Do You Want to Cook a Healthy Meal Every Night?

Woman Shopping for Groceries

Here's How It's Done...

Only one in six people in the UK cook from scratch every day. Although our interest in food seems to be increasing, with the rise of popular TV cookery programs, it doesn't seem to be inspiring us to prepare our own food.

There are many reasons people are choosing convenience meals over freshly prepared meals. One of the main reasons cited is the time it takes to prepare a meal from scratch.

Not Enough Time

This is understandable. Many people get in from work and are tired and simply want to eat their tea straight away, rather than have to stare at a fridge full of ingredients that won't cook themselves.

However, changing our attitude towards cooking and learning the skill of cooking will all help to make the task less daunting. Cooking well needs to become a way of life, and we should take pleasure in the act of cooking and in tasting our home creations.

The first hurdle to overcome is to dispel the myth that cooking is time consuming. Have a snack ready and waiting for you when you get in so you can stave off hunger – some pre-cut carrot and celery sticks with hummus or crackers with cheese are ideal. Then, if possible, pour yourself a glass of red wine (optional – and don't go overboard), and get all of the ingredients out that you need for your meal. Put on some good music, and begin.

There are so many recipes that you can cook within half and hour, and it is even possible to create a simple, nutritious meal within 15 minutes. It is a good idea to have a few of these types of recipes stored in your memory so you can whip them up in a hurry.

If your reason for not cooking is because you want to spend time with your children when you come home from work, then what you could do is involve them in the cooking. We should bring our children up to understand how to make good, simple meals from scratch so that getting a healthy, nutritious diet becomes a way of life for them at an early age.

Getting children involved in cooking meals with you will also enable you to spend quality time together and will teach them some valuable skills that will keep them healthy. Much better for them than sitting round a TV set or computer.

The other aspect to saving time is to limit the amount of washing up that is created by cooking. This again is all about being skilled and organised when cooking. If you are well prepared, it is possible to use the same dishes and sometimes even pans. Also, putting your dishes in to soak before you serve your meal can be a useful way of saving time afterwards.

Finally, if you really are the type of person who can't wait for your tea when you return from work, consider purchasing a slow cooker. There are so many recipes that simply involve adding the ingredients into the slow cooker before you leave for work, and will give you a delicious, nutritious meal, ready to eat when you return.

Too Expensive

Another reason that people claim prevents them from cooking from scratch is that it is too expensive. This is a misconception. Cooking a good healthy meal can cost less than ready meals for the whole family, and not only is your home prepared meal more nutritious, it will also taste much better too.

If you want to keep the costs down, plan meals in advance so there is no wastage. Go for vegetables that are reduced as they are close to the sell by date. Make sure you do your maths in the supermarket and work out whether you are better off buying the loose vegetables or packaged – it is not always as clear cut as it would seem.

Also, remember that frozen and tinned vegetables and pulses count as part of your 5 a day and can be cheaper than fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables tend to be more nutritious though to make sure you include some in your meal plan.

Finally, look for vegetables that are on offer – usually the ones that are in season will be more cost effective.

For more information on how to eat seasonably, refer to this handy calendar:

For more information on the Eat Well Plate, refer to the British Nutrition Foundation: