You guys know me well enough by now to know how much time I spend cooking. There's no two ways about how much I love to freely cook for Mitch, my family, or even strangers hahaha it doesn't matter.. cooking in general sends me STRAIGHT to my happy place! 🥰
But over the years I have fallen victim to some cooking mistakes in the kitchen that not only did I feel inconspicuously 🕵🏼 hinder my weight loss progress.. but most importantly, I found these mistakes were often just simply making things worse for my overall health and happiness, you know?
It wasn't until I realised those mistakes, that I was able to be more aware of when & why I was doing them..so that I could fix them! THEN I realised that other people may be doing the exact same thing..
These kitchen mistakes are SO common, so let's go through what some of the most common cooking mistakes you may be making in the kitchen are 🔽
Oops, I eye-balled the oil!
There's no secret that everyone loves a good freehand splash of oil in the pan, or over the salad.. commonly without even thinking twice about it. It just feels.. professional 🤣 .. but portion control when it comes to oils is important. I see so many people load up their pans with oil or butter, without realising that all of these (while definitely essential for a tastier meal) are also very calorie dense. A simple second or two of extra drizzling could be less than great for you in the long run (it adds up quick!)
So my top tip for you here is to measure out your oil.. for a few weeks at least. Take a look each time on how it looks in the pan, or how it looks in the bowl, or how many seconds it takes to drizzle it out. Like 1 tablespoon = X seconds. Once you're used to it, you can then go back to your personal pro-level and drizzle with confidence knowing you're not drizzling 4 tablespoons, when the recipe says 1 (oops)
Oops, what's in this sauce?!
Okay.. picture this.. you're home later than usual from work, you forgot to meal prep ingredients for a sauce that you intended to make tonight for dinner.. (dammitttt) okay okay its fine, straight to the supermarket you go, you can be nifty and get a pre-prepared sauce to cut the cooking time in half.. life-SAVER!! Amazing solution. BUT BE CAREFUL..
Those delicious sauce bottles and jars you get from the shops are mostly filled with SUGAR! Yep, that’s right, they’re typically filled with added sugar that can be super sneaky under a different name (sucrose, high fructose, corn syrup etc.). Food labels list ingredients in order of weight...so if you see sugar being the 2 or 3rd on the list... it could be quite a problemo you have there with that jar you're holding!
The issue with these sauces is that they essentially add unnecessary sugar to your meal, giving you literally no nutritional benefit other than a quick spike in blood sugar and a bit of a crash! But for every pain-in-the-bum sugar filled sauce jar.. there are also tasty ones that use better (real) ingredients. And even if they're not ALL A-grade ingredients (you could be in a rush or on a serious budget!) .. you should at least aim to be able to pronounce all the ingredients of what you're buying for peace of mind! 🥰
Oops, I eye-balled the salt or extra sauce!
Cooking bland meals can make you want to rush over to the salt shaker to drown your meal, or turn to the fridge for a sauce-solution to lather your meal in (ah yes, the band-aid approach hahaha). I don’t ever calorie count myself, especially on BARE Lean, but It is important to be mindful of what you're putting into your meal. Cooking with extra salts, extra sugars and extra fats can literally cause you to crave them again after!
Let's pretend you're about to cook up a mean salmon. Instead of coating it in salt and coconut oil, you could instead add some garlic, lime and fresh herbs like mint, coriander and chilli... and then HOT damn, wouldn't you know it.. you have yourself a Thai inspired salmon without needing a band-aid solution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding seasonings to your meals, in fact, when seasoned in a smart way, you can mimic some pretty incredible flavours!
Oops, did I just put too much cheese or cream??
Okay, here's another scenario for you.. you're cooking an EPIC pasta with cherry tomatoes, spinach, olives, garlic (so bloody good, i'm drooling as I’m writing this!) but as you're getting near the end of your cook, you over-do it with cheese, cream, and other additives that add taste, but will also add the majority of pesky unnecessary calories to your meal (oh noo). It's crazy how many people believe pasta is bad for you, when it's just not the case.. It's the ingredients you ADDED to your pasta at the end, like that thickened cream, extra oils, fatty cuts of meats, etc.. those little buggers all add up!
I used to do the exact same thing too without even realising.. so now I try to make sure I always first opt for things like FRESH herbs, ground spices, some chilli, a bit of extra garlic (hahahah is there ever such thing as too much garlic?!) to add some extra jazz to my meal. First of all.. by doing this, you'll feel like a Masterchef.. and second of all.. it's way better for you.
This isn't to say that things like cream, oil or cheese is BAD for you.. because they definitely aren't when you have them in moderation! But you'd be surprised at how you'll only need a touch of those extra ingredients after you've done the flavouring the healthier way! #HotTip 😄
These tips have seriously helped me the past few years simply just be more aware of how I cook in the kitchen so I can benefit my health, rather than work against it. So hopefully it can help you too!! 💛
Love always, Leah x