Most people like to eat. That’s good news because we have to care for our bodies and stay alive somehow. Feeding ourselves can take many forms, but not all of them are as healthy and affordable as cooking at home. If you’re new to the subject, you might be eager to hear that cooking at home has many benefits: deciding portion sizes, having better control over ingredients, and saving money are some of the most obvious perks. But cooking at home has an extra element to it. It is an enjoyable creative activity that allows for experimentation, and for most people, it quickly becomes a new passion.
Still, with a tight schedule, eating healthy and cooking meals at home is an entirely different dimension. Making it a habit can be tricky, and maybe that’s why keeping up can be a challenge. However, knowing a few tricks can help you to make cooking a habit and reap the benefits of this tasteful hobby. This article is going to attempt to pinpoint what it takes to make cooking a habit and how someone can enjoy cooking at home on an almost daily basis.
What does it take to build a new habit?
Even if we really want healthy things in our lives, like finally including probiotics in our lifestyle, we frequently find ourselves giving up. Building new habits doesn’t happen overnight. And yes, cooking at home is efficient when it has already become a routine. To make cooking a habit requires consistency and quite some repetition. When you consistently engage in a behavior or activity, your brain starts creating connections that make the action more automatic over time. So, in order for it to work, you can’t just skip the tedious routine phase. For an activity to end up becoming a habit, it needs to be repeated over and over, regularly.
Pairing the new routine with an already-existing one can also help in triggering the behavior. Patience is key because habits don’t form overnight – they have to be built brick by brick. Yes, you will experience setbacks, but if you want to make cooking a habit, consistency will be key. This is why it’s important to set doable, realistic goals and start with those easy homemade recipes one at a time. Success takes practice and routine. You start with a pancake, and one day, you wake up making soufflés and macarons like a pro.
A creative endeavor
Cooking isn’t just about nourishment. Probably, it never was. To make cooking part of your life means that you have a creative activity to turn to whenever you want. The skill of cooking is priceless, and it can turn meal prep into a gratifying and artistic endeavor. This burst of creativity can even bring other related activities and hobbies to life, like growing vegetables around the house.
A laboratory of experimentation
To make cooking a habit, you can start embracing experimentation. When something good turns out of experimenting, it can produce a specific good feeling connected to that success. It’s brain chemistry; if you do it frequently enough, your brain will crave that creative “high.” Don’t be afraid to mix flavors, textures, and ingredients in novel ways! Even if it doesn’t turn out so good, the result can become a good story, if nothing else.
The art of foraging
The practice of gathering edibles from nature or foraging can also help to make cooking a habit. Foraging connects you with the environment and fosters a deeper appreciation for natural ingredients. It allows you to discover seasonal treasures like berries, mushrooms, and herbs, inspiring new and seasonal dishes. Foraging also encourages you to explore the outdoors more, contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
Learn and explore
Exploring different cuisines can ignite your creativity and make it easier to make cooking a habit. Diving into the techniques and ingredients of different cultures makes the world open up in the comfort of your kitchen. Learning about cuisines broadens your culinary knowledge and exposes you to rich experiences of flavors. This way, cooking at home becomes a way of traveling – without stepping out of the heart of the home.
Make your own
Crafting basic staples used in cooking like yogurt, granola, or pesto brings a whole new level of satisfaction to cooking at home. They say that we tend to eat what we have at hand. So, we are going to eat what we store in the house. If that’s chips and ice cream, that’s what our meal is going to be. But if the storage is full of homemade canned goods, we are going to use those. Having access to high-quality ingredients helps to make cooking a habit easier. These DIY creations foster a sense of accomplishment and control over your diet. And in the meantime, the process itself becomes a fulfilling and productive hobby.
Cooking is more sustainable
The perk of sustainability is one more reason to make cooking a habit. Cooking at home reduces reliance on processed and packaged food, and you have the possibility to choose locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Cooking also enables portion control, minimizing food waste. Leftovers or scrap food can be creatively repurposed, reducing the amount of food ending up in landfills. To further enhance the eco-friendly impact of home cooking, try to embrace practices like composting and reusing. These make cooking at home a mindful choice for both your well-being and the planet.
Homecooked meals and a tight schedule? No way!
Incorporating cooking into a tight schedule can be quite a challenge. Balancing work, life, and time often leaves little to no time for meal preparation. The convenience of fast foods and takeouts can be tempting, but it often doesn’t align with health or budget goals. To make cooking a habit despite a busy schedule, strategic planning is a must.
Cooking in batches
Cooking larger portions and freezing leftovers can ensure a stash of ready-to-eat homemade meals on those particularly hectic days. This strategy is a real game changer, and while it doesn’t help to make cooking a habit, it ensures that you always have home-cooked meals at hand.
Prep in advance
Prepping ingredients in advance, like chopping vegetables or marinating proteins can make cooking more efficient during the week. A set of essential kitchen tools can also help you in the pursuit to make cooking part of your life. Slow cookers, instant pots, or sheet pans can streamline the cooking process nicely.
Designated time blocks
Another strategy that works well is to designate specific cooking days or hours. Setting aside some time on the weekends or less busy days to prepare meals for the upcoming week can help manage weekday stress levels.
One-pots and one-pans
People living on a tight schedule might give up on cooking at home just because after cooking there’s the cleaning up part, which can also be time-consuming. Exploring the possibilities of one-pot or one-pan dishes reduces the number of dishes to clean, leaving more time to spend cooking.
Practice makes perfect
Practice paves the way to perfection, and in the realm of making food, practice helps to make cooking a habit. The more you cook, the more confident and skilled you become. A regular cooking routine streamlines the process, making it easier to incorporate into your daily life. Don’t hesitate to seize opportunities to cook for occasions. Special events provide a chance to show off your skills and share some homemade delights with your loved ones. After a time, cooking becomes a natural extension of your routine, yielding both satisfaction and delicious results.
Embracing cooking at home as a daily habit reaps a myriad of rewards. Through consistent practicing, you are empowered to make healthier choices and bask in the satisfaction of mastery. You gain control over your food by learning to resist the urge to buy ready-made and packaged food. The habit of cooking fosters creativity, cultivates skills, and enhances your connection with food. Don’t forget: with each dish prepared, you invest in your well-being. As you figure out how to make cooking a habit, the benefits ripple beyond the kitchen, contributing to a more mindful and fulfilling life.