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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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