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November 10, 2015

7 Ways to Make Cooking Easier.

Laura D'Alessandro/Flickr

Today we’re busier than ever, and unfortunately, cooking oftentimes slides down our list of priorities.

My goal is to shift consciousness and challenge the idea that eating a real, whole foods diet and preparing our own meals is a difficult task.

We’ve subscribed to that mentality, and its consequences are showing up around our waistlines. We have raised a generation who don’t know how to cook and live instead on processed or fast foods, and it’s killing us.

Shifting away from sugary, processed foods to whole, real, fresh foods to reverse diabesity and manifest abundant health becomes a crucial first step.

Once we make that transition to real, whole, fresh foods—and it’s a huge but vital shift—the next step involves preparing those foods.

Cooking gets a bad rap. I’ve heard all the excuses: It’s time-consuming, inconvenient, or difficult. Who has hours to chop ingredients, monitor cooking times, and all the other herculean work preparing a meal can seemingly demand?

Driving through a fast-food restaurant or stopping by our favorite grocery for a healthy, prepackaged meal may not be more economical, but it sure saves time. I can’t argue with that, but I do want us to consider how we use that time.

The reality is, we spend more time watching cooking shows on television than actually cooking. We eat about half our meals outside the home, and ones eaten at home are usually reheated, factory-made science projects that resemble food but aren’t.

Contrary to what the food industry would have us believe, real food can be inexpensive and easy to prepare. Cooking ultimately becomes a revolutionary act, one we can all participate in.

The revolution starts in our kitchen.

Even if cooking falls low on our priorities, these seven strategies can make the transition easier.

 

1. View cooking as an act of love. We have the opportunity to strengthen bonds, teach important life-extending skills to our children, and enrich and nourish our bodies and our souls.

2. Keep staples nearby. Foods like nuts, nut butters, and non-dairy milks are all hidden gems in the middle aisles of the store. There are even brands making healthy packaged meals using quality ingredients from real, whole food—for those nights when cooking truly is out of the question.

3. Choose frozen. While fresh foods in the produce aisles are ideal, frozen berries, vegetables, and other foods make longer-lasting alternatives we can stock up on and have on hand in our kitchen for healthy, easy meals.

4. Reclaim the kitchen. Establish the kitchen as the ground-zero family meeting place and establish it exclusively for cooking and socializing.

5. Re-evaluate time. Time is the biggest excuse why many of my patients don’t cook. When I ask them to keep a tracking journal for one week, patients often express shocked about how they waste time.

6. Allow a margin for error. New to cooking, or skills gotten rusty? Don’t aim for perfection with that first recipe—aim for experimenting and practicing. Start with a basic recipe with few ingredients and work up to something more complex.

7. Get everyone involved. Enlist help from family members—drag kids away from their video games and ask them to measure ingredients, pull food from the fridge, or even chop veggies if they’re ready to take on this task. Decide on meals together to get everyone excited about what’s in store.

 

By purchasing real foods and cooking them, we can transform the food industry but also ourselves. While the problems might global, the solution is local—as local as our fork!

What one thing would you suggest to make cooking affordable, time-manageable, and even fun? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.

 

Author: Dr. Mark Hyman

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Laura D’Alessandro/Flickr

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