People who eat and cook at home eat healthier and eat less food compared to those who do not. With countless health benefits, eating at home is also cheaper and ensures you will have leftovers for lunches the following day. Below are my favourite tips to get you cooking at home more.
Some cooking shows are incredible and entertaining to watch, but leave the sous-vide machine for the TV. Take it back to basics with roasts, stews and the fry pan. A sliced up zucchini, little olive oil, salt and splash of apple cider vinegar in a saucepan for 10mins makes a super easy and tasty side dish to fish or meat. Tossing a heap of veggies in some olive oil and sprinkling with thyme or rosemary then roasting in the oven for 30mins is a delicious dish that takes about 10mins of manual chopping. It doesn’t take a lot of time to create something delicious and nutritious.
Don’t create more work for yourself than you need to. Start your week with roasting a whole chicken or leg of lamb. If you’re vegetarian then cook a few cups of quinoa, lentils or chickpeas. The leftovers from these dishes can be incorporated with veggie stir fries, salads, pies, curries or soups. Cook once, eat multiple times. The same goes for cooking extra at each meal to ensure you have enough for lunches the following day – time and money saving!
In our house we have sauerkraut, pickles and olives in the fridge which are fast and easy ways to add nutritional benefit to a meal. Our freezer always has bone broth, frozen spinach and leftover meals in it. Keep cans of chickpeas, tinned tomato and coconut milk in your cupboard. Tins of anchovies and sardines are also great when you need to boost the protein in your meal. For those days when you think you have nothing to eat a tin of sardines on sourdough toast, some olives and a scoop of sauerkraut will hit the spot.
A common reason people eat out is because their taste buds have become bored of the same dishes time and time again at home. Eat seasonally and the vegetables in your fridge will constantly be changing, bringing new and fresh flavours. Never cooked with capsicum before? A quick google search will reveal thousands of delicious recipes. The internet is full of endless inspiration. Websites such as the Minimalist Baker have super healthy plant based recipes with no more than 10 ingredients that take less than 30 minutes to make.
Spices can transform dishes to something truly amazing. A pinch of cumin will take you to Morrocco, some five spice will give it Asian influences and paprika for something Spanish. Once you build up your spice cupboard you’ll realise how quickly and easily you can transform your cooking. In addition to the flavour benefits, spices are also known to have nutritional benefits. Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and peppercorns are great for stimulating stomach acid.
Spend a little money investing in some simple tools including silver mixing bowls, wooden spoons, slotted spoon, spatula and a peeler. Some simple tools like a stick blender and some good quality pans/pots will make the experience easy and fun. As your repertoire expands you can add more tools to your kit, but starting out with some essentials is a great way to get inspired in the kitchen. On that note you may want to visit a bookstore and find an inspiring cookbook. A $30 investment in a cookbook that encourages you to cook at home more and eat out less will offer a high return on investment. If you haven’t learnt to cook you may also want to invest in some cooking lessons, it won’t take much to get you on your way.
Good nutrition is an integral part of good health, something I explore in my book A Life Less Stressed. Order your copy of A Life Less Stressed here.