Advertising
Advertising

Love to Eat, Hate to Cook? Spice Things Up In 9 Easy Steps

Love to Eat, Hate to Cook? Spice Things Up In 9 Easy Steps

If you hate to cook, you’re not alone: in 2012, over 700,000 tweets involved the terms love to eat and/or hate to cook. I was one of those tweeters on more than one occasion (way more than one). So what’s the deal? Why does cooking make so many of us utterly miserable?

When asked to choose her biggest pet peeve about cooking, Stefanie Shuman, 29, a PR Manager in New York City, struggles to pick just one. “I’d say the issue’s time,” she says, “But on weekends when I could carve out an hour to prep/cook, it’s the last thing I want to do.”

You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

When I was younger, I thought I’d never find anything I despise more than cleaning… until I moved into my first apartment, looked at the kitchen and thought to myself, “What the expletive am I supposed to do in here?!” I know I need to suck it up and build healthier eating habits – admit it, you do too. Lucky for you, I hunted down a group of fabulous health experts to throw us a frickin’ bone here.

“There’s a strong notion that cooking means dirtying multiple pots and leaving the kitchen a mess,” explains Cathy Leman, Registered & Licensed Dietitian and Personal Trainer in Glen Ellyn, IL, “When actually, the process can be dramatically simplified.”

Advertising

Here are 9 simple steps you can use to turn up the heat (and turn down the drama) in your kitchen:

1. Let Go of Misconceptions

I’m not going to lie – when I think about having to cook, Psycho Strings starts playing in the background. But like Cathy mentioned, cooking has the potential to become what you want it to be.

Do your absolute best to set aside the fact that you hate to cook, and let go of the feeling that cooking is a messy time-suck and kitchen assassinator.

Imagine the cooking experiences you’d prefer having, and start making plans to create them.

2. Have the Right Tools on Hand

“No spatula? Darn! Guess I’ll have to order in.” (Me during my 20s.)

Advertising

Don’t give yourself reasons to back out of cooking, such as not having the right kitchen utensils available for the job. When you have the right tools, it makes cooking easier and ultimately less stressful.

3. Ease Into It

Start with simple meals that use the fewest ingredients possible and work your way up to more complex recipes. Try new recipes when there’s no chance of a time crunch (such as on weekends) so you can remake recipes that might not come out as planned.

According to Certified Personal Trainer Amy Clover, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make healthy meals, and I’ve decided to believe her.

4. Relate Food to Fashion

I hate to cook, but I do love fashion.

“I find fashion websites to be great encouragement for food,” suggests Gina Keatley, CDN, award-winning dietitian and American Diabetes Ambassador. “The colors mirror each other and a bright yellow purse can get you motivated to try caramelized bananas.”

Advertising

It’s a fun way to start making food a part of your every day thought process.

5. Think PVF

When making dinner, think PVF: Protein, Veggies and (healthy) Fat. Doing your best to make sure these elements are on your plate make for consistently balanced meals.

“Save time by purchasing pre-cut and pre-washed veggies,” says Amy.

6. Cook Once, Eat Twice

Make double portions when you cook so you have lunch for the next day.

Cassie Ho, a California-based fitness instructor, cooks a whole week’s worth of food every Sunday: “I just put it in Tupperware and refrigerate. When I need a meal, bam! It’s already made. All it needs is microwaving.”

Advertising

7. Make It An Event

Make it a girls’ night in with the mission of trying a challenging recipe together. (Just make sure you have delivery on speed dial in case… and perhaps the fire department.)

8. Buy Frozen Dinners

Not all frozen dinners are bad for you, and are perfect when you’re in a pinch. California-based Registered Dietitian Sarah Mirkin recommends frozen dinners by Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Kashi.

She also suggests to “pair them with a salad and fruit to make them a balanced and satisfying meal.”

9. Cook What You Love

Make a list of the dishes you enjoy most and find recipes for them. Use your cravings for each as a way to bridge the gap between your health and hatred for cooking.

Once you’ve cooked them a certain number of times, you eventually won’t have to look at the recipes anymore – they’ll be part of your every day routine as your common staple dishes.

“Motivation is a huge factor,” says New York-based Nutrition Expert and Registered Dietitian Tina Ruggiero. “Once someone begins to cook, it becomes an exciting (and almost addicting) activity.”

Tina could be onto something – this morning I made myself an egg (with no trace of shell!), and it was actually edible. I now fully intend on making one again tomorrow.

Ready to Get Started?

  1. “Google easiest recipe for…. You’ll find some great options that way!”
    Dian Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged health and rapid fat loss book series
  2. “I love the Whole Foods app. As a raw foodie, I like raw meals for one or two people – they’re all quick and easy.”
    Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D., Health & Nutrition Coach
  3. “I’m a big fan of food journaling. Livestrong’s MyPlate is one of the best sites I’ve found for recording online. They have an app now too!”
    Amy Clover, Certified Personal Trainer
  4. “Honestly, the best app for keeping your diet on track is Instagram! Take pics of your food and appreciate the nutrients going into your body. That’s what I do. Food is not just fuel, it’s also art and beauty!”
    Cassie Ho, California-based Fitness Instructor

Do you hate to cook? What tips have helped you stay healthy?

More by this author

11 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (And How to Drink It for Good Health) How to Be a Gentleman: 12 Timeless Tips 11 Benefits of Almond Milk You Didn’t Know About 30 of the Best Quotes Ever 20 Things to Do When You Feel Extremely Angry

Trending in Health

112 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory 2How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine 38 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian 410 Amazing Health Benefits Of Beer 5Say Goodbye to a Skinny Body: How to Gain Weight Fast

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

Advertising

2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

Advertising

Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

Advertising

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

Advertising

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

Read Next