Guest Post: Cook Your Way to a Leaner You and Fatter Wallet
Posted Jul 31 2009 10:43am
If the words “kitchen” and “cooking” sound foreign, hazardous (as in “I almost burned the house down, never going to set foot in that unnamed room again”) or maybe even a little intimidating, have no fear — I’m going to do my best to convince you that your kitchen is the best friend you never knew you always had.
Cooking Your Own Food Can Help You Lose Weight
It’s no secret – the more time I’ve spent in my kitchen, the more weight I’ve lost. Sound counter intuitive? It’s not! A little over six years ago, I spent very little time in the kitchen. Most of my meals came out of paper bags or out of the microwave. My body reflected this – I was 280 pounds. Now, I spend more time cooking my own meals and I’ve never been healthier (or slimmer since I was 12). Cooking my own meals has made me step outside of my comfort zone, try news foods and truly relish the things I eat. I am even able to make foods like cakes and cupcakes with much healthier substitutions (for a list of healthy substitutions, see here ). And, let’s be honest, I am able to truly monitor the quality and quantity of the things that go inside my body – which can sometimes be a Herculean task if you’re eating at a restaurant!
Family/Friends Who Cook Together, Dish Together!
I don’t know if you’ve ever watched two women cook in a kitchen, but soooo many secrets get shared while chopping onions and peeling potatoes. If those kitchen walls could talk! If you have no other motivation to cook than to get the latest scoop from a friend or family member, so be it and have a ball!
If you’re not so interested in learning about your friends’ secret escapades while there are so many knives around, then try cooking with your significant other! I’m pretty sure there is nothing as comforting and beautiful as cooking and sharing a delicious meal with the one you love. Sharing the cooked meal is like sharing a victory.
But I Don’t Have Time!
I know we’re all busy people, but making time to cook is just like making time to exercise, time to floss, etc. It’s good for your health and making the time to be good to yourself ends up saving you time in the long run, right? Plus, cooking does not have to be an elaborate, time-consuming task! You can literally take a couple hours on a Sunday and prep (or even prepare!) all of your meals for the upcoming week. It’s about stocking the right staples in your house and having the commitment to just do it. Or, simply ease your way into it by starting with sandwiches and wraps. Eating at home doesn’t always necessitate an oven or microwave.
But I Don’t Have Money!
I know we can argue day and night about whether cooking in or eating out is actually better for your bottom line – but I know from my own experience that I spend way less money eating in and have better health, which, for me, is priceless.
My 3 top ways to save money on eating in:
Buy cheap staples that last. Beans (both canned and bagged), canned vegetables, frozen fruit and vegetables, salsas, whole grain breads and pastas – these can all be relatively cheap and can last in your pantry, fridge and/or freezer for quite some time.
Buy in bulk. I have an executive membership to Costco. It costs $100.00 for the year, but I also get 2% back on all purchases at the end of the year, which has actually translated into my membership being paid for and getting a little extra cash. It used to be the case that warehouse membership stores were only good for buying unhealthy and processed foods in bulk. I can now buy my favorite whole-wheat bread, pasta and pitas, veggie burgers, loads of canned beans, fresh fruit and vegetables, Greek yogurt and other staples in bulk. If you worry about having too much food, freeze what you can, or consider sharing a membership with a friend to split the membership cost and split food.
Buy seasonal produce. Seasonal produce is cheaper. You can use this site to find out which foods are seasonal given your geographic region and the season.
But I Haven’t the Slightest Clue!
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a cooking “gene.” Learning to cook is just like learning to ride a bike – go for it and enjoy the ride! Pick a recipe with just a few ingredients that you like, that are accessible, and that you are comfortable with. There are countless recipe sites online (my favorite is www.allrecipes.com ) and, hey, you can even YouTube how to cook something.
Love your kitchen – it will love you right back! Annabel Adams has lost, and maintained the loss of, 150 pounds. She writes about her health journey and cooking escapades at www.FeedMeImCranky.com.