The Truth Is: I hardly ever cook with recipes

One thing I quickly noticed about being a “dietitian who blogs” is that the people expected recipes, so I posted them. The photos were straight-up awful, and truth be told I rarely ever measured anything while I was cooking so the lists are/were a guess (which I would usually disclose…relax). Dietitians in the blogging space frequently get contacted by food companies in the same way physicians are targeted by pharmaceutical drug companies. Recipe contests, product reviews, food expos, free samples sent to your doorstep — it’s all there for us, to show you how to use, enjoy, and buy it all up.

I don’t think this is a problem unless it goes undisclosed – or creates a bias in research – but it just never felt authentic to me. I don’t create “recipes” that often, so why go make a special blog post with one featuring a special product? Frankly, I’m not that creative in the kitchen and rarely feel like I’m giving you anything you couldn’t have come up with yourself. But aside from that, it’s not that fun for me. I would always push those projects to the very last minute and be annoyed with myself for even agreeing to do it.

Side note: anything you push off doing is probably not something you truly enjoy. Take note of those things and try to do less of them. 

(One big caveat: I love working with Love Grown Foods and this is not a paid plug. They’re a great company and I could live off of their Cocoa Goodness granola for as long as it would sustain me.)

All this to say, there are some very talented and creative food bloggers out there, and a good chunk of them are dietitians, too. But just because we specialize in nutrition does not imply we love conjuring up recipes any more than being a medical doctor implies you want to go make your own pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, I’ve met many an RD that relied heavily on frozen prepared meals, but we’ll save that conversation for another day. (And I certainly had my dietetic-intern phase with said meals.) And sure I enjoy cooking, but I don’t love to create or use formal recipes.

Adjusting to my lifestyle and dubbed gypsy-commuting schedule when I started at Spright I found myself eating out frequently — at least four days a week, if not more. With a slightly more stable schedule this year/month, I’ve gotten back to something slightly resembling a routine which involves buying and using fresh food. But you don’t see a lot of it here (or here) because I don’t think there’s much to show. On any given day, my lunch or dinner plate is filled with this mix: roasted and/or sauteed vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes + peppers), fish or eggs, salt/pepper. Sometimes rice or quinoa, if I’ve been patient enough to make a batch for reheating; sometimes a good dousing of hot sauce, and usually with some olive or coconut oil for cooking.

My point is this: if you want to cook more, eat in more, rely less on prepared foods, it’s not hard. You don’t need recipes. You need a few simple skills in the kitchen and some practice with opening your fridge, staring down the contents, and knowing that in some way it’ll all go together. It may not be the best meal of your life, but it can go from fridge-to-table in 30 minutes or less. Right-hand-up I promise you don’t need a bulky cookbook or fancy meal plan for every week, you just need some kitchen staples and fresh produce. Start with that.


  1. January 19, 2016

    You are speaking to my life right now, friend. Yesterday’s post included!
    As you know, I am not a fan of cooking, but since finding out I have a list of food allergies/intolerances, it was clear that I had to limit outsourcing meals. You know Mike’s crazy work schedule and Bam doesn’t have thumbs sooooooo, yah that leaves me.
    Over the last few months, I have embraced cooking & baking more than ever. Nothing big or elaborate, very similar to your home cooked meals. If I can do this, I am 100% sure anyone can.
    PS Looking forward to your next post. 🙂

  2. January 19, 2016

    This post resonates with me! I have often compared myself to other RDs (especially on social media) thinking that I’m less of a dietitian because I don’t develop recipes, and I’m not particularly fond of being in the kitchen. Thanks, Heather, for making those of us who aren’t culinary queens (RD or not) feel normal! 🙂

  3. January 19, 2016

    The part where you said “it might not be the best meal of your life” totally resonates with me. I’ve been trying to cook more to save money, but I have a very picky boyfriend who likes food that is REALLY REALLY GOOD. So when I make something that is just fine, he’s never thrilled and won’t usually eat the leftovers. Not every meal is the best meal of your life, right? It’s not BAD food, but sometimes you just gotta eat!

  4. January 27, 2016

    I’m the same. I actually would LIKE to follow recipes a bit more often just for a little spice in the meal rotation, but I tend not to look at my cookbooks before I leave the house and yet I still want to buy more of them (moosewood and Oh She Glows next cookbook whenever it’s out). Pete is often like, “did you follow a recipe?” Ha, no, I did not. We eat mostly vegetarian over here and I really like that it can be so quick, easy, and healthy. Things in our rotation are sautéed veggies + beans to go with corn tortillas, lettuce, salsa and a little cheese, pasta w/ veggies added to marinara, crustless quiche w/ sautéed veg inside, pizza with fun toppings (favorites are goat cheese and caramelized onion).

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