I love cooking. It keeps me healthier, it means that pretty much everything I eat is delicious, and it’s fun.
But this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t always like cooking, and, in fact, it was only a few years ago when my most common cooking experience consisted of throwing some noodles into some water. (Not exactly healthy or delicious.)
That all changed when I decided to get serious about being Paleo. It wasn’t easy at first, especially since I had a busy job. But I’ve learned a lot, and I can now say that learning to cook well is totally worth it, both in terms of health and taste.
Here are my 3 secret steps to becoming a better Paleo cook:
Step #1: Start Simple
Most of us are busy and don’t have 3 hours a day to spend cooking. But that’s OK, because even the best chefs in the world – people like Gordon Ramsay and Julia Child – constantly stress the need to stay simple. There’s no reason that you and I shouldn’t heed that same advice.
Many of the best dishes use only a few ingredients and require relatively easy cooking techniques. Plus, staying simple means that your food is more likely to come out tasting like it should. There is just less to mess up.
One tip is to pick recipes with 5 or fewer steps. Fresh ingredients generally make more difference than cooking technique.
Step #2: Cook Ahead of Time
I learned this lesson the hard way. For years, I kept telling myself every day that I was going to cook dinner that night. How often did that happen? Not very.
If you don’t already have a habit of cooking every meal, then it’s not going to happen overnight. The best thing you can do is to cook a big meal ahead of time and then freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. That way, when you want to eat during the week, you’ll have food on hand to reheat and eat immediately.
This also stops you from falling off the Paleo bandwagon, which often happens when we are too tired to cook and decide to go out or order in – both options that frequently lead to less healthy meal choices.
Step #3: Learn to Love Slow Cooking
If there is one bit of wisdom that I think should be mandatory for anyone starting a Paleo diet (or really any diet), it’s that a slow cooker (also called a crock pot) is your best friend.
If you’re not familiar with slow cookers, they are these wonderful small appliances that save you loads of time and don’t require your constant attention. What happens is that you dump a bunch of ingredients into the slow cooker, set the timer, and then come back 7, 8, or 9 hours later. And Voila! Your food is done.
Once I discovered slow cookers, everything changed for me. Suddenly, even when I busy, preparing several days worth of meals only took 30 minutes of my time.
If you want to see some of my favorite slow cooker recipes, check out this page: http://ancestralchef.com/paleo-slow-cooker-recipes/
More Concrete Paleo Cooking Advice
I’ve written a longer and more detailed post on how to ensure you always have plenty of Paleo food lying around the house. A lot of people have found my system helpful, so check it out here.
Let me know in the comments below if you found this advice helpful!