More often than not, I hear from my weight loss patients that they do not cook at home. Many people depend on eating out, or eating prepackaged foods, for their meals. Unfortunately, this will often lead to weight gain. Even if you think you’re making healthy food choices, you cannot control the ingredients when someone else is cooking for you. Often times the ingredients aren’t what you think they are. You can mistakenly be ordering, or purchasing food, that has more calories, more sugar, more carbs, and more preservatives than you realize.

Learning how to cook for yourself is an important part of not only weight loss, but also weight maintenance. You do not have to be a gourmet chef in order to cook for yourself. Learning some easy, simple recipes is all you need.

Cook Books
I recommend that you purchase a couple of cookbooks and find some quick, simple, easy meals that you can make part of your weekly menu. These recipes should be simple and easy to follow. They should also be healthy and not loaded with tons of calories, sugar, and fat. Here are a couple of my favorite cookbooks that I use weekly: Janeva’s Ideal Recipes and Everyday Paleo.

Make Ahead Meals
Making a few meals that will stretch into other meals is also a good idea. This way you can save yourself from feeling that you are in the kitchen all the time. I like making a large pots of soups, stews, curries, or chili in my Insta pot or crockpot. You can even freeze these meals and save for later in the month.

Internet
The Internet is another good way to find some healthy, quick and easy recipes. I will often times “google“ a healthy recipe for a comfort food that I enjoy. For example, I will google “healthy Pad Thai”. From there I may tweak the recipe by excluding some of the ingredients like sugar/honey. I will also use Konjac noodles for a low carb option. For peanut allergies you can substitute sunflower butter that tastes just as good! Printing out these recipes and adding them to a binder will make them handy when needed.

Online Learning
Check out YouTube for some basic cooking classes. You can find classes on how to roast a chicken or roast vegetables. Learning basic skills can give you the confidence you need to start cooking for yourself.

Save Yourself
You can save yourself time, and work, by purchasing precut vegetables or frozen vegetables. Also purchasing jars of pre-minced garlic and ginger paste can be quite helpful. Make sure your spice rack is well stocked too! Your food does not have to be bland or boring.

Prep for the Week
Set yourself up for success by meal planning! Plan your meals each week and go shopping to make sure you have healthy food options. Doing some food prep ahead of time can make it easier on you during the work week. A bit of effort on the weekend can mean that you’re taking care of for the week, and will be less likely to either eat out or order in.

Equip Your Kitchen

Having the proper tools in your kitchen can help make cooking easier. I recommend equipping your kitchen with these basic, but necessary, kitchen tools:

*Pots and pans
*Knives
*Kitchen utensils
*Chopping boards
*Colander and sieve
*Tongs
*Mixing bowls
*Whisks

Food Service
If your adamant about not cooking for yourself, then using a food service can be a healthy option if you choose the right one. I like Pete’s Paleo and SunBasket. Whatever service you decide on, make sure you choose healthy food options and stay away from temptations.

It is important to remember that weight loss is the easier part and weight maintenance is a life long process. Leaning to cook for yourself will allow you more success in maintaining your weight for a lifetime.