Home \ Healthy Bride \ The Couples Cooking Guide

The Couples Cooking Guide

1466.jpgAre you a one-cook household? Maybe it's just you behind the stove, or maybe you and your partner switch off cooking/cleaning duties - either way, you're missing out on a chance to spend time together. Cooking together is a great way to plan and create healthy meals that you'll both enjoy, especially if one or both of you are trying to lose weight.

Healthy recipes often require more work; this is because there is more chopping and peeling etc... of fresh vegies. You want to use fresh herbs too, and they can take more time to prepare than dried. But the goods news is, when two people cook - it really cuts time in half!

As in marriage, the key to a successful partnership in the kitchen is communication - and planning. Here are some tips for making it work.

Develop a plan

Map out meals for each week ahead of time, with the number per week depending on your needs and schedule. A realistic plan for many households might be three nights of home-cooked meals plus two nights of leftovers or healthy take-away meals, like sushi or stir-fries, each week.

When you plan your menus, put together a shopping list to help avoid impulse buying at the shops and to make sure you get what you need (it's hard to just wing it when you're aiming to cook healthy). Also, try to do your grocery shopping together. You'll feel more like a team, and you'll both get foods you like.

Divvy up cooking tasks

There's no rule against one person cooking and the other cleaning up, but try to share in the actual cooking (the fun stuff) when you can. How you divide the work will depend on your strengths and weaknesses.

In most cases, one person is better at one thing, the other at another. One might be more creative with herbs and spices, while the other can do more basic tasks, like chopping and slicing.

If you're making a pasta dish, one person could make the pasta and the other the sauce, with the pasta cook helping chop vegetables for the sauce. Whether you should work in the kitchen at the same time or are better off taking turns will depend on your personalities - and on how much counter space you have!

Accommodate each other's schedules

It's not always possible for a couple to cook together or, for that matter, even eat together. If the three-night plan doesn't work for you, try cutting back to a less ambitious schedule. Sunday is often a good cooking day for those who can't find time during the week. It's also the perfect time to make long-simmering soups and stews together - and you'll have plenty of leftovers for busy weeknights.

Don't feel you need to make elaborate meals every time you cook together. Chances are you'll stick to your plan better if you keep it simple most nights. When you're really short on time, you might want to incorporate pre-cooked barbeque chicken, pre-packed veggies or salad mixes into your meal. You'll spend more than you would doing the prep work yourself, but it's cheaper than eating out or ordering take-away - and usually healthier.

Does one of you get home from work two hours after the other? If you have to eat first, be sure to sit with your partner during his or her meal. But dining together is still ideal. When you eat together you're having a conversation, so you're less likely to overeat than you would be alone or watching television.

Remember your partner's needs

Try to make meals that will satisfy both people. This is especially important if one person is trying to lose weight and the other isn't - and if you don't plan and cook meals together, it's easy to forget. The non-dieting person needs to be aware of the dieting person's needs and not sabotage them. The focus should be on healthy but satisfying food and portion control. Eat the same meal but less food. If you're eating a stir-fry, have one cup rather than two. Similarly, you can both have baked potatoes, but the dieter can save kilojoules by using low-fat rather than full-fat sour cream.

Keep it interesting

It's easy to get into a rut and cook the same dishes over and over. Try new cookbooks and different ethnic cuisines. Consider doing a cooking class - sign up for one together.

Looking for some good 'partner cooking' dishes? We recommend stir-frys, casseroles, soups and pasta. Here are a few recipes that fit the bill:

Lamb and sweet potato slow-cooker casserole

Orange and beef stir-fry

Pasta primavera

Pumpkin and capsicum soup

Weight Watchers Online