therapist.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice that your inability to eat is accompanied by sudden weight loss.
The doctor will examine you and ask you about your symptoms.