‘I do not have time to cook’ – 5 words you cannot afford to say

I don’t have time is the most common excuse when it comes to not cooking. Followed by ‘I don’t know how’, ‘it’s boring’, ‘my mum wasn’t a good cook, so I’m not’ and a bunch of other beliefs that are total bllshit. Seriously.

If you’re a busy driven woman who wants to be healthy and keeps getting tripped up by all-the-things in the way of getting in the kitchen and cooking. Listen up.

Eating is what humans do to survive. We can’t get around it. It delivers us the nutrition our body needs to thrive.

If you have big dreams, goals and a thriving calendar. What you eat and the beliefs you choose around food and cooking are so important. Because, what you eat determines how you feel and how you feel plays out in every area of your life. Ever tried to be fun, confident and full of beans with a chronic bloated tummy? Or feeling so hungry because you skipped lunch again for a coffee, because it was too hard.


A picture of Lou with the words 'I don't have time to cook' 5 words you cannot afford to say, written over the top

‘I don’t have time’. Five simple words that you cannot afford to say, like almost ever. This is a little video on why your ‘I don’t have time’ excuse is holding you back way further than you can see.



For starters – we’re all there. None of us have time. We don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for that.

We don’t have time to do the washing. We don’t have time to clean. We don’t have time to get groceries. We don’t have time to cook. We don’t have time to exercise. We don’t have time to see particular people in our lives. We forgot to call someone. We forgot to text someone. I don’t have time. The statement is etched into the walls of our homes, into the seats of our cars, into the carpet of our offices.

It is everywhere, but let’s put things into perspective for a second. I’m not saying that our society is in the most wonderful place right now. If you ask me, we kind of have it a little bit backwards with what is going on. Our mothers are forced to go back to work very early when their babies are still young, a matter of months old and they’re forced into childcare. Mothers are forced back to work (some want to go of course), but also because they have to. Because the cost of living pressures are so high where you need two wages to service a mortgage these days. The outcome of this – women, expected to work like they don’t have kids and parent like they don’t have a job. It’s led to a large portion of the population, having less time and needing to realign their priorities, find out what’s important and find some ways to make cooking possible.

Let me say one thing. I’m not here to judge you. I’m not here to hang shit on you. I’m here with you. Time is hard, but there’s a better way and there’s an easier. But there are some truth bombs to be said.


1: your perceived lack of time might be a lack of priorities. For example, 10 minutes scrolling on your phone vs 10 minutes meal prepping.

What do you choose to do with 10 free minutes?

For example: Meal prepping. I could put on boiled eggs, which takes seven minutes. I could chop some watermelon for the week. I could make a big batch of chia pudding. I could probably do all of that in 10 minutes, and I have breakfast sorted, I have snack sorted, and I’m already way ahead from potentially ordering takeaway or skipping the meal altogether.

2: there is always a way to cook simple food that doesn’t need to take an hour to put together

For example:

  1. eggs
  2. chia pudding
  3. investing in a slow cooker – buy a whole chicken, plonk it in, fill it up with water. Add some carrots and some onion and some garlic. And some herbs. Boom. You have chicken soup. You have chicken meat for sandwiches, you have meat for a chicken pie, you have extra meat that you could put in the freezer for another quick meal.


3: if you can’t prep dinner in 20 to 30 minutes in the nighttime when you get home, we need to talk.

We need to talk. And of course, some meal prep might come into this as well, depending on what ingredients you like to cook with and what meals you like to eat. But there is a better way, and you definitely can get dinner ready in that amount of time.

4: relying on take away meals or skipping meals is doing much more harm than any good and it will effect your daily performance

If you get overwhelmed by cooking and recipes, so you end up not knowing what to make and skip the meal or have a coffee instead. It’s a 99% chance you’re doing more harm than good.


5: if you are relying on recipes and you can’t freestyle your meals even a little bit or really a lot of bit. It’s likely that you’re missing some vital skills in your cooking foundations that make cooking easy and simple.

Without it needing to be a big deal and without needing to use a lot of brain power on the daily. These skills make life so much easier and will save you a lot of time.


I want to tell you a little story about a client of mine.

She is a mum of two, under two. She has her own business and businesses within the family, her partner has businesses as well. They lived in a far away location that made it hard for her to just duck to the shops if she needed to, get groceries and even do her morning commute to work.Everything was a bit tougher.

She had a business that was booming and it was taking off. As a result of that, she was working till 1:00 AM in the morning and by then it was lucky if she’d had a glass of water and got to wee twice during the day. Like she was busy. Yeah. And she came to me for help to get her mojo back.

She booked some kitchen mojo classes with me. The problem was when you worked till 1:00 AM where can you logically fit cooking in? And you have two kids and you get up for them and you’re doing everything for everyone. Where can you find the time to cook? And this was her problem.

But she really wanted to get back in the swing of cooking and I needed her to remember why feeding herself was so important. More than the simple task of ticking eating off the to-do list every day.


Her lack of time had was resulting in a lack of energy. It resulted in her skipping meals, which ultimately resulted in a lot of things. She had a short temper. She gained weight. She had poor focus at work. Which meant she couldn’t always focus on a task, but it meant tasks were taking longer and longer. She wasn’t productive.


And when you’re busier, you don’t want tasks to take longer and longer. You want to speed them. So instead of eating, she was thinking, I’ll work on this task, but instead, the food would’ve helped her brain to fuel the task to get it done quicker. Instead, it was doing the opposite. It meant eating more of the things that she didn’t want to eat, and she knew that these foods weren’t serving her.

She was having quick wins. Hot chips, potato chips, lollies. Anything to give her that extra boost. Simple carbs and energy rather than focusing on balanced meals that would fill her up and actually provide the sustenance and help her get through her day and her big busy to-do list. She spent a whole bunch of money on takeaway, and of course, it increased her stress levels and added fuel to the fire of everything that she knew was happening and didn’t want to be happening. She felt like she was in Groundhog Day of doing this. And over and over again.

This was the busiest season of her life and her career to date. And all it did was leave her feeling disempowered about the simple fact that she couldn’t feed herself or cook herself some good simple meals and have it be easy. And last of all, she always felt like she was behind the eight ball on everything in her.


This left her husband to pick up the pieces, which, you know, they’re a team. So of course he did it, but at the same time, she felt guilty about him doing something that she really wanted to do, and it all gets mixed up in there.

SIDE NOTE: I don’t think that women should necessarily be the one cooking. It is what it is. In every situation there is someone who cooks and someone who cleans. Usually that’s how it goes. And it’s not so much this is a woman’s job, this is a man’s job, or the other person’s job, masculine, feminine, whatever you want to call it. It’s not like that at all, but someone needs to take responsibility for it or no-one does. 

In our household, I find that there are things that I really don’t want to do, like catching the big ugly spiders. Mowing the lawn, putting the bins out. There are so many things that I don’t want to do that I ask or maybe even expect my husband to do. But a lot of times we can feel stuck in the cycle – for a woman this looks like – my partner wants me to cook, they always expect me to cook. They always expect this and I’m not good at it and blah, blah, blah. So I’m not saying that you need to be the one to do it, but someone needs to. And obviously it’s where my skills lie, so I’m going to be the one doing it. But also my husband likes to cook and he’s a good cook. He doesn’t get the chance.

So all I’m saying is you need to work it out. It’s probably a conversation that you need to have to figure it out, figure out where the skills lie, who has the time, who’s going to do it.


Back to my client. Seemingly she had it all. She had the kids, she had the husband, she had the job. She lives in a really cool place.

She had all of this stuff going on, yet underneath the surface, her legs were like a ducks under water. She was really tired and hungry and didn’t feel like she had her shit together.

In our session, I obviously didn’t tell her to make the time. I helped her fall in love with cooking again. Reminded her why eating well was important and let the rest work itself out. 

I helped her remember her skills because she did have them. Most people do have skills in the kitchen. We’re not valuing them. We haven’t learnt to connect to them. We haven’t remembered them.

She sent me a message after saying, Oh my gosh, I remembered I am a badass cook. I’m amazing. I can do this.

And then the roll on effect started happening – she remembered why eating and cooking was so important in her life. She was armed with a recipe book of simple recipes that I’d curated especially for her, and she had that to fall back on when she forgot.

We put into place a meal prep day, which was the day that she was going to prepare some simple ingredients that fuelled the rest of her week. She committed to a time that this meal prep routine was going to happen, and it wasn’t the usual Sunday for her. It was the day that the groceries came in, which was midweek. She had a free moment after the kids went to bed, before she started work again. She was going to pour a glass of wine, get creative and she made it a little wind down routine.


her priorities shifted and then….

She started to say no to. She started to delegate things in her business and in her life that she couldn’t/didn’t want to handle. She found a way to cut through the priorities that were going on and things on her to-do list that didn’t matter. And it became a question of do I want to be doing this? Do I want to be doing this task that’s taking me away from the things that matter?

In this client’s case, she needed to realise how having no time was putting extra stress and pressure on her life unnecessarily. When it was already a big and full life that needed all of the energy, vitality and love that she could bring to it.


So this leaves me with a question, Can we have ‘it all’?

Some people say, yes you can. Other people say yes, but not at the same time. And I like to say, Yes, but is ‘it all’ really all yours? Is ‘it all’ what you want? Are you being told having ‘it all’ looks a certain way. When they’re actually not your priorities. For a lot of people, if you’re watching/reading this, it is cooking and it is making simple meals that work for you which energise you and allow you to live the rest of your life. This is the important stuff.

It blows my mind that we live in a world where a basic survival skill, like eating has been somehow diminished into an optional task.

I think it’s really funny, if you were to think of this through the lens of if the dolphins knew that humans were up here saying “I don’t know how to cook. I don’t know how to cook. I don’t have time to cook, I don’t have time to survive. I don’t have time to feed myself.” Do you think the dolphins would. say “yeah dude. I don’t have time either. I just wanna surf this way. I just want to play with all those fish that I’m rounding up. I don’t really want to catch them. I’ll skip a meal. I’ve got to get my little baby dolphin to school. I’ve gotta go. There’s a big East coast low. I’ve got to prepare my home.”

It’s quite wild when you think about it like that. If the dolphins knew, if the lions knew, if the birds knew, if the dogs knew that humans were up here pretending that they didn’t have time to cook, what do you think they’d say to us?

This is a basic life. and in the case of my client, that’s quite an extreme example to give you. But you can see she found a way around it. I now get messages from her at night. “Look at this meal I’ve whipped up.”

She’s doing it. She feels in control. She’s modelling habits to her little kids that are in that very impressionable age. They’re experiencing food for the first time and in those first years that are so vital for a child/baby to understand what real food is, and she’s doing it.


So now you know your mood, outlook on life, productivity in the day, your budget, your waistline could all be affected by this simple five word phrase. I do not have time to cook. What are you going to do about it? Is everything else that you’re putting before it really that important?

What can you shift? What can you let go of? What can you reprioritise or deprioritise?

What ingredients do you need in your pantry to make making food so much easier for you?

What time of the day and week can you meal prep to make things easier for you?

Do you have a slow cooker to make cooking simpler for you so it becomes a five minute prep? Chuck it in, put the lid on, turn it on, and walk out that door.

Do you need to remember collate or find some trustworthy recipes that can help you get back into the swing of cooking?

Do you need more support to make a plan to work out this cooking thing for you and how it works in your schedule? And so this is the end of the video.


I have a free guide that I’d really love you to download if you want to stop stressing about WTF is for dinner every night of the week. Over and over again. it’s called The Meal Matrix.

Grab it and let’s start our journey together towards reprioritising cooking, finding some basic recipes for you that work for you, and getting you back on this train, the cooking train. Beep, beep.


Hey I'm Lou

Hey, I’m Lou

Lover of crispy bacon, homemade popcorn and Mama to BJ.  I’m here to empower you to cook delicious and doable meals for the modern day – even when you’re busy.

can’t find time to cook? this is for you.. it’s free!

The Meal Matrix is a free downloadable guide to help you create effortless meal ideas and flavour combinations

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