“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”
~ Dorothy Draper
If I had it my way, I’d be a Princess and there would be no cooking done by me. I don’t particularly like it and wince a little to always find myself in the kitchen. And perhaps it’s not the cooking I mind but more the clean up afterwards (I’m very messy). I think over time I will learn to like it more. I have no choice. I’ve found that the healthiest way to eat is to cook my own food. That way, I know exactly what’s in my food, how it’s been cooked, and how fresh it is. I can control the salt, the fat, the quality of fat, the quantity of sugar, the freshness of herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables. I can make sure my family and I consume vegetables and fruits that are washed really well, are not wilted or brown, and haven’t been cross contaminated with germs in a kitchen.
Cooking in your own kitchen ensures all this.
Most people say they don’t have time. I think we do if we prioritize. I often have to choose between an outing to a store and staying home to cook dinner. That’s when I realize I have time but choose to use it in a different way. Some people really are pressed and I understand that. There are lots of tips out there to help with that. The following are what have helped me the most:
-Cook for two days
This means getting large enough pots and pans but I’ve found that this is really nice when you experience every other day as a day off from cooking dinner. The kitchen is nice on those days, too!
-Clean while cooking
I’ve made things a lot more manageable for myself by learning to clean as I cook. It leaves only a little to be done afterwards. Alex would beg to differ but he often doesn’t see what the kitchen looks like during the cooking!
I do this two ways. First, when possible, I recruit my husband’s help in cooking because then the job goes twice as fast. When my kids are older you can bet they’re going to be helping out, too. Second, I play fun or relaxing music and light candles. It makes for a special atmosphere that helps the cooking be more enjoyable. Seriously, chopping carrots to Adele is priceless.
– Keep breakfast and lunch simple
I’m already cooking a full on dinner so for the other two meals of the day I keep it really simple. Things like eggs, fruit, oatmeal, are pretty easy to prepare in the morning. For lunch things like wraps, sandwiches, salads are pretty quick, too. I actually eat mostly raw food for breakfast and lunch and then have cooked food for dinner. It helps me to not have to cook so much. The sight of a dirty pan almost makes me pass out.
If YOU have any tips, share! I’m trying to get better at this. By the time I’m 30, I want to be like Ina Garten. She seems so happy to cook! Then again someone probably cleans her kitchen for her…
Just keep in mind that in the time it takes you to drive to a fast food restaurant, wait in line, order, pay, and go sit down with your food, you could have cooked a simple meal at home. Especially with practice. This is something I’m still working on but have found that I’m much more quick and efficient in the kitchen and most importantly-less apt to burn the meal, than I was a year ago so hey, we’re making progress :) You can, too.
As a plus, just think how great it would be if fast food restaurants died out and were replaced by healthier alternatives? That can’t be a bad thing! When I worked outside of the home I longed for a drive by restaurant that would just give me something fresh and healthy while I was on the run. We can change the paradigm, one home cooked meal at a time!