Skip breakfast. Grab a coffee. Go to work. You already feel tired and it's not even noon. Grab another coffee. Buy a sandwich. Eat it quickly. Go back to work. Is it 5 o'clock yet? Skip the gym. Go home. Eat take-out leftovers. Watch TV. Go to bed.
Does this sound like your life? Do you often feel burnt out? For so many of us, that is not an uncommon scenario. Our lives are go, go, go and our health often takes a backseat to all that hustle and bustle.
One of the essential steps in living a healthy life is making time to care for yourself. What if I told you, you could change your life by simply cooking a healthy meal, a couple times a week? People underestimate the power of cooking a home cooked meal. Not only does it mean that we choose what we are putting in our bodies, but it also gives us time to unwind, put our phones down and take a moment for ourselves.
I often hear "I want to cook, but I have no time!" It's all about keeping it simple. Remember, you're not trying to become a master chef!
I have put together a winter cooking challenge to help you bring the joy of cooking into your life. Take these actionable steps and you will see just how simple, healthy and fun cooking can be.
1. Book the time.
Commit to cooking a fresh meal, two times a week, for the next month.
2. Read through recipes.
Look at the ingredients and the preparation time to get an idea if that recipe will work for your time frame. I have added my recipe for Walnut Ginger Pesto below, to help get you started. It's super easy to make and pairs perfectly with brown rice or your favourite pasta.
I always tell people to commit to a "grocery day" once a week, so they can stock up on lots of healthy foods. This will keep you committed to the challenge.
4. Add plant-based food whenever possible.
You don't have to give up the foods you love. Just add some fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts into your meals. This will have you feeling more energized and less likely to crave processed food.
5. Make it a family affair.
Cook with your partner, your friends or kids. Cooking is the perfect social activity and could inspire someone else to find joy in cooking again.
6. Make enough for lunches.
The great thing about cooking at home is you can use any leftovers for lunches through the week. This will eliminate some of those fast food lunches and save you money.
7. Set the table.
You took the time to cook yourself a delicious meal, instead of eating it in front of the TV, why not sit at the kitchen table and savour the food you made. It might seem silly, but eating at the dinner table once in awhile is a really nice way to catch up with loved ones or your favorite magazine.
If you try this challenge, it may help to use a journal to keep track of how you're feeling through the month. Have you noticed you have more energy? Have you lost any weight? Do you feel happier? Have fun with it!
Walnut Ginger Pesto
Makes 2 cups