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Make Cooking Easy: 10 Practical Tips

I have worked with many clients who do not enjoy cooking and need help understanding how to make healthy meals with minimal cooking. So, I’m sharing 10 tips to make cooking easy and help you feel confident.

A common misconception about eating healthy is that you need to cook all your meals from scratch. The good news is that you actually don’t have to. And you also don’t need to be a great cook. 

Let me show you shortcuts to uncomplicate cooking and enjoy eating healthier.

Use pre-cut food or already-prepared food

If you are intimidated by using a knife, have a disability, or want to save time, look for foods already prepared in the grocery store. These include diced onion, peeled garlic, or pre-chopped and rinsed greens. 

Many grocery stores now have meal kits to take the work out of prepping food, so all you have to do is cook, saving you tons of time.

Other examples include salad kits, vegetable stir-fry kits, chopped fruits, or pre-made sandwiches. 

Use Quick Cooking Methods

Many quick cooking methods can help you get food on the table quickly. Sauteing is a quick and fail-proof way to quickly cook vegetables and meats with just a bit of oil, salt, and pepper. 

Roasting or air-frying vegetables that cook quickly is a great way to get fresh and flavorful food in less than 10 minutes.

And, of course, steaming is as simple as it gets and can be an excellent method for meat and vegetables. Mastering these basic cooking methods will already make you a better cook. 

Use Appliances to Your Advantage

You can invest in many appliances to help you cook food quickly. Use your microwave to speed up cooking times by par cooking more dense vegetables like potatoes first and finishing them according to the recipe in half the time. However, you may need to experiment with adjusting the timing of cooking.

Pressure cookers can also help cook foods like rice and beans faster in larger amounts. An air fryer is also worth the investment for its speedy cooking times with vegetables. 

Potatoes in an airfryer

Cook in Batches and Freeze For Later

One of my favorite things is to batch-cook staple foods that I eat and then freeze them so they are always available in a pinch. Foods I love to batch-cook and freeze in my house are rice, quinoa, and already-cooked meats. 

Meats can be kept frozen for 2-6 months. Starches can generally be frozen for up to 6 months before they lose flavor.

Brainstorm your favorite foods or dishes you love that you can freeze and always have ready, like soups, stews, or casseroles.

Have Backup Meals

Can you think of one meal that you know you can make confidently in the kitchen off the top of your head? Always have ingredients on hand for those meals. 

Even if it is, a box of mac and cheese served with some veggies on the side to make it more balanced.

These simple meals will help you get into the habit of knowing you have food at home and skipping takeout.

Buy Frozen and Canned Food

Frozen and canned foods can have a bad reputation for being high in salt. Yes, some canned foods have a large amount of sodium to help preserve the food for years.

 However, there are now many low or salt-free canned food options if sodium is a nutrient you are trying to limit. Frozen and canned foods are incredibly versatile and easy to get meals on the table.

Canned beans are my favorite food to add to soups, salads, and a grain bowl for a vegetarian protein source. 

Choose Vegetables That Cook Quickly

Not all veggies cook at the same speed. Knowing which foods cook quickly can help you speed up the cooking process. Try one of the fast cooking methods like sauteing or air frying for cooking flavorful vegetables for your next meal.

less than 1 minute:

  • Tender greens
  • Tomato
  • Bok choy
  • Frozen peas

in 1-3 minutes:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell pepper
  • Onion/scallions
  • Mushrooms
  • Edamame

in 3-7 minutes:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Snap peas

Have Staple Foods Always Stocked

Make it a practice to keep all those foods you eat every week always stocked in your kitchen. I’m talking about foods you eat weekly, like olive oil, garlic, bread, eggs, bananas, frozen berries, or trail mix.

Whatever those foods may be for your home, the goal is to make your life during the week easier by stocking up and not feeling like you have to go to the grocery store every day of the week.

Constant trips to the grocery can be tiring and discouraging after a long day. 

Look For Recipes With Few Ingredients

This is the first thing I look for in a recipe. Use as few ingredients as possible, and only try new ingredients if you have time to experiment.

For everyday cooking, stick to what you know and feel comfortable with. Don’t overwhelm yourself with intricate recipes when you are learning. 

Involve Your Friends and Family

Ask your friend, partner, neighbor, co-worker, or anyone to join you in cooking dinner. One of my favorite parts of cooking is sharing food and learning from others. Make nourishing your body a fun and social part of your day. 

Summary

You don’t have to be a trained chef to make a healthy and tasty meal quickly. There are many shortcuts you can take to put together meals in a realistic way for your life. Whether you are using your favorite appliances, using pre-cut foods, or cooking in batches, it is okay not to cook everything from scratch.

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