From all the rules, habits, laws or whatever you want to call it, cooking your homemade meals is the number one thing you should do to start a healthy journey. May your goal be either to loose weight, maintain weight control or improve your overall health, you need to take this step seriously and have a set of basic recipes ready to be used.
Why Home Cooking ?
I don’t believe in ready-to-go healthy meals that you buy at your local store on a regular basis. And that’s for several reasons. They may be convenient from time to time, but staying away from the kitchen prevents you from :
- controlling what is in your food
- learning to portion your food
- appreciating the quality of the ingredients
- bringing variety to your plate
- saving money (a lot !)
Cooking only at home from scratch was something that all families in France used to do for a very long time. We were spared from the 60s craziness on the “ready to eat” stuff (I’m talking canned meat, ready to eat fruit salad, Jell’O etc.). I know for sure that there is a strong social stigma about those foods and that cooking at home is a must in France.
Don’t get me wrong, studies have shown that we are gaining more and more weight as the fast and easy foods have come in our daily regimen (try googling “Obesity in France”). I think it is indeed mostly because we are getting used to this easy access to food. But resistance is strong against what we call “Malbouffe” (literally “bad food”) and the habit of home cooking is still strong in french families !
How to start ?
If you are new to home cooking or you have just started to dive into the kitchen, this list of basic recipes will give you a good basis for a day to day use. This list is long enough for you to add variety to your meals. But also short enough to start small, easy and to not become overwhelmed.
I have found that sometimes, when people try to acquire a new habit, they dive into it. They force themselves, take it to an extreme so much that, in the end, they get sick of it and just stop doing it.
Like myself, when I had this curious envy to learn calligraphy in my teens (yeah, I do weird stuff sometimes). I bought books, nib-points, inks, expensive papers. I used them one weekend. ONE. Never touched them again. Because the process of searching the best tools, going to the store, reading half of a book was like I was already doing something. While instead I was doing nothing. I could have just taken my usual nib-pen a piece of paper and start to write and learn for 15 min a day. No, instead, I had decided to get the best, do it for 2 consecutive days, get tired of it and never get back to it.
In one sentence : start small.
If you have never cooked at home on a regular basis, try to add 2-3 homemade meals to your week. Then try 5. Then one a day.
The recipes I propose can be adapted to what you have in your pantry and be changed as you like. And you know what’s the best ? If you are accustomed to eating out a lot, just by trying to home cook your meals, you’ll automatically loose weight without any further effort.
THE BASIC RECIPE STARTER GUIDE
- Perfectly Cooked Rice
- Simple Roast Chicken
- Perfect Omelet
- True French Toast
- Perfect Chocolate mousse
- Simple Vinaigrette Dressing
- The Best Guacamole
- Easy Roasted Vegetables
- Showtime Ratatouille
- Awesome Granola
- Vegetable Soup
- Crunchy Green Beans
- Fish papillotes
- Sweet Potatoe Puree
Master those, and you’ll begin your journey to healthy homemade cooking. Because you can create so many variation with those recipes, it can lead to an endless variety of meals.
I’ll try to update this list and add more options on a regular basis !
Do you have more recipe ideas to add to list ? I’d like to hear about it 🙂
Author: Emilie Durand
Emilie is a French food lover, proud Parisian and founder of thefrenchwaytohealth.com. On her website, she shares delicious recipes, health tips and tricks. Her goal is to gather and share the habits and rules that have been used and approved by French people for decades. That means cooking your own meals efficiently, enjoying whole foods, eating mindfully and never ever using the word diet again while losing weight.