Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier? You’ll want to start cooking your own meals so you can control what goes in to them. Meal planning can sound a bit daunting, but it’s your best bet for success.
We know what you’re thinking: trying to balance work, exercise, and whatever else life can throw your way doesn’t leave much room for spending time in your kitchen. It’s easy to fall victim to footlong subs or drive-thru burgers, but we’re here to get you out of your quick-fix rut. Here are some tips that can help you find success in your kitchen.
- Have the cooking essentials stocked and ready in your cupboard. It’s easy to give up on a recipe when you are missing a spice or two. The foundation for any successful cooking venture is generally salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spices can be expensive if you’re buying them in a single shopping trip. Instead, pick up one new spice each time you head to the grocery store. Before you know it, you’ll have an array of spices at your disposal.
- It really helps to have one good knife. The key to cooking is making it an easy, enjoyable experience and using a knife factors into that. Buy a nice, small santoku ($40-$80) and you’ll wonder why you ever used anything else.
- Breakfast before dinner. Try this simple go-to omelette muffin recipe and do some quick baking in the evening. In 18 minutes, you have a grab-and-go breakfast for the mornings when you have to run out the door.
- If you’re short on time, try making items that have multiple purposes. For example, whipping up a batch of hummus takes about ten minutes. It’s good for a snack with fresh vegetables or pita bread, but can also double as a sandwich spread or even warmed up as a pasta sauce.
- Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach. You’ve probably heard this piece of advice before, but, seriously, this is bad, bad news. Instead of ending up with a cartful of carrots, spinach and steaks, you’ll be headed home with frozen pizzas, chocolate bars and jars of pickles.
- Utilize the internet. As we all know, Google knows just about everything and YouTube is its visual equivalent. Taking a few minutes to research your dinner options (while on transit home, perhaps?) will turn your thought of ‘How the heck do I do that?’ to ‘This is way easier than I thought!’
- Last, but not least, for an ultra healthy, filling snack to satisfy your cravings try making kale chips (again, Google is your sous chef). They are oddly delicious and shelf stable, making them an interesting alternate to that bag of potato chips.
A large part of becoming a confident home cook is being inspired. Take these points mentioned as less of rigid kitchen rules and more as ideas to get you thinking, or, more importantly, cooking.