Now, the entire purpose of this blog is to help you become the happiest, healthiest version of yourself. We talk a lot about health and fitness, as well as healthy eating. But what happens when you struggle with the healthy eating because you don’t know how to cook? If this sounds like you, then you are going to want to keep reading because we are going to be learning how to cook for beginners.
It is one thing for someone trying to help you be healthier or lose some weight tell you, you need to eat healthy. It is another for them to actually teach you how to do that.
And for someone that doesn’t cook much, it is frustrating trying to make the change to be healthier or lose weight when you don’t have that skill.
You sit back and think “well I know I have to eat healthier but how do I do it?!”
Let’s be honest, a lot of our lives revolve around food. We like to talk about food, take pictures of it, and pin recipes on Pinterest.
And in a fast-paced world of fast food and processed foods, if you don’t know how to cook the struggle becomes very real.
But we are going to fix that right now and help you get back in the game.
To get you moving in the right direction, we are going to go over some cooking tips that are going to be super helpful for learning to cook.
So, I suggest reading these a few times and keeping this post somewhere that you can easily refer to it when necessary.
1. Commit to Cooking Routinely
This is important when learning how to cook. You want to make sure you are going to continue to cook and make it a regular thing.
It needs to be a habit (to learn more about building habits, check out this post).
I can’t even begin to stress how important it is to stick with it. I am not saying from now on you have to cook every meal every single day until you die.
But it should be consistent.
Try it a couple times a week and as your skills increase, add to the frequency of cooking as well.
2. Don’t Go For Hard Recipes Right Away
I feel a lot of people overlook this and it is something so many people do, which trips them up.
So, let me say it again.
Don’t start off with trying a recipe out of your skill level. Remember you are learning how to cook.
You will get to a point where you are going to want to challenge yourself, but that is down the line after you gain experience.
When you start with something difficult right off the bat, it is going to be difficult. Odds are it isn’t going to turn out well and that will not help your confidence with cooking.
You just want to get your feet wet right now. Test the waters. You need to walk before you can run.
Do you get what I’m saying?
Then set aside that recipe that calls for flambéing and choose something simple.
3. Start Easy
This goes hand in hand with what we just talked about. This is all about boosting your cooking confidence and enhancing those skills.
Even if it isn’t the healthiest recipe, just get in the routine of cooking and get some practice in.
The goal is to make healthier meals yes, but you need to learn to cook first.
This isn’t Chopped. You do not need to be cooking at that level right away.
So, get a bunch of easy recipes under your belt to learn techniques. From there you can tackle more challenging recipes.
4. Get a Book to Learn Some Techniques
Now, I am going to be honest with you. My mom is an amazing cook. I mean she is at like Iron Chef level, she is that good.
So, I am extremely fortunate because growing up she has taught me a lot of cooking techniques, even by just watching her cook.
Not everyone is that lucky and that is okay. Learning how to cook can be done at any age.
And you can always learn something new. I know I continue to.
You can learn a lot about cooking from watching the million cooking shows that are out there but getting a book is a smart choice.
The great thing about a book is that you can always refer back to it, which is important when you are first starting out.
That way, when you are cooking and come across something you don’t know or remember, you can just look it up.
So, getting a cookbook that teaches you some techniques can be a great help.
For example, Cooking Basics for Dummies. Don’t let the name make you feel bad. These books are just written so that anyone can understand them.
This book will give you great information and I highly recommend it.
5. Build Your Knowledge As You Go
You might be thinking, well I don’t know anything, so I’ll always be building my knowledge.
This is true, but you should always keep it in mind each time you cook.
Make a conscious decision to learn a new technique or try something you haven’t yet.
Maybe you have made the same recipe a few times but this time you want to try to throw in different flavors or make some substitutions.
KEEP THIS IN MIND.
Each time you cook, try to learn something new. Try a recipe with a new technique or even add your own flare to it to see what happens.
6. Get To Know Your Appliances
Even if you don’t cook much, kitchen gadgets are just popular for people to have.
They advertise them so well they make you believe that if you buy this appliance, you will be able to make they amazing meals shown.
Fortunately, most appliances are made to make things easier on us when we cook. Which is another big reasons so many people buy them.
But, if you aren’t familiar with them, then you aren’t going to use them, so it’s important you learn to use them.
For example, it took a while for my husband and I to get into using our Instant Pot. There are so many buttons and options, and not using it before made us unsure what exactly to do. On top of the fact that you can’t keep checking on the food to see what’s going on, were big obstacles for us to get over.
But you just have to jump in and try things. Find recipes to use with your gadget and go for it.
We did this with our instant Pot to get used to it and we are so much more comfortable now.
Give it a try and you might find that you love your appliances too!
7. Be Patient
This is huge and I can’t stress it enough.
Like the saying goes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
Learning how to cook ins’t always easy so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Not everything is going to turn out every time. Even for more experienced cooks it doesn’t.
And that’s okay.
You just learn for next time.
I always tell my husband when we try something new and aren’t positive how it will turn out, that our backup plan is pizza.
And I can count on one hand how many times we actually had to go to the backup plan.
How fast you pick certain things up is going to just depend on you. The more practice the better you will get.
Just remind yourself of that anytime you are struggling in the kitchen.
Having patience in growing your skills is going to be what helps you learn to and stick with cooking.
8. Use Fresh Ingredients If You Want To Make Healthier Choices
Or at least always read the nutrition label.
Most people want to learn to cook so that they can make healthier food choices.
Using fresh ingredients is an easy way to be healthier, even when you are just learning to cook.
If throwing something fresh in, isn’t really an option, check out the nutrition label to be sure you are picking the best food.
If you aren’t familiar with reading nutrition labels, this post will be your guide.
I recently had a discussion with my mom about fresh versus frozen vegetables. She said she prefers fresh because it doesn’t have the added sugar that frozen has.
I didn’t think frozen veggies had added sugar. So, we actually looked at a lot of different kinds to see if there was added sugar. Some brands don’t add sugar while others do.
The takeaway is that it doesn’t always have to be fresh, but it is always a good idea to check the label to make sure it’s a good choice.
9. Keep Your Kitchen Clean BUT Don’t Be Afraid To Get Dirty
It is always more enjoyable to cook in a clean kitchen. When you keep it clean, it is easy to just get going on making your meal.
When your kitchen is dirty, you have to take the time to clean it before you even start, so by the end your odds of actually cooking get pretty low.
Plus, working in a clean space and cleaning the kitchen up when you are done really relives stress. At least I know I feel so much better working that way and my husband does as well.
Now, I did say don’t be afraid to get dirty and I mean that.
Cooking can get messy, especially when you are enhancing your skills.
Hands can be washed and counters can be wiped down, so don’t worry if while you are cooking you create a mess.
It’s bound to happen and another reason to just clean up afterwards.
10. Meal Plan and Prep
Have you ever done any meal planning or prepping before?
If not, take a moment and read this post on Meal Planning.
This can be a great time saver and help keep you cooking.
It is an awesome feeling when you already know what you will be cooking and if you can get some of the ingredients ready ahead of time, such as chopping veggies, do it.
I do really encourage this because saving even a little bit of time makes cooking seem like less of a chore.
And the goal is to continue cooking so why not make it easier on yourself?
In my house we used to have the struggle of asking each other what we want to eat. I’m sure you have experienced that with someone before.
It’s a back and forth that wastes time and energy. Plus it usually leads to a less healthy food option.
When you plan and prep ahead, you can decide how healthy you are going to be and there is no guesswork involved.
It makes things SO much easier.
11. Get Your Ingredients Ahead of Time
This tip goes along with meal planning and prepping. By doing this, you are going to keep your stress level down.
What you need to do is look to see what ingredients you already have and then add those you do not have to your shopping list.
By getting your ingredients ahead of time you will know that you can make a particular meal.
It also helps to make sure you stick to that meal since you already bought items for it.
And it will save you the hassle of having to run out and pick up an ingredient that you didn’t have. I have done that, and it is such a pain.
Cooking is a lot better when you have what you need at your fingertips and don’t have to stop what you are doing.
12. Know That Substitutions Can Be Made
This is huge for those that don’t routinely cook to know. And it is another awesome part of cooking.
You can make substitutions to items.
So, if you are looking to make healthier choices, you can do that. For example, you can replace butter with olive oil.
I do want to point out that by substituting items, depending on what you are making, the consistency may be different.
When you are learning to cook, this might be something you enjoy experimenting with.
Just know that if you want to try substituting for something you don’t like, don’t have, or want to make healthier, it is just a google search away!
13. Read Through Your Recipe
Reading through your recipe is a must.
You should actually do it at least twice to make sure you know what goes in it and that you understand the directions and techniques needed to make the dish.
Another part of the recipe you will want to look at is the serving size.
Make sure the recipe will yield the right amount of food for you. If it doesn’t, convert all the ingredients first, to make it the serving size you need.
You will want to do that before you begin cooking so you know if you have enough ingredients or not.
Also keep in mind the time the recipe takes and if anything needs to be done ahead or time, such as marinating. This might impact when you can actually cook the recipe.
Finally, check out the ingredients to see that you like what is being used. Maybe you can make a substitution or leave something out.
Either way make sure the recipe is up to your standards.
14. Keep Cooking Conversions on Hand
When learning how to cook and even down the road, this is super smart to have easy access to.
If you are trying to adjust a recipe size, it is nice to have something to quickly look at to convert your recipe how you need it.
Would suggest posting this on your refrigerator, so you always have access to it.
Learn How To Cook For Beginners
We have covered a lot of different tips on learning how to cook for beginners. It might seem like too much information when you are first getting started, but just keep in that you can refer back to this post at any time.
And if possible, remember to cook routinely, starting off easy. You can build your knowledge as you go, such as learning how to use all of your kitchen appliances.
Test out meal planning to help you stick with cooking routinely and to give you the option to use fresh ingredients.
Always read through your recipe and know that substitutions can be made.
And if you need to convert the recipe, keep my conversion sheet on hand.