For many young adults, leaving home for the first time is also the first time that you are completely in charge of your nutrition and eating habits. Cereal for dinner? No one is there to tell you no. Ice cream at 1 am? Why not? This kind of freedom can be exciting, but it can also lead to unhealthy eating habits if left unchecked.
Creating Healthy Meals
One of the first steps towards creating healthy meals is to understand what makes a healthy meal. The USDA tells us that we should be eating from five food groups: protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Healthy fats can also be a part of a balanced meal.
The next step is finding inspiration. If eating a salad doesn’t excite you, it doesn’t matter how many salads you keep in your fridge, they’re not going to get eaten. When you look in your refrigerator for a meal, you want to be excited by your options. Cookbooks are a great place to start and many libraries have cookbooks you can check out. If you’re looking for something even easier to access, the internet is a vast source of recipe inspiration. Pinterest and Instagram have no shortage of food photos. If it feels overwhelming, begin by using ingredients and flavors you enjoy as a jumping-off point. If you enjoy Indian food in a restaurant, a recipe for curry with vegetables and rice could be a great recipe to try.
Learning to cook a meal can feel intimidating, but there are a lot of simple techniques you can practice at home. Again, the internet can be a great tool to learn and YouTube has an endless amount of cooking videos. You can learn everything from the difference between chopped and julienned to the temperature at which chicken is fully cooked. By understanding these basics, you can build your confidence and try new things. Having some basic kitchen tools such as a good pan, measuring cups and spoons, a spatula, and a variety of spices can help you accurately follow a recipe.
If you find that you are reaching for food that is convenient instead of food that you know will fuel your body in a healthy way, consider meal prepping. By prepping components of a meal (protein, grains, etc) you can easily throw together a tasty meal that makes you feel good without taking too much time. You can also keep healthy snacks like fruit or granola bars on hand so that you always have a healthy option for snacks.
If you’re looking for a fun way to learn to cook, a local cooking class may be the perfect option. You get the benefit of meeting people who are also interested in cooking while getting in-person instruction around creating a dish or a meal. There are a variety of classes that can teach you everything from vegetarian cooking to making homemade pasta.
Journey Home East Can Help
Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.
Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff. For more information please call (828) 469-0716.