Preparing your own food is a great way to eat healthier and manage your weight. If you love to cook, that’s an added bonus. If you’re not very comfortable with cooking, it can be hard to stop relying on eating out.
That’s especially true if you grew up without many culinary role models, but it’s NOT too late to learn! On the other hand, you might be enthusiastic about frying bacon, and baking cakes and biscuits, but you feel clueless about what to do with asparagus and brown rice.
The truth is healthy cooking can be a lot of fun! Try these tips for changing the way you eat AND enjoying the process.
How to Make Healthy Cooking Easier:
It’s natural to feel frustrated if you have to look up half the words in a recipe or drive to the grocery store for missing ingredients. You’ll be pleased to know that there are many quick and simple ways to make healthy cooking faster than take-away.
Try these tips:
1. Organise your kitchen. There are many things you can do to make your space more efficient. Put your essentials within easy reach and perhaps use tiered shelves, clear tubs, and compartments for your pantry and in your kitchen cupboards to group similar items together so you can see at a glance where everything is located.
2. Check your equipment. Some basic tools can speed up meal preparations. Keep your knives sharp. Invest in a slow cooker and a food processor that fits your budget.
3. Stock up on staples. Fill your pantry and freezer with ingredients you use regularly. That may include olive oil, tomato paste, and flour.
4. Cook in batches. Shorten your cooking time by preparing multiple servings and freezing the leftovers. You can heat them up later for quick meals.
5. Play music! Research shows that music can make any task seem more effortless. Turn on the radio or arrange your own playlists.
6. Minimise clean-up. Does your kitchen look like a disaster area when you’ve finished? Prevent mess by using baking paper and spoon rests. Soak dishes as you go; perhaps wash them whilst you’re waiting for something to boil or bake (ensuring that you continue to check your cooking and not leaving your food cooking unattended); or if you have a dishwasher, load them into your dishwasher.
How to Make Healthy Cooking More Social:
Food is even more delicious when you share it with others. Invite your family and friends to join you.
Use these strategies to combine cooking with socialising:
1. Take a class. Check the calendar at local cooking schools or browse online for courses. Encourage your partner or some friends to join you or surprise them with what you’ve learned.
2. Teach your kids. Healthy cooking is one of the most important life skills you can foster in your children. You’ll be teaching them habits that support a longer and more active life.
3. Post your creations. Take photos of your prized creations. You deserve to show off a little!
4. Write a book. Compile an album of your personal recipes. Add pictures and stories to make it more personal.
5. Send gifts. Homemade food can be a thoughtful and affordable present for any occasion. Bake and decorate low-sugar cakes for birthday parties or other get-togethers, or make your own healthy chocolates and surprise your family and friends.
6. Throw a party. Entertain in style without having to pay a caterer. Depending on your skills, you can arrange a taco night, or host a formal dinner, or arrange a barbeque gathering – whatever you feel comfortable with.
7. Prioritise family meals. Try to sit down with your family for at least one meal a day to share conversation and wholesome food.
With a little practice and creativity, you can enjoy making your own nutritious meals and snacks. In addition to eating healthier, you’ll save money, and create more opportunities to spend quality time with your loved ones.