Yes! You can learn to cook

Published on May 22 2009 - 8:36 PM
Make a fresh start this spring and learn to cook. And while you're at it, you can learn to cook more healthfully. I know, I know, if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, cooking can seem a bit overwhelming. But if you’re armed with some basic knowledge and the right tools, cooking is easier than you think—really! And when you cook your own meals, you’ll eat better and save money—both good things, right?

1. Get the right tools. Like any good workspace, your kitchen needs to be equipped with the right tools, such as comfortable knives, mixing bowls and cutting boards. Use EatingWell’s Tools for the Healthy Kitchen as a checklist to see what you have and what you should consider investing in. You don’t need to buy everything top of the line, but buy the best that you can afford.

2. Plan ahead. Once you’re properly equipped, try planning a week of meals. Even if it sounds super annoying, it pays to sit down once a week to make a menu for the coming days. Not only will you feel less stressed out since you have a plan for dinner each night, but you’ll feel good knowing your meals will be tasty and healthy. These 8 meal-planning tips will help you organize your menu.

3. Find a healthy recipe. And what exactly is going to be on your menu? Check out these 100+ recipe collections: quick dinner, vegetarian, 15-minute fruit desserts, lunches and more. Try making Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce one night. It’s a great recipe to learn to make because once you master the basic technique, you can experiment with different variations to make the sauce. Bonus: it’s ready in 30 minutes.

4. Learn the language. Before you start making any recipe, read through it first from start to finish. If any of the cooking terms trips you up (what is the difference between a boil and a simmer?), this healthy kitchen glossary defines many of the chopping and cooking terms used in EatingWell recipes.

5. Follow EatingWell’s Secret Tips. Once you’re feeling comfortable enough to experiment a little, these 10 Secrets to Cooking Healthier has tips and techniques to help you give a fresh spin to your favorite unhealthy recipes.

Now, go on and get cooking!

A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and dog.