1. Eat as healthy as possible
- more vegetables and diversify the variety - the greater the better;
- plenty of fruit in all colours;
- a variety of whole grains;
- healthy protein such as fish, beans, nuts and poultry (turkey), avoid processed meat;
- avoid sugary daily drinks;
- avoid trans fat.
Keeping your healthy daily eating pattern can make you happy. But from time to time consuming the sweet stuff or 'guilty' food is sometimes unavoidable. Enjoying a stunning dessert at a dinner or party occasionally is delightful. It can somehow generate our 'happiness hormone'. Of course, you must take your own health condition into account that whether you can take it or not. Anyway, our mental health is as major as our physical health. So be happy!
2. Home cooking vs eating out
At a restaurant, snack bar, café or canteen, you would have no clue how much salt, artificial flavour enhancers (eg. MSG) and artificial colourings have been added to your meal. In comparing to home cooking, you would know how much salt or other flavourings you have added into your meal. Good or bad, at least you know it.
It will be absolutely nice if you turn fresh and nutritious ingredients into a gorgeous dish. Especially, the authentic ones. You can hardly find most of the authentic dishes in most of the restaurants. So the good stuff happens often in our own kitchen! It doesn't need to be a complicated dish. A simple dish with just a few ingredients can be a nice breakfast, lunch or snack. Sometimes a consious choice of simplicity can lead you to have an amazing peace of mind!
Everyone should enjoy a restaurant meal from time to time. However, do remind yourself with a healthy mix of home cooking and restaurant choices. In some Asian big cities, home cooking is sometimes more expensive and time consuming than dinning out. Many people are simply running out of time or perhaps in no mood for cooking at home. Fastfood is an easy and cheaper choice no matter it's healthy or not. Whatever reasons you have for not spending time to cook, remember that you don’t have to sacrifice the nutrient contents and the balance in your meal for the sake of ‘no time to cook’ or ‘don’t want to cook’.
3. Make your dish delicious!
Amongst the five basic tastes, the most difficult one to describe is the umami taste. It's often been described as meaty taste. Actually, it can be obtained from vegetables as well. Of course, the umami taste from meat is different from that coming from vegetables. In our cooking workshops, Vivien will explain it more preciesly by for instance, cooking bouillon from meat, seafood, soya and vegetables.
Once you've got the umami tast for a savoury dish, you are almost there. You still need a balance of saltiness, sweetness and perhaps sourness to complete the flavours. Then you may need to taste it many times during the cooking. Next to the smell and taste, the texture of food is an interesting component of a delicious dish. Explore and experience all the textures: soft, hard, mushy, crunchy, crispy, fluffy, starchy, clear, smooth and lumpy textures. At the end, the dish can only be called delicious at the moment you are satisfied with the taste, smell, texture and the looks!
4. Rotate the ‘styles’ to make cooking more interesting
Vegetarian, vegan, paleo and low carb are mentioned on the page 'Styles'. We need lots of vegetables every day, from time to time also meat and seafood, or occasionally going for low carb. Think about the goodness of each category. A mix & match from different categories means an unlimited combination of diversified meals.
5. Minimize food waste
If your dish is delicious, there's less chance of wasting food. That's why deliciousness is important! The portion per dish should be kept to a reasonable size in order to minimise food waste.
6. Share your cooking
The authentic family recipes from all of us are worthy to be carried through. I have been enjoying to cook at home for many years. To spend some time, say 15 - 30 minutes per day to cook is workable for almost everyone . Whenever I can in the weekends, I will take my time to cook, enjoy and share my cooking with my family, neighbours and friends. They always return with great smiles and appreciations. That's positive energy! :-)
7. Expand your culinary horizons
Travel is the best way to broaden your culinary horizons. You can try local authentic food and meet some great people. I believe food is one of the most important parts of any culture. Through food, people have been communicating in harmony across cultures. Strive to be open-minded and try something you may never have had in your own culture. Then exchange the cooking from your own culture with great people.
Cooking is a great way to experiment new cuisines. Once you've found some interesting and delicious dishes during travelling, it's always fun to have a try-out in your own kitchen. That's my practise since two decades back.
8. Be aware of environmental pollution - say no to plastic use as much as possible
Most of our grocery is with plastic packagings. That's absolutely not a good sign to our future, especially, our next generation. Refuse to use plastic bag or single-use plastic cutlery are the basic things we can do. What can we do further to save our planet?
9. Be a role model to the kids
Let your kids know what good and healthy eating habits are. Talk and explain to them often about food.