Drooling over food pictures in cookbooks or on Instagram, but find yourself fixing the same staples each week? With so many food blogs and pictures of professionally-styled dishes at our fingertips, the thought of trying a new recipe may seem more overwhelming than enjoyable. However, trying a new healthy recipe each week can be interesting, exciting, and worth the work. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring and mastering new culinary skills can help up your enjoyment at dinner (and lunch and breakfast).
Trying a new new recipe can make you more mindful about what you eat. When cooking for yourself, you’re more aware of what goes into each dish – and, ultimately, into your body. Growing research has also explored the connection between cooking and confidence, self-esteem, creativity, and social connections.
Keep your trusted go-tos, but add some excitement to the kitchen. To make the process less daunting, spend a week or two recording what you’re currently eating. Is there anything missing? The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends focusing on fruits and vegetables, incorporating whole grains, varying proteins, and consuming fat-free or low-fat dairy.
If you want to incorporate a particular ingredient, turn to the internet (try a search like “healthy recipes with (insert ingredient or food)”). Looking to incorporate variety by eliminating certain ingredients or foods? Ask friends to share their favorite healthy meals that don’t include them. Pro tip: Choose a handful of recipes that have similar ingredients so you don’t buy several items you’ll only use once.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Just a Dash Recipe Club meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month at Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center to share recipes, eat, and make their own organized recipe books with tabs. No experience is necessary to join Baking with Martina in March and April at the Burton Street Community Center kitchen for tutorials and tips in English and en español. After class, impress friends and family with your new skills!
Check out this images from the Health Latin Cooking Class held recently at Burton Street Community Center!
Not everyone has the time or resources to cook a healthy meal each week, so give this a try only when you feel as if you have the capacity – whether that means waiting until you’ve got the kitchen to yourself or waiting for certain ingredients to go on sale. This should be about having fun, so don’t pressure yourself!
To find free food box and meal pickup locations, pop-up and mobile grocery supermarkets, and other food services, visit Asheville Parks & Recreation’s Food Resource Map. If you are experiencing hunger or food insecurity, connect with resources by dialing 2-1-1 from any phone or visiting www.nc211.org.