The time had finally come.
I was a young 23 year old post-college, pushed out of the nest and fending for myself.
I had to buy my own groceries.
And I had to learn how to cook for myself... EEEEK!
Here's a little background to help understand my dilemma:
- My mom was a fantastic cook. I was not. Moving out was rough.
I worked for a nonprofit so needless to say I was POOR. Eating out wasn't a wise option.
I was health conscious and prided myself for digging fresh produce as the bulk of my diet.
In this article you will learn:
- How to cook even when it's not your favorite thing to do.
- The best place to start if you suck at it.
- And how to plan a little better to nail the basics.
And at the end, I'm even going to wrap it up by sharing a handy dandy infographic to help you embrace the suck of cooking.
How do I cook GOOD FOOD within a STRICT BUDGET with LITTLE TIME?
This the holy grail of nutrition questions that we get from members in our AMPed ProCoach Nutrition Program. At first, it may seem impossible but with a little strategy, there's always a way.
The answer: It depends...
I know that's not the answer you were looking for but there are many factors that come into play. But you can get better at it because the truth is:
Cooking is hard... until it isn't.
You see, cooking is just like working on your fitness. You need to train and be consistent until the movements become easy and second nature.
It can be overwhelming, boring OR it could even suck. (kinda like working out at first)
But the good news is there are SO MANY resources out there that can teach us.
- Cooking classes
recipes on recipes on the internet
Instagram and Pinterest for ideas
nutrition coaches around every corner.
Unfortunately, despite these resources we still struggle with cooking healthy meals for ourselves and our families.
Here are a few reason why...
Reason 1: No matter how enthusiastic you are, those around you might not be supportive.
This is normal, but there are ways to work with it.
Communicate with them about how important this new path is, ask them about their cooking tips, ask for support to stick to it.
Filter their opinions and tips accordingly. You don't need to use EVERYTHING given to you, take a tidbit that sounds like you could implement it into your life and ignore the rest.
Reason 2: Perfection is overrated.
You don't have to be the perfect gourmet cook on day 1. Even the best chef started somewhere.
Work with a professional to learn the basics. There are cooking classes EVERYWHERE. At farmers markets, town centers, grocery stores, and people's homes.
Treat Yo Self. Buy some gadgets that make cooking easier. You don't have to buy the best knife set, but maybe a solid set of a chefs knife and pairing knife that actually cut through food. You can get a solid set for under $25.
Want to get good at a meal? It take practice. Remake the same meal over and over till you can do it with your eyes closed and it tastes AMAZEBALLS.
Reason 3: Even the best meals can get old.
Yes, I know I just told you to repeat meals till you could do them with your eyes closed. This doesn't mean every night Monday-Friday.
Want to get good at making tacos? Declare a Taco Tuesday and get good at your taco master pieces once a week.
Take the meals you are now really good at and change them. Pick different proteins, different veggies, different seasonings. NOT ALL AT ONCE. Small changes to keep it interesting but without destroying the meal.
Here's an example/bonus recipe time:
Poor Man's Chicken Cacatorie
- largely diced onion, green or red peppers - sauté in Olive Oil, remove and set aside.
- Diced chicken breast, brown on all sides but don't cook through.
- Add back in cooked veggies and dump in 1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce.
- Add diced sun dried tomatoes and simmer.
- Serve over pasta or rice.
All you have to do is change up the veggies, sauce or protein with this meal to make it a different meal. #Boom or is it BAM!
So what did I learn?
With time and a little planning, I could create basic meals that:
- I enjoy
- don't cost much
- provided some variety
Learning new things can be hard (and suck)... but they don't have to. You can nail this, too, I believe in you!