After years of empathetic listening, I finally discovered how to repair a woman’s fractured relationship with healthy cooking. Here it is (drum roll…) foster a cooking rhythm that is simple, seasonal, nourishing, and savory.
I know a lot of women who despise cooking, in general. Some of them sheepishly admit their disdain for any culinary task. Others, however, unabashedly express loath for baking, basting, or broiling— basically, anything about cooking. Whenever I suggest making healthy alterations to their eating life, I typically get the eye roll. A sigh. Resistance.
Without judgment, I listen to oppositions to cooking, all the while trying to plot crafty ways to convert these anti-culinarians. The way to go from a “hater” to a “lover” of cooking is to build a collection of simple, seasonal, nourishing, and savory recipes. Then alter a few ingredients according to the season.
I’ve said it before and will continue to say it: food is an essential component in restoring and maintaining your health. Most likely, you are combating a chronic disease or illness, so your estranged relationship with cooking needs reconciliation now more than ever.
It’s All in the Recipe
⇒Let’s start with dessert (why not, right?). My Decadent Chocolate Peppermint Truffles recipe contains seven ingredients (simple). You can take these to a Christmas gathering (seasonal) and feel good about eating dessert (nourishing).
Once the holidays are over, you can still use this recipe by making ONE alteration. Use almond extract in place of the peppermint extract. You can try orange extract for a citrus spin on the truffles in the summer.
To get you started with a new outlook on healthy cooking, here is a copy of my Healthy Holiday Desserts Recipe Collection.
Build culinary muscle by cultivating a daily habit of cooking. If you don’t practice a routine every day, you lose motivation.
Then you start mumbling phrases like:
“Let’s do carry out.”
It’s time to hone your stirring, chopping, and dicing skills by starting with a week’s worth of healthy recipes for breakfast/lunch/dinner/desserts/snacks.
It’s my job (and joy) to provide you with two meal plan options:
Use these healthy cooking recipes as a foundation and build from there.
Plan Your Meals
⇒ Use a meal plan template to stay organized and to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Most of us need a space to capture our eating plans or ideas. You can’t store a meal plan in your noggin’ so push it from your brain onto paper or an app.
If you repeat this meal planning activity enough, it will become a part of your weekly then monthly eating groove.
Eat What’s in Season
⇒Eating foods in season inspires you to appreciate and explore food in your geographical area—a breakfast recipe like Butternut squash, sausage, and apple hash rings of fall and winter.
In the fall and winter, the stalls at farmers’ markets bulge with baskets of various varieties of deep orange squashes and crimson apples.
Spring yields new crops when the thick blanket of snow begins to melt and yellow crocus nudge through the frozen soil. Switch the butternut squash for fresh Brussels Sprouts or spinach. And do the same with each season.
By doing this in-season crop switch, you maintain the same recipe but add variety, new tastes, and textures. Also, you’re consuming vegetables of different colors. Food journalist Michael Pollan writes that “the colors of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain.”
The phytochemicals (anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids) protect your body against chronic diseases. The optimal protection comes from an eating plan with a cornucopia of vegetables.
Tame Your Perfectionism
⇒Perfectionism suffocates progress. Televised cooking shows haven’t helped our culinary skills. On the contrary, they tend to paralyze even the most adept cooks.
So if you teeter on the brink of cooking dysfunction watching cooking shows won’t remediate your aversion. If anything, it will worsen.
Cooking shows perpetuate perfection, celebrity, and competition. Oh, and did I mention food show hosts never have a messy kitchen or a crappy manicure?
My best advice is to get in your kitchen and cook. Make mistakes. That’s how you gain your culinary MOJO.
Make Space in Your Day for Healthy Cooking
That’s right, carve out time in your day to make your meals. Even if you start with making one healthy meal a day, reserve space in your day, pull out the crockpot and fill it with life-giving foods.
I know you have a lot going on in your day. But providing nourishing food for your people then gathering them around your table fills not only stomachs but also allows time for reflection and connection.
Look, remember, healthy meals don’t have to be fancy. Not now, not ever.
I spend a portion of my week as a health-wellness coach, primarily to women, who:
- battle chronic disease/illness
- crave healthy habits
- need a health-wellness plan
These women need a sustainable eating life that facilitates their health. Sometimes, I may spend a portion of our coaching session cooking a healthy meal with my client in my farmhouse kitchen.
Do you still feel stuck in a cooking rut? Maybe you haven’t warmed up to the idea of a cooking life. You can recover from cooking fatigue or culinary disdain the same way you learn to incorporate exercise into your day.
So let’s refrain from relying on drive-thru food. Instead, we need to tie on our aprons, get back into our kitchens, and start cooking.