I often hear friends, family and clients saying how overwhelmed they feel when it comes to cooking and knowing what to cook.
For me, this is my profession as well as a hobby and passion so it all comes easily however I can see how some may struggle with even the basics of cooking, from knowing what to cook, to when to cook to even how to cook.
So I wanted to put together a step by step guide that can assist you before you even think about going to the kitchen.
- Daily/weekly schedule: this is where you create a schedule, works best if you do this on a weekly basis as it helps with the planning part and gets clear in your mind what needs to be made when.
- Meal planning: layout each meal so you know what you will be eating and when. This helps you think about the types of food you want to enjoy and will give you variety as it becomes a well thought out activity in your weekly schedule.
- Recipe finding: for any dishes you want to try out, this is a great opportunity to research what recipes are on the internet (Google) and starts to get you thinking more about food and getting creative with new ingredients. The recipes will also help identify ingredients needed and how long preparation and cooking will take which will enhance your planning skills.
- Shopping: once you know what you have planned to eat throughout the week, it will give you a better guide on what to shop for and once you have a list of ingredients, this will hopefully a) save you money by not buying anything extra b) save time with not having to go out shopping because you didn’t plan and forgot an essential ingredient.
- Preparation: put some time aside to prepare your meal(s). It is a good idea that once you have a recipe or know what to cook, you start to weigh and measure your ingredients (including herbs, spices and oils) in bowls/dishes etc. and also take out any pots, pans, trays, mixing spoons etc. that you may need so when the time comes, you simply get on with cooking. **At this point i.e. breakfast time, if there is anything you can pre-prepare for your next meals (lunch, snack, dinner) for that day now, you do it now as this can help save time later on in the day as well stop you eating perhaps something you shouldn’t because you are hungry and didn’t have enough time to cook. BEING PREPARED IN COOKING OR INDEED IN LIFE IS KEY TO SUCCESS!
- Cooking: get cooking now that you have your recipe to hand and all your ingredients ready to get mixing it all up.
- Eating and enjoying: Whether you are eating alone or with family/friends, lay the table nicely including a serviette and a glass (for water or other), perhaps light a candle if you are going to enjoy an evening meal as eating mindfully and in a relaxed setting helps enhance the benefits of enjoying your nutritious meal. To start and end your meal it is a great idea to give thanks and be thankful for what you have prepared and are about to enjoy = GRATITUDE
- Cleaning and clearing away: now after all the hard work, get the washing up and clearing away over and done with straight after your meal so that you can get on with the day without leaving your kitchen/sink full of dirty dishes. It is better for the mind to be clutter free!
- Freezing and labelling: if you have any foods left over or you have just batch cooked, make sure that you a) use proper dishes/packaging to freeze your foods b) label all dishes with name and date made c) freeze appropriately in the freezer
Below I have created a sample weekly meal planner that will give you some ideas on delicious plant-based dishes as well as an idea of when to plan different tasks. I hope this proves useful to you and helps to create that ‘planning’ mindset to make life a little easier for you throughout the week.