Kris Carr


5 Fun Ways to Spark More Joy in the Kitchen

Hiya Gorgeous!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cooking a satisfying, healthy meal for yourself. You get to take distinct ingredients and bring them together to create something flavorful and life-giving. What’s more beautiful than that?

But as joyful and healing as the kitchen can be, it can also be a source of stress for many of us. Life is busy and sometimes we’re just too tired or uninspired to whip up a plate of goodness. On those days, cooking can feel more like a task we don’t have time for than a privilege.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, tootsie—cooking ruts happen to all of us, but we’re gonna get you back into your groove in no time.

So if takeout has become a near-nightly occurrence or you’re starting to think you’d rather eat chalk than THAT same boring meal again (you know the one!), then this list is for you.

Ready to fall back in love with the kitchen? Your body, mind, spirit, joy, energy, immunity, waistline and mood will thank you! Try one of these simple tips…


1. Keep your freezer stocked with inspiring meal starters.

When mealtime comes around and my tummy is already rumbling, I find it intimidating to start with a completely blank slate. Know what I mean? Thinking straight while hungry—never mind coming up with something creative to cook—is NOT easy.

That’s why I keep go-to staples in my freezer to help revive my inner chef. That way, I’m not starting from scratch when I get into the kitchen. Veggie and fruit mixes, falafel, pre-cooked whole grains, veggie burgers, and even burritos are some of my faves to keep on hand.

Trader Joe’s is great place to get frozen goodies. Have you had their cauliflower gnocchi?! Ugh… SO good! Amy’s and Dr. Praeger’s also have great options. Look for stuff that’s organic, gluten-free and plant-based, and avoid high sodium content or long, complicated ingredients lists.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not advocating for you to heat up a TV dinner every night. I’m talkin’ about healthy frozen basics that can serve as a jumping off point. Then add your own twist! Turn that veggie mix into a yummy stir fry with a homemade sauce, or make a fresh side salad and guacamole to have with your burrito. Not only does this make your frozen foods more exciting, it also helps you flex those cooking muscles!

2. Experiment with raw foods.

Eating light, bright meals filled with fresh fruits and veggies is easy during the spring and summer, especially when our favorite produce is in season. Personally, raw fruits and veggies are year-round staples in my household (daily juices and smoothies are a MUST), but I know that many of you aren’t exactly craving crisp salads and raw, chilled soups during the colder months. Instead, you might be reaching for those warm, tummy-filling treats at every meal.

The thing is, raw foods are SO good for us! And I don’t know about you, but when I’m not getting enough of ‘em, my body tells me so. I’ve found that making a conscious effort to incorporate more raw foods into my meals, especially in the winter, is a surefire to get out of a cooking rut.

Need some ideas for making raw foods a bigger part of your diet? Check out my top 10 tips for enjoying more raw foods here!

3. Mix up your routine with new recipes.

Cookbooks collecting dust? Here’s a great way to bring some excitement back: Grab one (here are some of my all-time favorites) and choose a recipe you’ve never made before.

If you’re having trouble deciding, just play recipe roulette! Close your eyes, start flipping, then stop on a random page. Open your eyes… and voila! Whatever you landed on is your new recipe, so let’s get cookin’ good lookin’!

Another tip: When it comes to incorporating new recipes into your routine, I encourage you to go slow. It can be easy to feel like you need to revamp every meal to reignite your spark in the kitchen. But when you take it one recipe at a time, you give yourself the chance to enjoy the process and figure out what really gets your taste buds tingling—it might not be what you’re used to!

Need some easy, nutritious AND delicious recipes to add to your repertoire? Join my Crazy Sexy Recipe Club! Members get access to exclusive free content like bonus recipes, extra love notes from me, a starter pack that includes 9 gorgeous recipe cards and other awesome goodies.

4. Whip up homemade versions of your favorite takeout treats.

Takeout is fun and especially great in a pinch, but it shouldn’t become a crutch. That said, recreating your fave takeout dishes doesn’t have to be complicated. Plus, it gives you more control over the ingredients you use so you can choose the best stuff for your precious bod.

Instead of ordering from the Thai place you have on speed dial, try making your own Pad Thai and spring rolls with the fam. Or, do your own pizza night and get creative with toppings you wouldn’t normally find on your standard takeout menu (try this South-of-the Border Pizza!).

5. Give your go-to meal a healthy makeover.

Cooking slumps aren’t always about the season. Sometimes we just don’t feel great about what we’ve been eating. Our go-to comfort foods may taste great, but that doesn’t mean they’re serving us from a nutritional perspective.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to stop eating the things you love. Instead, breathe new life into old favorites by giving them a healthy makeover! That’s right, you can healthify even the most decadent dishes. And the process of recipe editing can be a lot of fun. Make a mess, be daring, try something unexpected! You’ll be confidently rocking that apron again in no time.

Check out my blog post here for tips on giving any recipe a healthy makeover, a list of 20 easy substitutions and a convenient downloadable cheat sheet!

I hope these tips help you rediscover fun in the kitchen, sweetheart. Remember, cooking for yourself is an act of self-love. It’s the ultimate way to tell your body: I respect you. I cherish you. I love you. Thank you for allowing my soul to experience this world.

Your turn: Which of these tips do you want to try? Or, what do you do to reignite the spark when you’re in a cooking rut? Let me know in the comments below!

Peace and kickin’ ass in the kitchen,

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  1. Dominica says:

    Hi Kris,
    Love these tips, thank you:)
    I have started to meal plan, a week at a time. I only plan the evening meal, and I usually make a soup/salad at lunch. I go through my cookery books, and try at least 2 or 3 new dishes each week, just to keep the variety going. Its really got me keen to get in the kitchen each night. I love cooking, but dont always love the daily thought of “what shall we have for tea tonight?” , so in order to bypass that thought, I plan the meals, and then can shop accordingly each week, which also helps with any food waste (usually not an issue in our house!! )and just look at the list of meals, and not waste brain power wondering what to have. I can totally relate to trying to think when you are hungry, it just doesn’t work for me!!
    As a side note, I have been Vegan for 5 years now, and for Lent this year, my hubby and daughter have decided to go Vegan too, this makes me happy, I am hoping I have inspired them with all the yummy meals we have each night:)))

    • kris says:

      Hi Dominica! So glad you found these tips helpful. Sounds like you’re already doing an amazing job with meal planning—love your point about not wasting too much brain power on wondering what’s for dinner!

      Also, SO wonderful to hear about your hubby and daughter. You’re an inspiration. Love ya!

  2. Bernadette says:

    I need some tips for a mom working full time! These “easy” tips are still way too intimidating. I don’t want to be the Lean Cuisine poster child, but it’s just too much to do anything else! No Trader Joe’s near me and the healthier microwave meals are $6/pop where I am. Heeeeeelp! :-/

  3. This is great, thank you. As a mom of three this is very helpful. I especially love the idea of stocking the freezer. If possible, I would for you to post a blog with more specific freezer staples down to the brand and package.

    • kris says:

      Funny you should say that—I was just chatting with my team about doing a “freezer must-haves” post yesterday! It’s on the list 😉 xo!

  4. emanuela says:

    It’s one of those evenings. I must say the post has not helped until I read this: “Remember, cooking for yourself is an act of self-love. It’s the ultimate way to tell your body: I respect you. I cherish you. I love you. Thank you for allowing my soul to experience this world.” Sorry, have to dash now! I am late for cooking.

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