Everything You Need to Stick with Your Resolution to Cook More
If your New Year's resolution is to make more healthy meals at home, follow this three-part plan.
2019 is exactly 19 days away (oof), so it's officially go-time for New Year's resolution brainstorming. This year, many of us are setting out to start cooking at home more often. Actually, 43 percent of people said they plan to cook more in 2019 in a survey conducted by online grocer Peapod. The percentage was even greater among millennial participants: 59 percent of millennials said they want to cook more. In many cases, the goal is linked to trying to improve their diet, as 51 percent said their reason for wanting to cook more is to eat healthier. (Related: How Teaching Myself to Cook Changed My Relationship with Food)
Cooking more meals for yourself is easier said than done, especially if you feel the same way about Postmates as Chrissy Teigen does. But you probably know that planning ahead can make sticking to the goal easier when you're prone to getting hangry and live by a fragrant Chinese restaurant. (Speaking from experience.) Here, all the strategies you'll need to cook up a storm in the coming year.
Step One: Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan is really the key to it all. Without planning, there can be no prep because you're still thinking about what the heck you're going to eat when you come home hungry from work. Planning your meals can make eating out less tempting. You can follow a specific meal plan, or if you want to be more flexible, your planning could simply consist of compiling recipes that are easy to cook on busy days. One thing to never ever forget during the meal-planning stage? Making a grocery list. A healthy recipe is no good if you don't have the ingredients to make it. Plus, consider collecting meal ideas that can be prepped in advance. It's more work up front but will make it easier to stick with this new healthy cooking goal. Look to food blogs and Instagram accounts like Meal Prep on Fleek, Fit Men Cook, and Sweet Peas and Saffron for easy meal-planning ideas, or try one of our many make-ahead recipes.
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Step Two: Meal Prep
Once your meals are planned, you can start prepping them. If you plan to meal prep for work, you might want to take a look at this smart lunch box that will make it easier. If you don't need a grab-and-go option but want to make cooking more seamless (see also: less stressful), stock your pantry with all the staples. To go the flexible route, batch prep ingredients in advance-cook your grains, chop your veggies, etc.-to mix and match for meals throughout the week.
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Step Three: Cook
With a stocked fridge and pantry, you're set to cook healthy recipes throughout the week to supplement any meals you made in advance. Get creative to avoid the monotony that can come with standard chicken and rice-variety meal prep: Experiment with fresh herbs, citrus flavors, and other transformative ingredients. The more TLC you put into making healthy home-cooked meals, the more likely you'll be to actually want to keep cooking and stick to your healthy eating goals.
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