How To Make Cooking Easy
I’ve realized that one of the hardest things for people when trying to eat healthier is all of the cooking that comes along with it. Even if you love to cook, it can still be daunting to learn a new way to cook and come up with things to eat all of the time. Over the past few years, I’ve come up with some ways to keep cooking fun and easy, even for people that don’t love it.
Eat the same thing often. We don’t need as much variety as we think we do for the bulk of our meals. While it’s important to eat tons of different fruits and vegetables for a diversity of nutrients, starting off it’s easier to eat the same thing over and over. I love food and I love cooking, but there are a few meals that I rarely change up. For breakfast, I normally have an oatmeal smoothie. Every now and then I might have something different (I’ve been playing around with healthy pancakes), but for the most part that’s my breakfast. It’s quick and simple and allows me to sneak in a lot of healthy things like turmeric and flaxseed first thing in the morning. In the winters, I might make some warm oatmeal, but again, I’ll eat that for months. It might sound boring, but it’s not. It’s sustainable. My other go-to things are soup and black beans and rice with a vegetable. Find a few things you like and make them often.
Use crossover ingredients. One of the first things that I learned with building a restaurant menu is how to use crossover ingredients to make many different meals. If you look at a restaurant menu closely, you’ll see a few of the same ingredients in each dish. Restaurants do this to cut down on cost. This is a great trick to use at home for the same reason. For example, take my black beans. I’ll eat the black beans over brown rice with some sauteed spinach, then I’ll make tacos with them another night, and then I’ll toss them in a hearty salad/grain bowl (along with the brown rice) another night and then put them on top of a sweet potato with some grilled salmon another night. Same doesn’t have to be same when you’re using the cooked ingredients in different ways. Just about everything that I cook I use in this way.
Batch cooking or meal prep. Once you get over the idea of eating the same thing often, you’ll be able to get some meals done by batch cooking. I like to make big pots of soup, rice and black beans. This way, I always have something that I can reach for when I’m hungry. It makes it harder to slip up when you always have a meal ready. If you don’t have a ton of time during the week, schedule a few hours on one day to get most of your cooking done.
Play Music. My ex and I used to joke that I didn’t like music. Well, I was joking, he probably wasn’t. Compared to him (a musician) I rarely listened to music at home. These days I’ve found a whole new appreciation for how to fuel my activities with music. There are certain playlists that I use just for cooking, it gets me excited and I can taste the food even before I begin. Even when I don’t feel like cooking, the music gets me inspired to go and create something. It’s no different from how a good playlist can fuel a workout.