Tips on getting in the kitchen and loving it! Because that’s the healthiest of your eating habits.
I have a shocking confession to make. Well,… shocking for a food blogger, at least. You know, for a person who cooks passionately and writes recipes and takes pictures and is all about delicious and good-looking food.
I’ll admit it.
There are days that I feel I hate cooking…
No, wait, don’t go! It’s not as crazy as it may sound. I don’t suffer from any split personality syndromes.
Let me explain.
I have a family.
People that need breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks. All of them. Every. Single. Day. And when you have to make meal plans for a week, trying to take into consideration things like picky eaters’ preferences, special nutritional needs, easy-to-pack lunches, family budget and the principles of healthy eating all at the same time, it gets intimidating. And exhausting. And you run out of ideas. And you wish someone else could do it for you. And the effortless option of take-outs and deliveries which comes with no dish-washing and no kitchen-cleaning suddenly seems so appealing.
But that’s the easy way. Which seldom meets with the right way.
The stress-free and convenient option of ready-made food that is delivered to your doorstep may be a nice change for once in a while but it can’t pair with healthy eating. The road to good-quality food, made with healthy ingredients passes through your kitchen.
Cooking from scratch is probably the first and most important rule of a healthy eater. If you feel your eating is way too unhealthy, if you eat lots of packaged foods, microwave meals or take-outs and if you are seriously thinking about making some changes, then you just have to do this one thing first.
Start cooking! A person who makes their own food is much more likely to use healthier ingredients even if they have no idea of how to define healthy. Anything homemade is definitely healthier than its pre-prepared twin.
Also, people who cook at home tend to eat less. According to a 2014 research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal, people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less. The findings also suggest that those who frequently cook at home – six to seven nights a week – also consume fewer calories on the occasions when they eat out. (Source: jhsph.edu)
But cooking at home is not always easy. Especially if it’s not one of your favorite activities, your mind will find lots of excuses to avoid it. Starting with the first go-to excuse for any task that seems burdensome: Not enough time.
But if you really commit to a healthy living lifestyle and you are determined to make frequent use of your kitchen, there are tricks that will help you fall in love with cooking. Let’s see what you can do.
– Clean and organize your kitchen.
Walking in a room that is clean and everything is in its place, ready to be used, makes you so much more likely to stay and use it. Treat your kitchen the same way as your living room. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big, you can always make it a warm, welcoming room. Add your own decorative and organizing touch and you’re sure to spend more creative time in it.
– Add new equipment.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to do that. Small gadgets, new serving plates, brightly-colored utensils are all things that you can find in bargain stores and supermarkets without spending too much money. And you will want to use them so you’ll have more reasons to get in your kitchen and cook.
– Stock your fridge and pantry with favorite ingredients.
Have you heard the saying “If you keep good food in your house, you will eat good food?” In the same way, if you have ingredients you love in your kitchen, you will learn to love cooking.
– Start simple.
No matter how much you want to try this complicated ethnic recipe that you came across, if you start with something difficult, chances are you’ll get disappointed if for some reason, it doesn’t work out. Frustration may keep you away from the kitchen as well as fear of repeating the same unsuccessful experiment. But if you start with simple, easy recipes, success will keep you coming back. Even a simple salad is cooking!
– Don’t be afraid to try new foods.
Sometimes, we may have labeled a food “not to our liking” just because of its looks or its smell or even its name! Or we may have tried it once in the past and we didn’t like it. Give it a second chance. Cooked another way with different ingredients, it may be delicious.
– Use herbs and spices.
Smell is the sense of memory and I’m sure I’m not the first one to tell you this. Fill your kitchen with your favorite herbs and spices and get creative with them when cooking. Let the smells awaken forgotten memories and create new ones. Who doesn’t want to get into a cinnamon-scented kitchen in autumn or a ginger-smelling one around the holidays?
– Experiment with different recipes.
Cookbooks, friends, relatives, the internet, they can all be a huge database of delicious things you can re-create. Or experiment with your own unique recipes. You never know what masterpieces you may be able to come up with!
– Invite others to join you.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a lonely task. Invite your friends and family in the kitchen and have fun. Try new recipes with a friend, make a mess with your children or create little cooking miracles with your other half. Memories made in the kitchen are priceless.
– Give appropriate attention to appearance.
When we enjoy a good meal, many of our senses participate in the experience. Taste may be the most important, smell may follow but vision is equally meaningful. Serve your creation beautifully, even if it’s just made for you. Food styling is not just for professionals! A dish that satisfies so many of your senses will make you want to repeat the process again.
– Share your creations.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Making healthy, delicious, good-looking dishes for people you love will not just make you fall in love with cooking. You’ll get addicted to it! A joy shared is a double joy, right?
In a warm, organized kitchen, spotless and ready to get messy, surrounded by fresh ingredients and savory spices, I get reminded that it’s not cooking that I despise some days. It might be the routine and the tiredness and the effort to squeeze time for cooking into a busy day. But that’s not what cooking is all about.
Cooking is about imagining and creating. It’s about loving the ingredients, the process, the images, the smells and the flavors. It’s about cherishing the smiles and the joy of the people who will get to taste my dishes. And happily sharing it all with you, the readers of my blog.
That, I simply love.
How about you? Do you enjoy cooking or do you find it daunting and usually shy away from it?
Do you think that any of the above tricks could help you enjoy cooking more?
I’d love to read some of your thoughts on the subject!