Talk about “healthy eating” with just about anyone, and you’re likely to hear groans. Many people feel that eating healthfully can’t also be fun. Aren’t most of the “bad” foods also the tasty ones?
Actually, you might be surprised. Many dietitians will tell you that learning to prepare foods yourself is the first step to eating a healthy diet, and actually enjoying it.
Why? First, cooking puts you in control. You can add or substitute ingredients, and tailor dishes to suit your individual taste buds. You can avoid flavors or textures that don’t appeal to you. And, as you learn to experiment, you will discover dishes that you won’t find in a boxed diet meal or even in many restaurants.
Second, cooking helps you to learn what is actually in your food. That puts you directly in control of making it healthy.
So, if you’re a cooking novice, how do you get started? Keep in mind that no one expects you to become a master chef overnight. Taking these simple steps will help you to gradually learn the ropes in the kitchen, and as your confidence grows you will begin branching out and experimenting more.
Try breakfast first. Breakfast foods are often the simplest to master.
Experiment with salads. The great thing about salads is that you can’t burn them or undercook them! It’s just a lot of chopping, and mixing up a homemade dressing (which is way more tasty than bottled versions). Grab some appealing recipes from Pinterest or another favorite website, and devote some time to chopping and prepping. Homemade salads are worth the time!
Identify your favorite foods. This might seem obvious, but you’ll enjoy cooking a lot more when you’re preparing things you already know you enjoy. So if fajitas are a favorite, grab some onions and peppers and start slicing! If you’ve always loved quiche, pick up some eggs and research recipes. Focus on dishes with just a few ingredients or steps at first.
Stay flexible and exercise your sense of humor. Every recipe won’t turn out perfectly. But before throwing it all in the trash, ask yourself if you can salvage it. If a dish is too salty, add a bit more of the base ingredients to tone it down. If you over-saute veggies and they’re too mushy, make a soup out of them instead.
Use pre-cut veggies. If you’re short on time, it’s okay to use pre-cut or frozen vegetables. No one expects every meal to be farm fresh.
Use recipes geared toward kids, teens, or college students. If you’re a beginner, you’re a beginner. There’s no shame in starting off with simple, basic recipes until you feel more confident in the kitchen.
For more input on your diet, specifically with regard to weight loss or maintenance, give us a call. We can help you lose weight safely, and balance your diet to include all necessary nutrients.