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New Year’s Resolution to Cook More at Home? 10 Tips to Help You to Get Started

Last Update: February 25, 2024

New Year’s resolutions are noble endeavors, and few are more popular than resolving to cook at home more in the new year. Cooking for yourself and your family saves you money on hefty delivery fees, helps you stick to your healthy eating goals, and may even help you to improve your culinary skills along the way. 

But while it may seem like a good idea at the time, cooking at home can feel overwhelming for those who aren’t accustomed to it. To avoid resolution burnout, here are some cooking tips that will help you start out on the right foot in the kitchen. 

1. Take a cooking class (even if it’s just online!) 

For the serious newbie home chef, a cooking class may be a good place to start. You’ll learn to hone your knife skills, understand the difference between browning and sauteing, and get the gist of seasonings that make sense. You can treat yourself to a cooking class IRL, or if you’re on a budget, head to YouTube for video lessons that you can do in the comfort of your own kitchen. 

2. Research some recipes. 

Like anything, cooking at home always works out best with a bit of preparation. The best way to get prepared is by pulling out your favorite cookbooks or browsing the internet to start getting inspired. 

Some tips to keep in mind: 

  • Stick to recipes that are fun and simple to make (so you’ll actually make them!)
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many experimental recipes at the same time
  • You may want to reserve your weekends for trying out more intricate recipes, and rely on a few tried-and-true recipes for quick weekday meals and weeknight dinners 

Here are a few of our favorite recipes to help you get started: 

37 Easy Dinner Ideas
50 Easy Healthy Meals & Recipes Families Love
25 Best Comfort Food Recipes
45 Easy Lunch Recipes
46 Easy Breakfast Recipe Ideas

3. Invest in the right tools.

You won’t enjoy cooking with only a dull knife and a blackened frying pan to work with, so do an audit of your kitchen supplies before you begin. Now’s a great time to invest in some essential tools that you can use across many recipes, such as:

  • A multipurpose chef’s knife
  • A high-quality sheet pan
  • A heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (for soups, roasts, and breads)
  • Both plastic and wooden cutting boards (Tip: Use plastic for cutting meats, so bacteria doesn’t get trapped in the wood grain)
  • Nonstick pots and pans 
  • A food processor
  • A high-speed blender or immersion blender 
  • Durable food storage containers for storing leftovers 

4. Stock up on fresh, healthy ingredients.  

Instead of scouring your near-empty refrigerator for the tenth time, set aside some time at the beginning of the week to order all the healthy groceries you’ll need to make your recipes. You can even use Autoship to schedule deliveries ahead of time so you’ll always have the groceries you need when you need them. 

Looking for some inspiration? Try these shopping lists: 

Healthy Grocery List Essentials
Paleo Shopping List: Groceries, Products & More
Vegan Shopping List: Groceries, Products & More
Keto Shopping List: Groceries, Products & More

5. Prep your ingredients ahead of time. 

If you don’t have the time (or the patience) to make an elaborate meal from scratch every night, you may want to try prepping batches of ingredients at the beginning of the week to mix and match in different dishes. 

You might also try out the Thrive Market Healthy Reset Meal Plan, which shows you how to use one day of meal prep to make multiple healthy recipes throughout the week. 

Get the meal plans here:

Introducing the Healthy Reset Meal Plan
Announcing the Thrive Market 2023 Healthy Reset Meal Plan 

6. Cook foods that make you feel good. 

If you’re working with dietary restrictions or food allergies, stay conscious of the ingredients in your meals. Even if you don’t adhere to a specific diet, think of foods that make you feel your best: for many people, that’s fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality meats or plant-based proteins, and wholesome, unprocessed ingredients. If you know that a certain food doesn’t agree with you, omit it from the recipe (or go for a different recipe altogether!) to make your cooking work for your body. 

7. Make enough to last a few days. 

It can feel daunting to cook for yourself if you know you have to start from scratch with every meal. When life gets busy or you just need a break, make enough to have leftovers for a few days—you’ll only have to cook once to enjoy two (or even three) homemade meals.

8. Host a dinner party. 

Once you get into the groove of cooking at home, you may want to share your newfound skills with friends. Hosting a dinner party—even a laid-back one—is a great alternative to going out to a pricey restaurant. Plus, getting positive feedback from friends may help you to keep going with your cooking resolution! 

Here are some dinner party tips: 

Dinner Party Ideas: Recipes, Games & More
Host the Perfect Pride Dinner Party With Chef Will Coleman’s Spicy Pepperoni Chicken Cutlets
Elevate Your Holiday Party With 3 Sparkling Wine Cocktails

9. Get the whole family involved. 

If you have kids, cooking at home can take on a whole new meaning. Getting the little ones involved will help to teach them healthy eating habits, give them a household chore to help out with, and even make cooking more fun for you. Here are some ways to include the kids in your cooking: 

  • Show toddlers how to mix a batter
  • Allow them to pour liquid from a measuring cup 
  • Help them roll out dough with a rolling pin
  • Let them toss a salad with wooden spoons 
  • Use a kids’ safety knife for cutting soft foods 
  • Let older kids chop ingredients or peel vegetables

Kid-friendly recipes to make at home: 

15 Kid-Friendly Recipes
Sharing Our Table: Sara’s Quick, Kid-Friendly Samosa Recipe
7 Quick, Easy, Fun, and Healthy Recipes to Cook With Your Kids

10. Start a recipe club with friends.

Having others to hold you accountable is a big motivator for many resolution-setters. Starting a recipe club with friends or family members can help you to do just that; simply set up a Zoom call each week to choose a recipe, leave feedback about how it turned out, and share cooking tips as you all learn and progress. If your whole group lives in the same area, you can even take your recipe club IRL and host a dinner in person each week!

This article is related to:

Cooking Tips, Dinner Recipes

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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