6 Tips to Acquire a Healthy Habit of Cooking at Home
A healthy diet has an uncomfortably profound influence on your overall well-being. The food we eat is inextricably linked with the health of our family and loved ones.
All of us would love to bake away to glory and have exotic and delicious dishes on the table every day. But why is everyday cooking such a big and tiresome chore?
After a day at work, coming back to hours of cooking, loads of homework and unending housework is terrible, as any working mom would know. Is there anything that we can do about it?
There is plenty of research out there which goes to prove beyond doubt that takeaways are, in most cases, unhealthy, and are an expensive drain on our household budgets. But still we resort to them so that we and our loved ones have a comforting ad tasty meal at the end of a long day.
Is there anything we can do to make cooking pleasant and less of a pain? The following tips may just be what you are looking for.
1) Customize and Complete
If you feel that you are the lone mom out there who thinks that takeaways are lifesavers, do not beat yourself up because there are many more like you.
Since weekends are slightly better and saner than other days, sit down and work out a plan that will help you.
Restaurants and fast food joints do not have the onus on them to serve super-healthy stuff; it’s up to you whether you want burgers and fries for dinner.
Ensure you have some healthy quick fixes in your pantry that will make the takeaways more wholesome. Have a 50-50 meal where you combine comfort food from the nearby restaurant with the healthy bites you have.
You can aim for a quality meal by combining the right quantities of veggies, meat and starch. Dairy products and fruits are also essential in a wholesome meal, especially for kids. Dark chocolate and nut clusters, pineapple and raspberry parfaits and other delicious snacks can very often make up for what a vending machine fails to give.
2) Plan Beforehand
Meal planning is for women in a rush. Plan meals for the week in advance and finish off your grocery shopping on the weekend itself. You can also take advantage of freebies and coupons on offer.
In this manner, you would have all that you need on hand when you rush home from work, or a long commute.
Knowing that you have all ingredients ready and waiting for you to churn out a delicious dinner will make cooking seem a much lighter task. Ensure you plan meals that you and your family enjoy.
These may seem too basic, but when you see your loved ones happy and contented having the food you cooked for them, it will motivate you for the next day as well.
3) Make It a Habit
Cooking, like exercise, is something that we would love to put off for another day, though we would immensely like to avail of their many benefits as soon as possible.
Stick to the promise you make, and cook at home for at least a week or two at a stretch. Then take a break and binge on your go-to fatty/sugary treat, or dine at a classy restaurant. You have earned the reward haven’t you?
Very soon cooking at home will slowly grow onto you and become a habit.
4) Jot down the Benefits of the New Habit
Once you have got into the groove make a list of the benefits you have developed from the new habit. You will be happy to include the following points;
- Kids eat healthy
- Nutrition is not a stranger to your dinner table anymore
- Your family is more involved with food preparation
- Your spend less on eating out
- You have the choice to try out new and exciting recipes
- You feel a sense of achievement
Cooking at home helps set a good example for your children. Research suggests that children are more likely to develop healthy food habits in adulthood if they see their parents eat healthy early on.
You can encourage them to help you out and try their hand at small tasks in the kitchen.
Do not expect them to love salads more than the pizzas and sugary treats, but they will over time accept home-cooked food as part of their main diet.
5) Make Your Partner a Part of the Journey
Share the responsibility of cooking for your family with your spouse or partner. This will make things easy and interesting for both of you. Scout the Web and find some exciting and exotic recipes that you both would love to try out. Cooking together also helps bring you both closer and enjoy the time at home more.
Occasionally, plan a kids-free date dinner that you both can cook together.
It’s important to see cooking as fun and not as a mundane chore. The more variety and spice you can add to your culinary efforts, the better are the chances of you sticking to it for long-term.
6) Slow Cooker to the Rescue
Most of us work late, commute long hours and reach home ready to crash into bed. There may be other pressing needs at home like your son’s project or your daughter’s ballet lessons which may eat into your evening spare time altogether.
Slow cookers or crock pots are not just for slowly simmered delights like stews, broths and wholesome stews. There is an amazing variety of yummy delights that you can cook in a crock pot including roast chicken, classic pulled pork and even delicious cheesecake.
There are some really good cookbooks and online resources available which you can look up for ideas, and do not miss the wonderful aroma that welcomes you in the evening when you walk in the door.
Cooking does take time, is work after ‘work’ (post-office evenings), and requires careful and smart planning. But it also makes for healthy and happy families; so don that apron and set off on the culinary adventure of your life.