Learning to cook will be HUGE in your decision to live healthily. Food has a major impact on our health. What we put into our bodies matters and if you are serious about your health, learning to cook is a must!
I have found that there are some qualities of good cooks.
Good cooks can whip up a meal without a recipe. They can improvise, change up the ingredients and add bits and pieces depending on what is in season or what they have in the fridge. Good cooks can shop quickly and efficiently and they enjoy cooking! It isn’t a chore or a long and tedious process, but a joy where they are intuitive, knowing how to adjust meals to make them taste good. They are also intuitive about how much food to buy and and find ways to use up all the food they buy and eliminate waste.
When cooking isn’t a habit it can feel hard and seems to take forever. The shopping trip is daunting and deciding what to cook is a challenge. Following recipes seems to take time with lots of mess in the kitchen and lots of cleaning up.
I’ve heard people say that even when they follow the recipe, they end up with meals that don’t taste any good.
So how do you become a cook? How do you ‘just know’ what to throw in the pan and what is healthy and how much to eat?
Learning to cook takes time. It needs to become a habit, where you learn skills over time and then you will start to become confident and intuitive when it comes to food.
Over time, I forgot the recipes, and started to put food together that I knew was good for me and learnt to move around the kitchen efficiently and without stress or frustration. – It actually became fun.
I think learning these tips helped me learn to cook.
Flavor pairing.. I learnt that having fresh herbs on hand, immensely changed the quality of what I could cook. I always have fresh chill, ginger and garlic in the fridge. Parsley, thyme and rosemary in the garden and fresh basil and coriander from the shop. (I can’t seems to grow them here in Queenstown!)
Meal and portion sizes… Often I come across people saying that they are eating well, but can’t understand why they can’t lose weight. It’s easy to end up eating more than we need. Also, I’m not a fan of snacking on the go. If I’m going to have a coffee or a snack, I want to really enjoy it, so I’ll make a point of sitting in the cafe, or by the lake or arrange the morning tea on a tray so it becomes a nice little treat. Practising mindfulness at meal times is important. Take a moment to really taste the food, appreciate the effort of the preparation and consider the source of the food.
Shopping made easy… Spend most of your time in the fresh produce aisle and the meat section. Knowing the ways you can prepare the different vegetables helps to make decisions. Seeing a pumpkin on sale, I think… ‘ pumpkin soup for an easy meal on that busy night, barley, pumpkin and spinach salad for lunch and pumpkin and eggplant curry another night.’
Cooking and clean-up strategies… Less is best. I don’t really like washing up, and I’m sure you’ll agree that streamlining the process to avoid mountains of dishes is the way to go. Where I can add some veggies to a pot of nearly cooked rice, I will. I often use one roasting pan in the oven for a whole meal.
I have the sink filled with hot soapy water while I cook. I wash up as I go, I put away the spices and ingredients after I’ve used them and keep the bench clear. Sometimes having less kitchen gadgets is better. You can easily find what you need when you open the draws and clean clear space helps you think.
Cooking processes .. Looking at the vegetables and knowing that I could saute, bake, fry, use in a curry, or stew or eat raw makes decision making easier. It also gives me variations to add interest. – Which is helpful when your kids have a few vegetables that they favor. My kids are broccoli fans. I roast with coconut oil and almonds, steam, chop finely and saute and raw for snacks with hummus.
Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Each of these strategies could be expanded in depth. But it’s worth thinking about. It took me years of mistakes and wasted food until I started to learn from others and figure this out. It really does make all the difference to you life and health, to know how to cook in a natural and effortless way.
Feel free to send me a message with any questions and stay tuned for more tips.