Not everyone has the same enthusiasm when it comes to preparing meals in the kitchen. Perhaps you’re already tired from work, so you’d rather enjoy your free time not doing anything. Or maybe the thought of doing different things just to make a meal is too laborious already.
But one day, while getting chip crumbs off your shirt, and looking for your phone among the pile of take-out containers, the thought hit you. “I want to start eating healthy.” You had already started a workout regimen weeks ago, but your diet is still something on hold. And now, you’re conflicted because you know that all those hard work will go in vain if you don’t act now and stop eating unhealthy.
According to Diligent Chef, the surest and most affordable way to eat healthily is if you cook your meals at home. But did you know that it is also the easiest way? Yes, take-outs on healthy restaurants seemed easier, but in the long run, they’ll cost more. And if you cook at home, you’re confident with what’s in the meals. You can also choose what goes in the recipes and keep track of the nutrients you’re getting. But how does one cook if cooking itself is something they dread?
Take it Slow and Plan Your Meals
When you’re trying out new things, the best thing to do is take it one step at a time. Deep inside, you might not entirely hate the idea cooking. However, it might change your mind quickly and throw the idea altogether if you force yourself to do a lot of tasks. You can’t expect yourself to like it immediately, especially if you get overwhelmed the first time.
For example, you might want to schedule the days that you’ll cook healthy dishes. Maybe you can do it three times a week and every other day. Then every Fridays, you can indulge in guilty pleasure take-outs in exchange for extra “hard work” (i.e., healthier habits) most of the week. And once you’re getting the hang of it, you can take it up a notch and make it four days, until you can do it every day.
The practice that you’ll get from these baby steps will allow you to find what technique you’re going to be most comfortable in doing. Maybe you find that doing meal prep on Sunday makes you feel less lazy to make the dish on Monday.
Find Easy and Realistic Recipes
The next thing that you should do is prepare recipes before going grocery shopping. If you go to the store unprepared, you’ll have a harder time choosing between ingredients. You might also get overwhelmed and settle to familiar and unhealthy foodstuffs.
But when you’re compiling recipes, make sure that they are realistic for you. For example, if you work from 9-5 pm, you can’t expect yourself to like dedicating one and a half hours to prepare a meal once you come home. Well, it still depends on the person, but chances are you’re already tired and hungry, so preparation itself can get frustrating.
You can also look for recipes with easy-to-find ingredients. If the ingredients are familiar, you won’t get intimidated in using them on your dish. You will also be more comfortable in getting creative with them because you have an idea of their taste and preparation.
And since you’re focusing on healthy eating, make sure that the recipes you’re choosing give you the nutritional content that you’re going for. This way, you’ll be more motivated to do the actual recipe because it helps you achieve your fitness goals.
Once you compile your recipes, label, and organize them accordingly. If you are less busier on Wednesdays, perhaps a one-pot 20-minute recipe is more viable for that day. And then maybe you can put those that need more preparation on Friday or Saturday nights.
Cooking in bulk and freezing meals in advance is also a nice hack for those who hate cooking. Yes, you’re still cooking and dedicating time and effort. However, you’ll be doing them just in a day or two instead of every day.
What Can You Cook?
Quick and Effortless Classics
Not all recipes require 10 gadgets and a degree in culinary arts. In fact, you can make healthy yet delicious meals that don’t even require much cooking at all. If someone who hates cooking asks you what recipes he/she can do, you can direct him/her to rolls, sandwiches, and salads.
These recipes don’t even need a stove, and you’re basically combining all the healthy ingredients that you like. It’s also a bonus that you can get creative with textures and flavors so you won’t get bored with the predictability of your meals.
You can do some ingredients in advance, so afterward, all you’re going to do is construct your recipe. For example, on the weekend, cook your protein, and then slice your vegetables. Put them in the fridge, and they’re ready to use during the weekday mornings. You can also keep the broth and drippings from what you’ve cooked and use them as flavor boosters for other recipes.
If you’re dreading the laborious dishwashing after cooking, one-pot meals are going to provide you hearty and delicious meals without the after work. You can control what ingredients you want to use or replace them with healthier alternatives suited for your goal. Leftovers are also fantastic for deconstructed dishes, and you get to enjoy them in different ways as well.
Microwave is the New Wave
Did you know that you can cook healthy meals in the microwave? Yes, it’s about time that we appreciate this handy appliance and make use of its convenience for a healthy lifestyle. Nowadays, convection microwave ovens can cook you proteins and veggies without having to wait for a long time. You don’t have to worry about getting them undercooked or overcooked because of the convection technology.
Not to mention, you’re eliminating the use of excess oils or having to eat burned portions of food that are in no way synonymous with healthy. And if you’ve followed our tip to cook and freeze beforehand, you can just simply reheat them in your microwave. But this time, you’ll feel less guilty, and instead, more confident knowing their nutritional contents.
The Blender is Your Besty
Other than the fridge and microwave, you might also appreciate the humble kitchen blender. It might be hidden far from the cabinet door, and only sees the sunlight every summer for making smoothies. However, a lot of recipes are going to be significantly easier to do with the help of a blender. You can use it to puree, chop, grind, and mix ingredients for you with a press of a button. Sure enough, you’ll find healthy and tasty sauce and soup recipes done in a single blender.