How to Become a Better Cook: The Ultimate Guide
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on June 23, 2021
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
You might think that becoming a better cook requires training or tons of practice. And sure, those are great ways of becoming a better cook as well.
But there are some simple things you can do to become a healthier cook. Simply improving some of the ingredients or techniques you use can not only make you feel better, but make your food taste better too.
Just follow these simple tips for ingredients, diets, and meal prep, and you'll be on your way to creating some amazing meals with ease!
Use Higher Quality Ingredients
One of the popular techniques for making your food taste better is simply to cook everything in butter. While this is delicious, the overconsumption of butter can easily lead to weight gain and other health problems. Excessive calories and fats aren't necessary for cooking good meals.
A small amount of butter is ok - even healthy! Butter features some good nutrients such as vitamin A. However, you are more likely to get your daily intake of vitamin A from a variety of other sources.
In fact, studies have shown that Western nations such as the US, Canada, and Australia tend to consume too many vitamins. It's a good idea to research or ask your doctor about your vitamin levels. But, you shouldn't try to make generally unhealthy products out to be better just because they have a few health benefits.
Where to Get Higher Quality Ingredients
But how can you get your steak or your veggies to taste better, then?
It's simple: Consider buying higher quality ingredients or growing your own. It doesn't even have to be more expensive. Oftentimes, farmer's markets have reasonable prices for their produce.
Nothing tastes as good as broccoli grown in your own back garden. There are several reasons why vegetables just taste better when they are grown at home.
It doesn't have to take a lot of work or space to have a supplemental vegetable garden. You can even use at-home hydroponics kits if you don't have a yard at your disposal.
Growing your own vegetables can also encourage you to eat more of them. You put in actual effort for that eggplant, so it becomes a priority to learn how to cook and eat it in a delicious way.
By growing your own vegetables, you also have more control over how many GMOs you are consuming. Genetically Modified Organisms are in so much of the food we eat, and it's good to be aware of exactly what you're putting in your body.
When your food tastes better as it is, you don't have to add as much to make the meal taste amazing. When you have a good quality steak, just a light sprinkling of salt is all you need.
In some ways, the cost can balance out. If you're not running through expensive additives like butter, you can have more money to buy higher quality meats and vegetables.
Use Spices and Herbs in Everything
For some reason, many people in North America don't realize how they can revolutionize their cooking by adding in a few simple spices and herbs. If it boggles your mind how someone could be vegetarian or vegan because of the taste, then you are missing out on how spices can make you a better cook.
By adding spices you're more likely to find yourself eating vegetables without quarrel. For instance, if you're cooking beans, adding a whole bay leaf to the mixture adds an extra signature zing that livens up the dish.
Additionally, many spices have health benefits. Turmeric has curcumin in it, a natural anti-inflammatory that can be good for your joints.
Turmeric's bright yellow color makes it a healthy dying agent. Make your chicken soup more yellow and healthier with a dash of turmeric.
As you can see, keeping a variety of spices in your cabinet can improve your cooking overnight. Learning to use spices and herbs doesn't take a lot of know-how. Most people can quickly understand which are meant for savory dishes and which are meant for sweet (although sometimes you can mix the two)!
If you can, it's a good idea to consider investing in some higher quality spices or growing your own. There tends to be a big difference in the quality of spices you buy from large supermarket chains. Those you grow or buy from smaller, well-sourced, companies tend to taste significantly better.
For instance, did you know there are different types of paprika? The ones bought at supermarkets tend to have the flavor of a red-colored dust. But, you can actually choose from sweet, smoked, and sharp paprikas.
Once you've tried a smoked Hungarian paprika, it's unlikely you'll ever go back! Suddenly your deviled eggs will have just a little extra flavor sprinkled on top.
Growing your own basil can open a whole world as you learn of the dozens of varieties. Freshly chopped parsley or thyme adds a new dimension to old favorites.
Consider Different Healthy Diets
Healthy diets you've probably heard of like the Keto or Mediterranean have more benefits than improving your nutrition levels. Often these diets have easy meals you can learn to make—essentially training you to be a better cook. So, your food can be amazing, healthy, and educational!
Let's look at some of these diets and get an idea of how they can be a simple way to improve your health. You're sure to come out of any of these options with a whole lot more know-how on the art of cooking.
The famed Keto diet is short for ketogenic. This diet focuses on reducing the number of carbs you are consuming. In order to do this in a healthy manner, you replace those carbs with healthy fats and proteins.
The goal of the Keto diet is to work towards Ketosis. This means that instead of your body using glucose for its energy, it starts to use ketones. This means your body requires less insulin to be released into the blood.
One of the things people tend to like about the Keto diet is that you're not cutting out many of the main dishes people enjoy. For example, eating a fatty steak is no longer off-limits. However, some popular sides such as coleslaw and fries are.
Full-fat cheeses, eggs, and other dairy products are totally OK. But sugary drinks are a big no-no.
You will have to be very careful what you eat as some "healthy" looking items are excluded. High fructose fruits such as apples and oranges are out. For more information on the Keto Diet, check out our post!
Based on the foods traditionally eaten in countries such as Italy and Greece, this diet has a firm healthy foundation. People in those countries tend to be healthier than your average Westerner. The diet is not only healthy but it's also useful for weight loss.
The basis of this diet is to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and seafood regularly. Things like dairy and poultry should be eaten occasionally. Red meat should be eaten very rarely.
Avoiding added sugar in drinks and food is a huge component of this diet, as is processed food. Meals can still be absolutely delicious (who doesn't like Italian food?!) while being significantly healthier.
You can come out of this diet knowing how to cook food from around the Mediterranean, which is sure to up your game as a cook.
If your main goal while becoming a better cook is also to lose weight, then you might consider intermittent fasting. It also functions as an excellent supplement to a diet like the Keto meal plan.
Intermittent fasting involves not eating for a period of time—usually between evening and late morning. This means you're not losing out on most of your meals, but you are simply restricting yourself from snacking.
Typically you might go 16 hours without eating and 8 hours with eating. Through this process, many people can experience significant weight loss without being less healthy.
The vegetarian diet is not only better for the environment but can challenge you to become a better cook. Even if you don't stick with it, you will come out knowing how to cook vegetables and fruits better than most.
Cutting out all meat should be done carefully. And, you should be aware that a lengthy stint as a vegetarian can result in you losing the enzymes to digest meat easily. It's also important to consider whether you want to include seafood, as there are many vital nutrients to be found in fish and shellfish.
While it must be done carefully, a vegetarian diet is one of the ultimate crash courses in how to be a better cook with vegetables.
Whole Food Diet
No, not the grocery store chain. Popularized by the Whole30 program, it's a 30-day long elimination diet. Essentially, if you haven't been feeling good there may be a specific common food you are consuming that is causing you harm.
First, you limit yourself to a few specific foods like all vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seafood for 30 days. Then, you carefully add back in the "off-limits" foods one at a time, like grains, pasta, and dairy.
While this diet is helpful, it's important to note that it takes much more careful planning compared to most other options. When you remove food groups like grains and dairy, you are removing a group of potential nutrients. You will want to make sure you are getting all your necessary nutrients from somewhere else over the 30 days.
Prep Your Meals Ahead of Time
Often, one of the biggest reasons people don't like to cook is because it takes too much time. But, there are some simple ways to make cooking take less time, and become a better cook in the process.
One of the easiest ways to cut down your cooking time is to make big amounts at one time. If you are making a soup, throw the ingredients in a large crockpot and wait a few hours. Then, pop it all in some Tupperware and eat it throughout the month.
If you can supplement your pre-made main dishes with some fresh vegetables or a piece of fish, dinner will be well-rounded. And, it will take you hardly any time at all! It's easy to make a couple of large crockpot meals over a single weekend and eat happily for up to a month if you freeze your Tupperware.
Check out the top 10 foods that can boost your immune system. Consider adding them to one of your meals.
Now That You're a Better Cook, What's Next?
With these few tips, you are sure to be well on your way to becoming a better cook. Now, consider expanding your knowledge.
From helping you get the medications you need to teaching you how to live an even healthier lifestyle, we're there for you. Check out our blog for more information such as how to structure your workout routine!
Vitamin A Fact Sheet, National Institute of Health US
Multivitamins a waste of money, The Guardian
4 Reasons Why Homegrown Vegetables Taste Better, Journey With Jill
Health Benefits of the Good Ol' Turmeric, The Free Press Journal
You Are What You Eat: GMO Health Risks and How to Avoid Them, Pricepro Pharmacy
The Keto Diet Explained: A Detailed Guide, Pricepro Pharmacy
Top 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System, Pricepro Pharmacy
6 Signs You Need to Change Your Workout Routine, Pricepro Pharmacy