Technically, cooking at home should be easy. The idea of roasting a chicken, preparing an omelet, tossing a salad, and grilling a sandwich are terms that we are all familiar with. However, if you ask around, you’ll discover pretty quickly that people view home-cooked meals as a burden rather than a joy- despite the many benefits associated with cooking.

People are generally happier when they cook. However, there are a couple of more reasons why it’s advisable to cook your own food. For instance, home cooking has been proven to be, in this order, much healthier than eating out or ordering in, it’s economical and even cathartic in many cases.

For others, the benefits of cooking daily may also extend to weight loss, less sugar and alcohol consumption, and improved sleep. Even though cooking may sound like a punishment to some, we assure you that it isn’t.

While it is true that many enjoy a home-cooked meal, the time pressures can make it impossible to piece even the simplest sandwich together. And if you have a family, the task is made even harder by the desire to please all members, which can become a tiring and stressful experience for those preparing the food.

The good news? It is entirely possible to establish a cooking habit. To help you out and set you off in the right path, here are habits of effective home cooks that you should aspire to emulate:

Effective home cooks make the time

If you find that you often don’t have time to cook, make it. Your groceries won’t just show up at your door and magically cook themselves. Just like any other thing worth doing, cooking boils down to a habit. It is easy to set aside an hour each week to catch up on your favorite TV show or go to that Zumba class- cooking daily isn’t any different.

If you want to cook more, you will have to spend time picking out your ingredients, prep them, and cook them. Most effective home cooks get into the daily habit of cooking by sticking to a consistent day and time to get all the shopping done.

It also helps to pick a day, such as Saturday, to prep for the week ahead.  This way, you don’t have to run around like a headless chicken every time you have to turn on the stove.

Effective home cooks are always prepared

Just because you don’t have time to make a grocery run doesn’t mean that you should order in or starve. Effective home cooks are always prepared, which means having a list of must-have kitchen items always in stock.

Create a list of must-have items and ingredients because you’re not always going to be able to plan for every single meal during the week in advance. Do you like adding spinach to your dishes? Always ensure that theirs is a frozen bag on standby for you to work with. Do you like adding meat to your meat, consider keeping some sausage in the freezer for a quick meal.

Sometimes there’s joy in spontaneous cooking. Plus, if life gets in the way, you may not have much choice but to work with what you’ve got.

Effective cooks can whip meals easily in a single pot

A healthy and well-rounded meal doesn’t have to be a multiple-stage extravaganza that requires hours of adding ingredients and scrubbing dishes after. Sometimes, all it takes to make a full meal is one pot. One-pot recipes are not only time saving, but it also makes getting lunch on the table such a cinch.

Just envision the ease of it; to arrive home after a long and tedious day simply to turn on the oven, line a sheet pan with parchment, add some veggies, some meat, your favorite spices, and aromatics; only to have dinner a few minutes later, no fuss, no moss.

Other than their convenience, what’s so great about one-pot meals is that they don’t require hours upon hours of prep work. Dishes such as tomato basil pasta, chowder, and lasagna only are flavorful, yet so easy to prepare.

Effective home cooks are not wasteful

If you haven’t been cooking your own food for long, you can be forgiven for being wasteful when you first start. However, if you make it a habit, you might as well just go back to eating take out because wasting food when so many need it, is just as bad as not cooking your meals at all.

There are several things that you can do to reduce food wastage. One of the most important ones is learning basic cooking skills, such as how to measure your ingredients properly. Something as simple as a measuring cup (great buying guide on Gift Wits) can limit your wastage considerably.

Another thing that you can do to limit food wastage is to eat all your leftovers. Have some left-over chicken? Why not shred it and use it to make a nice, flavorful sandwich? Not only will measuring make you less wasteful, but it will also make you a better cook. To know what needs a dash more of this or that, you need a quality measuring tool that you can use in your kitchen.

Final Thoughts

Preparing food at home can be healthy and a great way to save money. However, cooking at home isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Just the thought of making dinner or lunch can be mentally taxing for some people.

The undue pressure and stress of making a proper meal at home is enough to make a lot of people give up and walk around the corner for a burrito. But you’re not most people.

As with most habits, it all starts with a bit of introspection. A lot of people don’t cook either because they cannot find time to do it or they simply don’t know-how. Once you figure out and understand your reasons for not making more meals, you can then begin to make the necessary changes.

Lucky for you, with these great tips, prepare to break up with your favorite delivery guy because you’re about to set out on an epic culinary adventure. Remember to enjoy yourself-it’s much easier to make it a habit if you do.

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