For those who hate to cook...
As I am sure you are all very aware, the kitchen is one of my most comfortable spaces to work, eat and live in. The kitchen truly is my happy place, and while I am blessed to love getting creative in the kitchen, I understand that there is a large majority that aren't. Especially those of us in our twenties.
If you are uncomfortable in the kitchen, you hate the idea of having to cook, or just wouldn't consider yourself a ‘foodie’, then this is the post for you. And yeah… I am talking to all of my fellow fatties out there. Plain pasta for three weeks in a row is not a healthy diet to be following.
As we get older, it becomes impossible to exist off just cereal for every meal. Trust me, its been trialled. And if you are a student like myself, you probably cannot afford to eat out for every meal. Unfortunately too, if you HATE cooking, you will probably notice that lethargic, tired, and moody lack of energy that comes from eating unbalanced and un-regularly. Do you ever feel clogged, sick, and just simply off? Trust me, its probably the lack of greens.
Let be be the first to say that cooking does not have to be the be all and end all of your day. At times, I too can be super lazy with putting in effort to cook substantial meals, and will always notice a huge difference when I eat something other than toast and vegemite.
If you find yourself in this category of anti-cooking, or if you are a student looking to get into cooking more frequently because you are sick of feeling shit, then this post is for you. Here is my step by step EASY guide to making cooking and eating EASY.
- Make a list of go to recipes for each meal time
Deciding what to eat can be incredibly hard at times, and if you rely on a toaster and some peanut butter for your staple diet in the kitchen, then this tip is going to be crucial.
For each meal, start by writing down 2-3 options for each meal time (breakfast/lunch etc), and then also decide on some easy and affordable snacks too. Don’t worry if they seem like obvious options, hat you have them planned out and ready to go that will help.
- Porridge with banana and nuts/seeds
- Greek yoghurt, granola/muesli and berries (frozen or fresh)
- Toast with avocado and tomato
- Omelette with eggs, spinach, cheese and tomato
- Mixed salad with greens, whatever veggies you have in the fridge, nuts (almonds and walnuts are great), tuna/salmon/chicken/tofu (whatever protein you desire, brown rice/quinoa/roast veggies (any carbs of choice)
- Sandwich with protein of choice, greens, tomato, hardboiled eggs, hummus
- Stir fry with brown rice (you can use a quick cup for convenience), broccoli, tofu, bean sprout, soy sauce/chilli sauce
- Pasta with basic tomato sauce (canned tomatoes, herbs, garlic, onion, sautéed in pan until thick), and protein of choice (mince goes well here if you eat meat)
- Pasta with pesto (you can buy this really cheap in stores or make your own), fresh cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken or tofu.
- Grilled chicken/steak/tofu or beans, roast kumara and potato (steam in microwave before hand to decrease roasting time), salad
- Vegetarian or meat based lasagne (use spinach, carrot and eggplant to sneak in extra greens)
- MYO Trail mix (almonds, walnuts, macadamias and pistachios, dried fruits, dark chocolate drops)
- Celery and Carrot sticks with PB/Hummus/Jam
- Fruit slices and yoghurt pottle
2. Make one grocery list of staples that you can ALWAYS use
Having one list that you can rely on every time you visit the store will make your life so much easier. Even as someone who likes to cook, I will always struggle turning up to the store without any guidance. Create a list of things that you like to have in your pantry and fridge regularly, and base this list off the meals you have created (as above). There will be things you won’t need to purchase every time, so throughout the week, write down what you are running out of, in order to stay on top of things.
3. Get the right equipment
I know what you are all thinking… Annie, I cannot afford to have nice cookware that costs a fortune when I can’t even afford my power bill right now. But I assure you this step doesn’t need to be expensive.
Start with getting the right tools for your kitchen, which makes cooking not only more pleasant, but also a shit load easier than attempting to cut tomatoes with blunt knives. Invest in some nice pots and pans, a good quality fry pan is a must, and non-stick is always a benefit. Head to the Warehouse or Briscoes and purchase yourself a set of sharp knives, a grater, tongs, and chopping boards. All for really affordable prices!
4. Go easy on yourself
Cooking is hard at times, even for the best of the best. However, don't make it harder than it needs to be by selecting incredibly hard recipes that don't even make sense to you - and then failing and giving up. Thats NOT the way to go. Start off with simple meals you love to eat, and then, when typing ‘how to cook spaghetti…’ into google, add on the phrase ‘for kids’ to the end. Simplifies everything.
5. Less is more
Recipes that focus on using little ingredients and take little time to prepare, are most definitely where you want to begin when teaching yourself to cook. If it is the effort of cooking a complex meal that scares you, then go for things like ‘five ingredient dinners’. My recommendation would be to use less ingredients, and shift your focus to adding spices, herbs, and flavourings - to maximise the taste and experience of your meal. For example, simple roasted vegetables are a great staple and incredibly easy/affordable - so take it up a notch by adding herbs (thyme and rosemary), olive oil, and salt and pepper.
I really hope these tips help. They are only a starting point, and obviously it is important that you cater each meal and planning to the way YOU like things! Choose foods that you like, cook meals in a way that suits your lifestyle, and give new recipes a go once you get comfortable!