Want to start cooking at home? Here are 4 simple tips.

Food experts have listed five foods you should eat within a day of opening or cooking.

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My job as a registered dietitian for Blue Cross of Idaho is to make nutrition less complicated for our members. Today is always a great day to make healthy eating changes and my top recommendation is to make more food at home!

Cooking at home allows you more flexibility and often increases fiber and protein in each meal while reducing saturated fat and sodium. Many of us have barriers to overcome in order to cook more at home.

Here are four simple tips to get you started cooking at home:

  • 1. Start by identifying the reasons why you don’t cook at home anymore and work on those barriers to get into the kitchen more often. Perhaps your most significant obstacle is time or cooking skills, or you may feel like you have no energy. Everyone can help you set expectations and allow you to work with what you need to commit to cooking more at home.
  • 2. Buy ready-made foods from the store if you don’t have time or are just starting to cook for the first time. Prepared meals can reduce planning – saving you time – and increasing your confidence in the kitchen. Most grocery stores have pre-cut vegetables, fruit, pre-pickled protein, and even some pre-made spice mixes that you can use for a variety of dishes.
  • 3. If you’re worried about your cooking skills, look for recipes with five ingredients or less. Fewer ingredients can simplify the process and make cooking more enjoyable. I’ve included a recipe for beginners or anyone short on time. I recommend adding protein to this meal; chicken or shrimp would work great.
  • 4. With the holidays on the horizon, meal prep can seem like a lot of work. If that’s the case, start by making more snacks at home. I like to encourage our members to “Prepare Snacks”. When balanced breakfasts are ready, we are more likely to feel satisfied and energized throughout the day. Increasing satisfaction and feeling energized between meals will allow us to choose meals that better meet our goals. When thinking about snacks to have on hand, be sure to start with at least 6-10 grams of protein and a carbohydrate source. Easy breakfast options include a cheese stick and granola or cottage cheese and fruit. Both options will provide you with lasting energy until your next meal.

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Like all habit changes, start small and remember to meet where you are. If you’re nowhere near making food at home, start small and give yourself grace and time to learn what works best for you and your family.

Ramen with coconut curry

  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 3 oz package instant ramen
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Add the frozen vegetables and water to a small saucepan. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat on high and bring the water to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the ramen noodles (no seasoning). Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
  • Shake the coconut well to combine the solid fat and liquid before measuring. Add the coconut milk to the saucepan and stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the instant ramen seasoning packet and curry powder. Stir to combine. Serve hot.

From: www.budgetbytes.com/coconut-curry-ramen

Carly Metcalf

Carly Metcalf is a registered dietitian and health coach at Blue Cross of Idaho. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Her goal is to help members feel empowered to achieve their nutritional goals with support and education. In her free time, Carly enjoys skiing, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family.

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