5 essentials to eating well: Part 2 – Basic cooking skills

This week I’m sharing the 5 things that are essential to helping you eat well – I’m talking skills, actions and thought processes that you can put in place to improve your eating habits, no matter where you are with your eating at the moment. I hope that everyone can pick up something from this series that will help them or someone they know to improve their eating, so check in each day for the rest of National Nutrition Week to see if you’ve got these 5 essentials down pat. Master these 5 things and you’ll be well on the way to a healthier eating pattern.

#2 – Basic cooking skills


You don’t need to be able to wow the Masterchef judges, but some basic skills in the kitchen will go a long way. It’s sad to say, but cooking skills aren’t being passed down from generation to generation as well as they used to be. We’re busier than we’ve ever been in days gone by and I’m seeing more and more clients that don’t know how to put together even the simplest of meals, so if you need some help getting a grasp on the basics you’re not alone.

Home cooked meals are essential to eating well because you are more in control of what you are eating when you are cooking it for yourself than when you are eating out or eating packaged meals. Sure, there are times when we all need or want to eat outside the home, or eat something convenient from the supermarket, but relying on these sorts of meals on a regular basis is likely to mean that you aren’t eating optimally. Most of these foods (whether it’s takeaway, restaurant meals or frozen meals) are low in vegetable content and high in saturated fat, sugar or salt, so eating them too often will impact on your health. Your wallet will also feel the pinch – cooking from scratch at home is usually a lot cheaper.

If you can chop, dice, grate, mix, boil, steam, fry and roast then you’ve got what it takes to pull off most basic meals. Throw in the ability to follow a recipe and the abandon to freestyle to cater to your own likes and dislikes and you’re doing pretty well. Share those skills around! Know someone who doesn’t see themselves as a cook? Offer to show them how to make your favourite recipe. And get the young ones involved in cooking as well – our kids, grandkids and teenagers need to know how to cook too, it is an essential life skill.

Think you might need to brush up on your cooking skills? Try some of these ideas to help boost your confidence in the kitchen:

  • Jump right in: Sometimes the best way to learn is to just get in there, so grab some ingredients and a recipe and give it a go – be prepared for some mess and a few misses, but as they say, experience is the best teacher of them all.
  • Start at the beginning: It doesn’t have to be difficult! Sometimes we build things up to be harder than they are. Starting with something basic, like spag bol or a soup or casserole will give you that winning feeling that spurs you on to take on the more difficult things.
  • Get reading: Borrow some cookbooks from the library, or buy some food magazines and get reading. Look for similar techniques in different recipes and combinations of ingredients that come up time and again. Equipping yourself with as much knowledge as you can will help to build your confidence.
  • Dinner club: Get a few friends together and meet up once a week at someones house to cook up dinner to share. You probably all have some skills to teach each other and having a few minds on the job can make light work of anything a little tricky. Having people to share a meal with afterwards is a nice bonus. As you get your confidence up you can try some more challenging recipes.
  • Ask around: Know someone who has this cooking thing worked out? Does your dad cook a mean curry? Or does your nan make the best spag bol? Got a friend who is always going on about the latest recipe they made? Ask them to show you how to cook their favourite dish, most people will be flattered you have asked.
  • Sign up for some classes: If you’re really stuck, signing up for some cooking classes might be a good way to go. There are so many to choose from these days, so pick a cuisine and bite the bullet, you may even make a new friend or two.


Got this one sorted? Remember to share your skills with others, and check out the other 4 essentials to eating well:

#1 – A balanced mindset

#3 – Creativity

#4 – Planning ahead

Need to work on your cooking skills? Share your goals with us in the comments below.

Image source: ImageryMajestic on

What do you think?