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Tips To Healthy Cooking: Have You Been Cooking Your Food Wrong?

Tips To Healthy Cooking: Have You Been Cooking Your Food Wrong?

Cooking comes naturally to most people. Some are just born with a talent for cooking, while others seem lost in the kitchen. However, regardless of which group you belong to, you will make a mistake from time to time. Like with any other skill, getting better at cooking takes time and practice. Whether it is overcooking, under-boiling or completely messing up the recipe, these things can happen to anyone. But worry no more! Here are some of the most common food preparing mistakes and tips to help you become the best chef in your household.

Soak it up

Some foods are just plain hard. Because of this property they require a long cooking time or even starting the preparation the day before. However, if you want to cut short the time, you should soak up the food prior to cooking it. For example, if you want to make great baked beans you could use this technique. After being submerged in the water for a few hours, they will soften and make the whole process of boiling them a lot easier, and faster. Moreover, this could be done with potatoes, too. Soak up the potatoes, or even boil them for a few minutes before frying. Soaking will make your life easier.

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Know your fat and oil type

There are many types of fats and oils you could cook with. Some are good, others are better. They also have something called a smoke point. This represents the temperature at which they start to burn. So, the fats and oils with a higher smoke point, like butter or animal fat, are better for frying or cooking, while those with a lower point, olive or sunflower oil, are better for salads and dressings. It is worth noting that too much fat is unhealthy, but cutting it completely out of your diet is bad, too. For instance, it is suggested to limit your fat intake to no more than 35% of your total daily calories, because insufficient fat intake could lower your natural testosterone production.

Do not waste any food

If it is edible, do not throw it away! Food shouldn’t be wasted, especially since almost every bit could be used in one way or another. Potatoes could be fried with the skin on, or perhaps you could use the skin to add crunchiness to your dressing or just eat the roasted skin alone. The stems of most vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower or parsley, could be used in salads, as well. Additionally, you could use carrot greens as an addition to your soup. Either way, every part should have its purpose in your kitchen.

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Know what you eat

Reading a book or two on fruits, vegetables, meats, and food in general, could be a good start to sharpening your cooking skill. Not only will you learn how to cook them, but you could find out everything about them – how long it takes to prepare a certain type of food, how to recognize if it is healthy and much more. For instance, when buying fish, you should pay attention to how it looks, feels and smells. If the smell is “fishy” that means it has been out of water for more than enough. Fresh fish doesn’t smell so bad. Also, fresh fish is firm to the touch. Another important thing you should know are the health benefits of each food. Some types are more nutritious than others, and some could be cancer causing foods such as canned goods, non-organic fruits or microwave popcorn.

Watch the temperature

First things first, before putting anything in the pot, on the grill or frying pan, the temperature needs to be high enough. If you put the food in while the pan is cold, whatever you are cooking will stick. Because of this, you will leave parts of the food behind and make the pan incredibly difficult to clean. That is why you need to make sure that the temperature is ideal. However, once you put the food in, be careful not to burn it by turning the heat up. Just think about the meat you prepare. If you burn it, it loses its original taste and deliciousness. This is true for pasta as well – overcooked pasta is bad and it sticks both to the pan and your plate. Therefore, finding the right temperature is crucial for a perfect meal.

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Careful with seasoning

Adding various spices and herbs could be key to certain meals. But, being too loose with your fingers could ruin the whole experience. Too much salt will make it impossible to finish the meal; too much parsley or basil will overpower the taste of the food. So, be gentle when reaching for the spices. Also, certain spices are good for your health, but there are those that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Moderation is key.

Armed with these great cooking tips, you will be able to prepare delicious meals that everyone will compliment you on. Although most people tend to make big mistakes even when it comes to the basics, a few simple changes to the way you prepare your food will ensure that everything is both tasty and healthy.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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