We all know that the secret to a slim body and a healthy future lies in home cooked food. Fast food can be enjoyed occasionally, of course - but it's important to make sure that it does not become a staple part of your lifestyle. Takeout food and convenience meals typically contain very high levels of salt and saturated fats, which can have a dangerously long term effect on your health if they are consumed too much. When you cook at home, however, you have total control over what is going into your food and, therefore, what is going into your body. But so many people find the idea of home cooking a bit of a chore. Why? Well, for one thing because of the time it takes, and also because for a lot of people it can be a stressful experience. For the novice cook in particular, cooking can easily become hectic and frustrating, rather than the relaxing and wholesome activity it is supposed to be. If the idea of cooking stresses you out, here are some tips that will have you mastering the kitchen in no time at all!
Have a plan
You may watch cooking shows, or see your friends cook where they just seem to chuck everything in a pan and hope for the best. While this casual style of cooking may appear effortless, it is actually the kind of behavior shown by experienced chefs. When you are a fairly seasoned cook, things such as spices and flavourings become second nature to you - therefore you don't always need to follow a recipe in order to pull off something amazing. For a beginner, however, it is a difference story. Pull together a handful of recipes that you think you would be able to tackle and follow them to the letter - you'll get much better results that way. When you have got in a bit more practice, THEN you will be able to be a little more ad-hoc with your cooking.
Give yourself enough time
Cooking can be stressful at the best of times... but cooking against the clock just takes things to a whole new level! If you got in from work at 6 and want to have a two course meal on the table before you have to go out again at 7, this is pretty wishful thinking. Rushing through a recipe means you may end up ruining it too. Always set time aside for cooking a nice meal - even if it means you have to say no to something, like doing overtime. Your health is important and a home-cooked meal with help you feel much more alert and energized too.
Have a well equipped kitchen
You wouldn't try to do a specialist sport, like skiing, without a pair of skis now would you? You could certainly try, but it wouldn't work anywhere near as well and could potentially end in disaster. The same concept goes for cooking - if you don't have the right gear with you, you will automatically find yourself much more limited in what you can do. First, stock up on some kitchen basics - pans of different shapes and sizes and a good set of knives. If you are in any doubt of what various cooking implements are used for, take the time to educate yourself on them! You might also want to delve into a few slightly more specialist tools too, such as one of the best immersion blenders. These kind of tools can make your life in the kitchen a whole lot easier and you will have a tasty meal on the table faster than you ever imagined.
Keep clean and organized
If there's one thing guaranteed to stress you out in a kitchen, it's feeling out of control due to the amount of mess around you. Of course, it's hard to maintain a completely clean workspace throughout the cooking process. If you'd manage that, then you probably have cooked that great of a meal! But there are ways to make sure that the area around you stays clean and organized, so you can concentrate properly on the recipe at hand. If you can, try and prep as much as you can in advance and set aside - even if it's just chopping up a few veggies. Have a spare container on the work surface that you can put any skins or stalks in ready for disposal later, and clean up any spillages as you go. A simple anti-bacterial wipe usually does the job just fine!