I'm on a mission to get get as many people into the kitchen as possible!
We are becoming high level consumers of fast food, convenience meals and home delivery.
I speak from experience. When I was an overworked, exhausted human rights lawyer I used to rely on takeaways and home delivery. I thought cooking was time-consuming and boring, never tasted as good as restaurant food, and just wasn't worth the effort.
What I didn't realise is just how much extra salt, saturated fat, refined carbs and sugar is crammed into restaurant meals and fast food - but my waistline and cholesterol levels sure let me know!
Public health experts know that our reliance on processed, convenience and fast foods are taking a frightening toll on our health. Rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke have exploded in recent decades - right along with the explosion in the availability of processed and convenience foods. But the processed food industry invests HUGE amounts of time, energy and money in making sure that this message doesn't quite get through...
But here’s the thing: when we make our own meals, we very quickly realise what goes into the food we are eating. That “healthy” muffin actually contains a truckload of sugar and refined flour. That “guilt-free” raw dessert is basically a slab of saturated fat.
So here are my top tips to help you get motivated to get into the kitchen!
1. Make your kitchen a nice environment to be in
Block out a little time to declutter, clear some bench space, and give everything a good spring clean. And when you get home in the evening, put some music on, listen to a podcast or something else you can enjoy while you are in there.
2. Plan your meals in advance
I wrote about the benefits of meal planning here. So many of us fall into unhealthy habits of ordering food in or grabbing takeaway on the way home because we don't have a plan, we don't know what we can cook and what ingredients we will have. I even have a FREE Meal Planner in the Members Section. Sign up to my mailing list if you would like a copy!
3. Brush up on some core skills
Acquiring some chopping and knife skills can be a game changer. Enrol in a cooking basics course. Or check out some youtube video tutorials!
4. Make it social
Instead of going out, invite friends or family over to cook together. You can prepare a whole meal, or just some simple cookies. The more you cook, the more comfortable you will be in the kitchen, and the more you will love to cook delicious, nutritious meals!
5. Create a ritual
Inspired by Monday Morning Cooking Club, my husband and I created our own version - Sunday Arvo Cooking Sessions. This is where we experiment with new recipes, perfect the ones we like, and then feast! Sometimes we cook so much in our Sunday afternoon sessions, our lunches and dinners for the next week are sorted!
6. Make it easy for yourself
Whilst it's lovely to dream of coming home after work and whipping up an elaborate three course meal, chances are you will be setting yourself up for failure. I highly recommend compiling a short list of healthy meals you love to eat, which are fast and easy to prepare so you won't feel too overwhelmed to step into the kitchen at the end of a tough day. If you need some inspiration, check out my Recipes page. Healthy, simple, fast, delicious recipes are my speciality!
7. Stock up on healthy staples
Make sure your kitchen is well stocked with healthy staples that you can use to knock together a delicious meal super-fast. Things like quinoa (for my 10 Minute Quinoa) or butternut pumpkin, onion and garlic (for Lazy Pumpkin Soup) and lentils for (Pumpkin & Lentil Mash) and split peas (for Split Pea Soup) are all foods that will keep for ages and be there in your kitchen ready for you to throw together something simple, delicious
8. Prep once. Eat twice
If you are really time poor, or you are not the biggest fan of cooking, make things easier on yourself by preparing meals that make delicious leftovers you can have for lunch and/or dinner the next day.
9. Embrace one pan cooking
For many, their kitchen aversion comes from stress about cleaning up after cooking. The less utensils and equipment you use, there less there is to clean up! So try some of my one pan meals, like my One Pan Chicken & Broccoli in Pesto, Scallops & Broccoli with Chilli, Ginger, Garlic & Shallots or One Pan Chicken wit Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Green Beans. I just chop all the ingredients, toss them straight into the pan, straight onto the stove and dish it up.