Ready to share the love and make your own home cooked meals? Here are some ideas to turn even the most kitchen shy and busiest individuals into a bona fide home chef.
Evaluate your daily activities
Maybe you feel you’re too busy to cook. Keep a journal for a week to write down how long you spend on your phone, computer or TV or doing other less important activities. Add it all up and you may be surprised to see that you have more time than you realised. Use some of that time to cook enjoyable and delicious meals.
Good things start in the kitchen
Keep your kitchen functional and clean. Create a space that makes you feel good and design an organisational system that works well for you.
Stock up on the basics
Stock your pantry with the most commonly used ingredients. See cancer.org for a great list of food basics: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/eathealthy/shopping-list-basic-ingredients-for-a-healthy-kitchen. In this way by having ingredients on hand, you can always cook something, instead of eating out.
Look/ Think and Plan ahead
Each weekend, spend time planning meals and making shopping lists for the week or month ahead. Take your weekly schedule into account: For example, if you know Thursday’s will be busy, then plan for a meal that’s quick and easy to make.
Cook in bulk
Eating home-cooked meals every day doesn’t mean you need to cook every night. Cook large batches of food, so you can reheat it throughout the week or even freeze it for later in the month. Consider cooking with ingredients that can be reused in different ways – for example, roast meat can be used in sandwiches, in pasta, or in salads to make several different meals over the course of a few days.
Create a simple system
If you haven’t done much cooking in the past- start small and set out to cook one or two meals at home each week. Then slowly build up to 3 or 4 times a week, until you feel comfortable. Use simple ingredients and meal plans (an easy soup and pasta dish), and give yourself time to get comfortable in the kitchen.
Think about what you like to eat
Think about your favourite foods. Feel comfortable to make food that you enjoy eating in restaurants; just make the simplified version of the homemade option. You are more likely to stick to home cooking, if you prepare meals you like to eat.
Make it about others
Include your family, friends and neighbours in the cooking process, in order to reduce the time and energy needed to create a meal. Cooking is a great way to connect with others and deepen relationship bonds, share food wisdom and traditions and go on new food adventures with one another.
Connect to your cultural heritage
The foundation of culture is food. Reconnect with your family traditions by discovering recipes from your own cultural background or experiment and learn about other people’s cultures.
Keep a garden
Growing your own vegetables and herbs is a guaranteed way to feel more connected to the food you eat. There’s nothing more nourishing (or beneficial) than making a meal from vegetables and other produce you grew yourself. It is also worth considering how to preserve food for the winter and compost leftovers.
Use a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are a great time saver and they require only very basic cooking skills to use. Place all ingredients into the pot in the morning and come home to a finished meal!
Ask for Help
Pin point great recipes in cookbooks or online – or even invest in cooking classes – to uncover various cooking styles and explore ways of cooking that work best for you.
Once you feel you have a routine around home cooking- reward yourself by scheduling meals out once a month (or whatever frequency works best for you). In this way, home cooking doesn’t have to feel like an inconvenience.
By committing to a few small lifestyle changes, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier, happier life. Bon appétit!