In the current fast-paced world we live in, cooking meals at home can be challenging. The convenience of fast food and processed junk are often way more tempting than taking the time to prepare a meal at home. The problem is, these foods are often horrible for our health and are a leading factor in the increasing rates of obesity and chronic disease that are plaguing our society.
The solution, taking time to cook plant-based meals at home. Cooking at home not only allows us to control the ingredients we are putting in our body, but also it is a way to connect to the foods we eat.
Below are 8 tips I’ve found to be helpful for eating and cooking more meals at home. Though they are not necessarily specific to plant-based cooking, I always advocate eating whole food plant-based.
This tip applies to goals in general. If you are wishy-washy on a goal you kinda maybe want to work towards, chances are it will not happen. If you are serious about eating more healthy meals at home, define what that means for you and start working towards an action plan to make it happen. Maybe that’s eating home cooked dinners 3 times a week, bringing a packed breakfast to work every morning, only allowing fast food once a week, and so on. Everyone is unique so set a goal that works for you and commit to making it happen.
2. Schedule Time
Life is busy! Just like scheduling an appointment with your doctor or setting a call with a client at work, when something is written on the calendar, it is more likely to get done. Given your schedule, sit down and figure out when you can schedule time to make meals at home.
Preparation is key! Select a few recipes or pull recipes from your go-to recipe stash (check tip #8) ahead of time and pick up groceries or order online to make sure everything is ready when it comes time to cook. Also, make sure you have the proper kitchen appliances and utensils to simplify the process. The chances of cooking a homemade meal significantly increase if you already have all the ingredients at home and easy access to the recipe you’d like to make.
4. Read Recipe Through Before Starting
Some recipes can get complicated. Always skim your recipes ahead of time to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is needed prior to starting like soaking beans overnight or freezing canned coconut milk. There’s nothing worse than getting midway through a recipe and realizing you can’t finish the meal because something needed done the night before.
5. Batch Cook and Meal Prep
Meal prepping is a lifesaver! There’s more time needed upfront but it saves you later on when the week gets busy. Cook large quantities of meals that save well. Divide them up into containers and then you will be set for the next few days. Some meals also freeze and store for several months.
6. Start with a Clean Kitchen
Cooking in a messy kitchen can make the process stressful. If your counter space is taken up by dirty dishes and the utensils you need to make the meal are caked in food in the dishwasher, it is not setting the stage for a good experience. Starting with a clean slate can make the process a lot smoother.
7. Crank the Music
As much as I love to cook, occasionally I am just not feeling it. That soon changes once I tell Alexa to blast my favorite tunes. If you enjoy music, audiobooks, or podcasts, make the process of cooking more enjoyable by putting something on that you want to listen to. I personally love dancing and singing as I cook. Instant mood enhancer!
8. Save ‘Go-to’ Recipes
We all have favorite dishes that we could eat again and again. Even if you enjoy trying new foods, having a stash of ‘go-to’ recipes can be a real time saver.
Cooking does not have to be a stressful process. Follow these 8 tips, plus whatever works well for you, to start getting into the habit of eating more plant-based meals at home. For more plant-based tips, check out my Plant-Based 101 series on YouTube.