I’ve heard it time and time again - “I’m no good at cooking” or “I don’t like making my own food”. This aversion to cooking is exacerbated by the fact that people have less time , more stress, and less skill when it comes to preparing, cooking, and storing their food.
Well - I’m here to tell you that if you truly want weight loss and body transformation - you need to understand how to make food on your own.
Relying on others to prepare, cook and feed you will put you behind the curve on your fitness and health goals because other people don’t have your best interest at heart! Sure you can order food out and enjoy it. However do you know exactly what they are cooking with? Maybe they are using food that doesn’t sit well with you, maybe they are using a crazy amount of butter to cook in. You just don’t know for certain no matter what they might tell you!
Let’s dive into the food and have you feeling proud and confident when it comes to kitchen skills!
Having a meal together as a family is a uniting time of the day that many hold as a top priority. There’s a reason that every holiday is centered around food in some way - traditional dishes that reflect one’s cultural identity.
Food is comfort, its safety and it is nourishment.
Food can help to repair arguments, can help to show love and appreciation. Think about a time where a good home cooked meal made you feel loved and supported by a spouse or family member. There’s nothing better than coming home from a long stressful day, to the smells and sights of a favorite meal!
The family gathers around the table, thanks the cook (hopefully) and enjoys the quality time as well as the delicious smells and tastes.
There is no doubt that this power of food is tremendous and is something that can impact loved ones on a daily basis.
If you don’t feel comfortable cooking - all you need to do is practice.
No one is born with an innate skill to cook, it is learned through trial and error.
We all must fail first to then understand how to improve.
For example, back when Brittany and I just started dating (when I was not a cook at all) I wanted to make her breakfast to show her love. I made scrambled eggs with some bacon.
I learned a few months later that Brittany actually told her parents that the food I made wasn’t good! (She is too kind to break my heart!) The eggs were too dry and the cheese barely melted. I was embarrassed, but knew that it was important for me to improve these skills.
Over the past few years I’ve become a much better cook , able to prepare a multitude of meals with different tastes, textures and styles!
The way that I was able to accomplish this was because of practicing the same few meals until I mastered them.
Keep cooking simple!
Cooking doesn’t need to be something that causes stress for you. If you allow yourself the time and learn patience - anyone can become an expert in the kitchen.
Simplicity is best when it comes to starting out. We recommend choosing 1 - 2 meals that you want to try and master. Make it foods that you really enjoy so that it’s a meal that you can go back to over and over again without getting sick of!
Use these pointers to help figure out what foods to include and how to cook them!
Choose at least 1 food from each category: Protein, Vegetable, Carbohydrate, and Fat.
Choose a recipe that doesn’t need exotic ingredients but instead stick to seasonings that are found in a small bottle!
Choose one method of cooking (oven, stove top, crock pot etc.)
Do the work! Season food and cook to proper temperatures
My first mastered meal
Okay so let’s dive into an example of a meal that I’ve mastered over the years, one that is nutritious and delicious!
Protein: Chicken Thighs
Carbohydrate: Red Potatoes
Fat: Olive oil
This meal includes all aspects of a balanced meal - including 1 food from each major Macro nutrient.
I’m a big fan of “setting and forgetting”. With this meal, I decided I wanted to put everything in the oven together, be able to do other chores while it’s cooking and then return to take the food out and eat up!
This makes it much simpler to do as I don’t need to use too many different pots and pans as well as only put the oven on rather than other appliances. Simplicity is king here!
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F.
Wash chicken thighs in cold water (this isn’t necessary but I like to wash it for a bit of piece of mind)
Dry and pat chicken thighs with paper towel until dry
Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder (you can include other spices, we like to use a brown sugar bourbon powder as well!)
Place olive oil on a baking sheet that spreads through the entire sheet
Place chicken thighs on the sheet.
Cut up red potatoes into small squares (or however you want!)
Place cut up potatoes into mixing bowl and pour 3 Tbsp Olive oil
Season potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder (use any other spices you wish)
Place potatoes on a baking sheet and spread so that each piece is touching the pan
Put both sheets into the oven and let cook for 40-45 minutes (check the potatoes around 30 minutes, if soft they are done!)
At this point you can wash some of the dishes you’ve used so far - and then move onto preparing the asparagus.
Asparagus is super simple to cook
Wash asparagus with cold water
Cut off bottom stalks of Asparagus
Put asparagus onto baking sheet while adding olive oil, and seasonings (salt, pepper, or any other additions...we like to use “salad supreme” seasoning)
Rub asparagus into the oil on the pan as well as with the seasonings
Asparagus can cook about 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.
** I recommend putting the asparagus in the oven after 25-30 minutes of cooking time for the chicken and potatoes. You’ll be able to finish all parts of the meal around the same time - keeping everything nice and hot for eating! **
After about an hour or so of prep and cook time - you have yourself a well balanced, yummy meal!
If you are like me - I LOVE leftovers! Knowing I have food available for lunch, or dinner the next day or two is a stress relief and allows me to stay on track for my nutrition and health goals.
Store any extra food in the fridge or pack a container for the next day of lunch!
What’s holding you back?
So what is it that holds you back?
Is it the fear of being judged? Is it the fear of doing something new? Do you feel overwhelmed and lack the time to practice?
Well - I hate to be the truth bringer here but you need to feel uncomfortable.
This is a good thing - it shows that you are doing something that is outside of your comfort zone - you are trying to acquire a new skill.
Think about a time when you were new at your job. Did you feel absolutely in sync, comfortable and knowledgeable about all aspects? I highly doubt you did!
The same applies to the process of learning how to cook. It only takes time and patience to learn.
One great tip for getting past those initial barriers is to spend some time on the weekend practicing a meal when you don’t feel rushed. Giving yourself time and space to practice will enable you to become the master at that meal. The bonus here is that if you cook a lot of food - you will have leftovers for the start of the week!
Remember to focus on 1 - 2 meals that include foods that you already enjoy.
Cooking is a foundational skill that we all should have. It helps to empower you to make smart decisions, be in control of your own health as well as show love and appreciation to your family.
I can guarantee you that with practice - you can become your own version of a master chef!