Make at-home cooking EASY!?
I used to HATE cooking. As a busy, full time student, I would try to avoid it at all costs.
I’d eat out and made close friendships with microwaveable meals. I wouldn’t touch the oven or think to spend more than fifteen minutes preparing a meal. This led to lazy, processed meals, and I’m not saying this is unhealthy, but this definitely was not a balanced diet with all the nutrition I needed to feel my best.
The food I ate left me hungry an hour later or lacking energy. Once I made taking care of myself a priority, everything changed. I decided that I was worth it and started buying nutritious foods at the grocery store to make filling, balanced, tasty meals instead of microwaveable substitutes. I decided that nourishing myself was a need, and then it evolved into a want.
My relationship with cooking strengthened after going through Support Connect to connect with a dietitian in finding professional help for my eating disorder. The goal was to create a positive relationship with food, and by that, it meant I needed to cook.
My dietitian created personal meal plans to follow which included what and how much to eat for every meal and snack, a grocery list of everything I’ll need for the week, and multiple recipes.
I told her my dietary preferences, including what foods I like and dislike, as well as my relationship with cooking. She gave me easy recipes with minimal prep time and ingredients. She pushed me out of my comfort zone by having me cook new meals but still kept me in my comfort zone by cooking with foods I enjoy. It was a perfect balance.
I started to create balanced meals that fuelled me with energy, kept me focused, and even made me feel good after I ate them.
My favourite hack to create balanced, nutritious meals for myself is to make my plate colourful!
Here are some easy examples of some easy at home meals to try:
Breakfast or snack
Toast with almond butter and frozen strawberries create a tastier jam! Just microwave them and you get the juice too! Add some fruit on side for some extra colours!
Yogurt bowl with vanilla protein powder (make your plain yogurt sweet with protein powder), fruits, and healthy fats!
Here I used frozen berries to I’d get the sweet liquid that comes from heating it in the microwave to make the dish naturally sweeter! I added cinnamon because it’s my favourite spice. I used two different kinds of fruit and two different kinds of seeds (healthy fats). Stirring was so colourful and satisfying!
Lunch or Dinner
Rainbow Peanut Bowl
Better than Skittles because I can actually taste the rainbow.
Here I have a rice noodle bowl where I have colourful veg cut up, peanut sauce, and chopped chicken!
Sauces are your friend, not your enemy. I use peanut sauce for any salad to get that extra sweet peanuty kick that has healthy fats and protein.
Rainbow Peanut Bowl 2
Another variation with edamame beans instead of chicken. I used different veg for different colours! Food never gets boring if you switch it up, so cook those ‘plain’ or ‘boring’ noodles you have in your pantry and add some tasty colours!
Egg Salad Satisfied
Egg salad sandwiches are so easy. Here I mashed two hardboiled eggs with plain yogurt, dill pickles, mustard, green onion, and dill and put it on toast! Add a side of veggies to add more colours!
Yes Na’an DIY Pizza
Here I created a naan pizza in under 20 minutes!
Buy naan bread, add pizza sauce, cheese, and/or any toppings you like and throw it in the oven for 12 minutes at around 350 F! Added a side salad for more colour, crunch, and freshness. This is my favourite go-to satisfying meal. I get my creative juices flowing every time I create a new variation. Home-made pizzas never get boring!
SO easy and fast. Two tortillas, salsa, cheese, and any other fillings of your choice. I used cilantro, green onion, arugula, and bell pepper. I cranked the oven to 350 F and waited 15 minutes until it was brown and crispy on the edges. Pair it with a side salad for more colour and crunch! DO NOT FORGET your sides of sour cream and salsa, they are the cherry on top.
This one is the easiest and most satisfying one in my opinion!
Make a pasta (I used Annie’s boxed pasta) and add some microwaveable veggies and greens for some pops of colour! Here I added chopped up/grated chicken for protein. This will for sure fill you up and keep you sustained for a while!
Tip: add your favourite spices and make it your own
Sweet ‘n Simple Sesame Tofu (feat. rice)
Oven roast or stir fry some firm tofu with any veg and add some rice. Here I marinated the tofu and veg in soy sauce and sesame oil for that sweet and salty taste. SO YUMMY, WARM, AND COLOURFUL! I feel so satisfied and sustained after this one.
I’ve learned that food is meant to be enjoyed and I definitely enjoy my food more when I make it with my preferred tastes, spices, and textures. If you’ve ever heard the quote “good things take time”, I would agree with food.
I used to adore eating out, but now I rather make at-home meals to suit my preferences while allowing me to express myself. Creating meals makes me feel like an artist who can make colourful creations that contribute to my self-care and health and wellness. I can now say I love expressing myself through cooking.