Cooking for friends and family, and for yourself, is the ultimate act of care and love.
So many of us have taken our experiments in the kitchen to social media, specially during these quarantine times as it helps channel our energies and serves as a creative outlet. The creativity makes us feel so good about ourselves plus it gives a reward at the end. For many, it is a form of self expression, not to mention the numerous benefits that the process of cooking has on our mental health.
Having fun with cooking is the key, with a few additional tip that go a long way in making healthy meals.
1. Buy Fresh and Local - eat as much foods in their natural state; a quick dip test is to ask yourself - did it grow like this on a tree/ plant? And, by eating local you not only help local businesses sustain and lower your carbon footprint on the environment, but also are doing a huge favour to your grandchildren’s DNA!
2. Stock up on Grains and Legumes - the best thing you can probably do for your health is to always keep stocked up on a variety of grains and beans and pulses. Not only do they store for longer but also are a significant source of complex carbs, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre. What's more, they are the easiest things on the planet to cook. Checks all the boxes, doesn't it!
3. Meal plan, Always! - it will single handedly reduce your food budgets and keep you on-track to eating healthy. It will allow you to make some foods ahead of time and keep your prep on point. A notepad in the kitchen, notes on the phone or even a mental note of the next couple of days' meals go a long way. What it will really do is stop you from reaching out for instant noodles at the last minute.
4. Cook once, Eat twice - A lot of people end up cooking twice and eating once; it really doesn't have to be this complicated, just keep it simple. Prepare more food than you actually need, specially grains and pulses which can be boiled and frozen in air tight containers. Peel 8-10 onions together, wash them and store in zip lock bags in the refrigerator. Soups and gravies are amazing too for batch cooking and freezing for busy weekday dinners.
5. Invest in good quality pans & pots - A pan is not just a pan. At this point you might want to call me obsessive however the vessel in which you cook makes all the difference to the food. Get some heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepans, good non-stick woks and frying pans to reduce you oil and butter consumption, and still make delicious curries, eggs and grilled chicken. Never use aluminium pans please.
6. Don't eat what you don't like! - Just because it's the latest fad in health foods you shouldn't eat it if you don't like it. Be in sync with your intuition and stay true to what works best for your body's unique needs. Forcing kale down your throat to lose weight mostly doesn't serve the purpose if your body is instinctively rejecting it.
7. Skip self-criticism and Ask for help - Don't fall in the trap of pointing out the flaws in your cooking. Allow people to thank you, accept it graciously and never let anyone put you down, not even yourself. Ask people for tips and help if something doesn't work out the way you'd hoped.
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