The decision to try to lose weight is almost always accompanied by the word ‘diet’ but sometimes we need to forget about dieting and start remembering our kitchens – not in a Masterchef-inspired way but simply in a “getting back to basics” way.
Cooking at home more often can be a great way to improve your nutrition and keep your weight in check. At home, you have control over what goes into your meal and how much you serve up. So with a little know-how, you’ll be more likely to cook and eat healthier foods, like vegetables – and in the right amounts.
However, when you’re cooking a meal for yourself, remember that homemade doesn’t necessarily guarantee healthy. There are at least a few mistakes to avoid when cooking so that all your hard work isn’t wasted.
- Cook-snacking – The meal you’re cooking might be healthy on its own, but if you’re constantly snacking while cooking it, you’ll most likely nullify the benefits of your nice healthy meal. If you do need to snack though, make sure it’s something healthy like low-calorie raw veggies (capsicum and cucumber are good choices).
- Too many “tasty toppings” – Yes, we all love cheese, and adding bacon to a meal is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. A dollop of sour cream and an extra splash of salad dressing – all these tasty toppings and additions can really stack on the kilojoules. Go low fat, low sugar or just avoid the optional extras altogether.
- Overloading the plate – Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Even the healthiest meal can add to your waistline if you eat too much of it. The National Health and Medical Research Council outlines comprehensive dietary guidelines for Australians – check it out.
- Too many courses – That tasty entrée or creamy dessert is great as an occasional treat – but they shouldn’t be seen as a compulsory part of your evening routine.
If you can begin cooking dinner for yourself a few more nights each week, you’ve already made an important step towards better health. Try and see how many days a week works for you, and then work on increasing that number; the results will be nothing but positive, and cooking your own meals can save you money as well as hopefully improve your health.