Its the dawn of a new era, the age where man does not fear the hellish heat of the kitchen oven or the gruesome burns from boiling potatoes. It’s the time of the ‘Man Cook’, and boy am I sure glad this time has come. I have to admit I haven’t always enjoyed cooking but as soon as I broke my first proverbial egg, I was hooked. It has opened up a new world for me, has given me new challenges and helped me to understand what goes into my body. I am now a proud ‘foodie’ and I want to tell you why I think it’s in your best interests to jump aboard the gravy train with me. So without further adieu, this is why I think real men cook.
1. You control exactly what goes in
When you cook for yourself you can control exactly the type and amount of macro and micro nutrients going into your system. Even healthy options at restaurants are often cooked in oily marinades or have had sugars added to them for flavour. If you want to be truly calculative in your nutrition regime you need to prepare the food yourself.
2. You get to play with knives
This is pretty manly if you ask me. Have you ever seen a chef go nuts on a carrot or quickly debone chicken with a razor sharp knife? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty awesome. Cooking gives you lots of exposure to knives and taking a preparation class will teach you how to properly handle a blade. This is personally one of my favourite reasons to cook a good meal. All of the knife work makes me feel like a secret agent. Although it also has made me a knife snob and I will quickly snub a dull blade.
3. Girls dig it
We are not in the 19th century any more boys, women are looking for a guy who can fill multiple roles. Not just as a provider for the family but also a carer and nurturer. I guarantee the girl of your dreams will be more impressed if you can whip up something delicious at home compared to taking her out to the local tavern…again. So aprons on lads, lets whip up that soufflé.
If The Rock cooks, you cook. Got it?
4. It’s the fastest way to a six pack of abs
As mentioned earlier learning to cook for yourself allows you to prepare all of your meals yourself. With that preparing usually comes some conciencous meal planning. This actually forces you to think about what you are putting in your body instead of zombie munching on the first thing that falls into your hands. Planning meals and cooking them yourself is an absolute must for sustainable heath and fitness.
5. You will save money
This isn’t rocket science, restaurants up-mark their meals to make a profit. They are businesses, not a charitable society. If you want to eat out or buy pre-packaged meals prepare for the up-mark, it’s usually around 200%. By creating your own meals and doing your own shopping you’ll save money and most likely eat a higher quality of food in the end.
Those are just some of the reasons cooking is a great hobby for the modern man, but a question I get a lot is “where do I start?” Beginning to cook for yourself can definitely be intimidating for us blokes. So here are some quick tips to get you started and keep you motivated.
1. Plan out your weekly meals
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Sit down on Saturday or Sunday (which ever day is comes before your weekend shop) and write down exactly what you want to eat during the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I usually include snacks in my planning as well. Once you have your meals planned out it’s easy to look at the recipes and figure out exactly what groceries you need. This makes shopping straightforward and eliminates silly impulse buys… dam Pringles.
2. Plan to eat leftovers
Planning 5-6 meals a week can be difficult even for us cooking enthusiasts, my advice is make meals large enough for at least one night of leftovers. Leftovers give you a ‘night off” from the kitchen and keeps your nutrition on the straight and narrow. This takes cooking six nights a week down to a much more manageable three. As long as you’re making meals that are tasty, you won’t really mind having the same meal twice in a week.
Keep It Simple Silly, don’t think that just because your learning to cook you have to learn french techniques. Cooking for the most part is very simple, cooking healthy is often even more so. You don’t have to be a genius to marinate some chicken in garlic, pepper and lime for an hour and bake some sweet potato. Start with a few easy, healthy recipes and build your skills from there.
4. Buy Spices
This is a little bit of an initial cost, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Spices are not only delicious, they are full of health boosting properties. They offer a ton of flavour without having to rely on salt, sugar or fat. So get out to the grocery store and spend the 50 bucks to get your spice rack going. I promise you will thank yourself for it.
5. Mix up your proteins
The best way to tire out your tastebuds and turn you off cooking is to eat boiled chicken breast 6 nights of the week. Plan to have a different protein for every meal you cook and it will keep you motivated to try new things. The natural flavours in each protein source can be enhanced and played with by adding a basic combination of fresh herbs or spices.
6. Use the internet
You know that thing… you know the one that has all of the information in the world on it? I get asked often for recipes and I am more then happy to pass on some of my favourites to my clients and friends, but guess where I got them! A quick google for your favourite dish will show dozens of different recipes. Most of which are very simple and easy to follow, throw in a bookmark and start building your database. It really is that easy people.
Eventually you start to learn what ingredients go well together and when you get really brave you might try coming up with your own version of your favourite recipe!
Well that’s it for todays advice blog, I really do believe that everybody should know how to prepare and cook a meal for themselves and for their family. It’s the best way to control your nutrition and stay on top of your health. Remember to start simple and plan your meals in advance. Good luck and happy cooking!