Cooking Can Be Easy! Here's How...
When I was living in Paris, one of my favorite pastimes was to visit my aunt and spend time with her and her family. I clearly remember this one time, she had just come home from a long day of work and was exhausted, and the kids were hungry. I saw her place a big slice of cooked ham on each of their plates, then pour a can of corn on top. Dinner, done! True story.
I wouldn’t necessarily call this "cooking", but this dinner of ham and canned corn is actually much more nutritious than most American fast food. This experience also taught me a big lesson: that cooking doesn’t have to be hard.
Cooking a Meal Can Be Easy
Since living in the US, I have noticed that many Americans think that cooking is a very special activity that can only be enjoyed once in a while when you can take your time. They will choose a complicated recipe with a million ingredients and steps and then go grocery shopping and spend a lot of money on ingredients that will probably go to waste. I have even met Americans who only reserve cooking for Thanksgiving!
Back in France, I never thought of myself as someone who cooked a lot. When I arrived in the US, I realized that I cooked WAY more than most Americans. I’m not a chef and I don't pretend to be one.
The Big Difference: French People Cook. Every Day.
Cooking is an essential part of the way French people live. We know it’s necessary if we want to be healthy and feel our best. Cooking is also a tradition we grew up with. However, we also learned that cooking doesn’t need to take a lot of energy or be time-consuming.
Many studies have shown that countries who still enjoy a traditional diet (which requires cooking) have way lower rates of obesity and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, and so forth.
4 Ways to Make Cooking Easy (And Fun) for You and Your Family
1. Try incorporating some traditional recipes into your meal plans that will give you the opportunity to taste new foods and flavors! You might be surprised about some foods that your little ones will enjoy. I was in awe when I saw my son happily eating chicken livers (which only took me 10 minutes to cook!)
2. You can find many easy healthy recipes online nowadays that are purposefully created to have fewer ingredients, are easy to follow, and don't have a lot of complicated steps or strange ingredients. Pinterest and healthy food blogs are great resources. If you don’t know where to start, you can subscribe to a meal planning software and specifically choose ready in less than 20-minute recipes.
3. Having your kids cook with you (even if it’s pancakes!) is a fantastic way to lead by example. By just watching you cook often, they will learn the importance of preparing meals themselves when they grow up. French philosopher Aristotle once said: "We are what we repeatedly do."
4. Try cooking every day with quality ingredients, and enjoy every meal as something special, even if it is just something you throw together—like ham and corn! You and your kids will be much happier and healthier with this small change.