For anyone who loves cooking, it is hard to process that some people just don't like it so much. Until you remember that because of your love of cooking, your sink and drying rack are forever full! It's Workplace Wellbeing Day this Friday (March 31st), and we think that if you are going to take up any lasting health habits this week, food preparation is one of them. You can't out train a bad diet! Being able to cook for yourself is a vital lifeskill. Read below to see how you can turn this chore into something enjoyable and beneficial to your everyday life and health.
Yes at the start, cooking takes effort. And that’s not just the healthy stuff. Anything outside of throwing something into a microwave or oven means a little bit of work is required. But, the satisfaction of mastering even the most simple of meals is something which is comparable to little else. Being able to cook for yourself is one of the most valuable life skills you will ever develop. It means that you can control your intake, eat what YOU want to eat, and adjust your diet if or when necessary. It is empowering. Many look at food preparation as if it is a chore, and this is just not the case. If you are really against cooking, have a look at the points below, hopefully they will alleviate some of the barriers.
Learning the skill
If you can’t afford to go to cooking classes or don’t have access, thank goodness for Youtube!! There are literally over 900,000 videos on how to slice a pepper. . . . never mind all of the 3 ingredient, 5 minute, easy peasy recipes that are available to suit every pocket and taste bud.
So many people just don’t read instructions or recipes. Before you attempt a new recipe, thoroughly read the list of ingredients and method so that any nasty surprises are avoided. By doing this, you can decide on whether it is within your skill range and time allowance. Don’t set yourself up for failure by not knowing what you are doing.
Make sure you have all of the ingredients together in view before you turn on an oven or hob. There is nothing like a hot pan and a missing ingredient to cite panic. If the recipe says 1 diced onion, dice the onion before you turn on any heat and leave to the side so it can be quickly and conveniently added to your recipe.
At the start, you do need to allocate some time to avoid feeling rushed and under pressure, the last thing you want is to be put off. That 5 minute recipe might take you 10, 15, or even 20 minutes and that’s ok. It is frustrating to do something you are not very good at (yet), and you need to give yourself a break.
Also remember you take the time to sit and watch a television soap, or to go on social media . The same time allocation and attention should be given to making sure your body is receiving its proper nutrition. You deserve it!
Likes and dislikes
Before you go crazy trying all sorts of different things, start with the most basic skills using ingredients you have eaten before and know you like (or kind of like. . . .). It is important to include as much variety in your diet as you can, but it is also important to learn to walk before you run. There is no point in trying to master a complicated recipe when you don’t even know if you are going to be able to eat it.
If you are particularly fussy or a plain eater, then it would be good to set up an aim of perhaps trying only 1 or 2 new foods each week. Research ways it can be cooked, or better still pair it with something that you like. If you don’t really like it the first time, don’t totally dismiss it. Try cutting down to only small amounts regularly, and you may build up a tolerance or even a liking for it. This is especially important if your dislike for vegetables is causing you to consume less than the recommended minimum of 5 portions per day.
Bring the heat
So many foods are ruined by overcooking because people are so terrified of their food being undercooked. The more cooked your food is, the more nutrients disappear. Vegetables are not meant to be baby food consistency for adults, and don’t even get me started on “very well done” steaks! Don’t be afraid to cut open a chicken breast if you aren’t sure. For beginners who are uneasy, it might be easier to cook using chopped meat such as in stir fries, or a lean mince. Pay attention to the temperatures stated, and phrases like “high”, “medium” or “low” heat when using the hob.
Doing the dishes
Get over it! No one loves cleaning up, but it’s part of the package. If you have just had a huge meal and are feeling lazy, of course you are not going to feel like cleaning up, but unfortunately it has to be done eventually! If this really bothers you, there are lots of “One Pot Wonder” recipes available. Batch cook so you only have to do one big clean up for the week. Put on some music, make a cup of tea or coffee, and just get it done. If you have a few minutes while something is being brought to a boil or simmering, start the process by getting the chopping board and a few utensils out of the way. Leave stubborn pots to soak, or if you are going to have nothing to do later or in the morning, they can wait. Don’t let your dislike of the clean up stop you from preparing proper meals for yourself or your family.
And finally. . . . . it’s just good for you
Being able to prepare a meal using some fresh ingredients is one of the best things you can do for your health, or your family’s health. Most debilitating non communicable diseases such as heart diseases and cancers are influenced by diet, and can be prevented and/or treated with the same. Don’t underestimate how important it is to know how to nourish your body properly. Talk to your GP about getting a check up, which can help you to figure out what exactly your body needs.
We are turning Workplace Wellbeing Day into Workplace Wellbeing Week at Full Health Medical! For all of this week, we are offering FREE CONSULTATIONS to employers and HR managers who want to improve the health status of their workforce. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will arrange a virtual meeting a time which is convenient for you!