Our VHP nutrition exerts help thousands of patients, and one area of confusion they report is with food preparation and recipes. Some get frustrated and decide that they’re “a bad cook” and always will be. For many, cooking has become a lost art. We are all so busy, that investing the time into teaching our younger generations the ins & outs of the kitchen often gets pushed aside. Also, the prevalence of convenience food makes it possible to go decades by just popping a full meal in the oven or microwave with little cooking knowledge needed.

But what if we are trying to follow specific diet instructions that aren’t met by many of these convenience foods? Or we want to cut down on our food budget? The kitchen CAN be intimidating, but also very rewarding. With the introduction of the newly revamped Media Library on the portal, you may find yourself anxious to try some new foods. So let’s cover some basics to following a recipe.

Read it first.

The whole thing. More than once. This will give you a good overview of the process involved, and the timing for each part. It will also save you from being halfway through a recipe, only to discover you are missing a key ingredient or tool. Get prepared. Save yourself some time by getting all your ingredients, measuring tools, and other cooking equipment out of the pantry and cabinets before you start. The only downside? You’ll rack up fewer steps on your FitBit.

Monitor the measurements.

Familiarize yourself with the different forms of measurement that often appear in recipes, and the best tools to use for each. For example, an ounce (oz) is very different than a fluid ounce (fl oz).

Know when to leave it alone.

It’s easy to get anxious, and jump ahead without completing each step. But resist the urge! For example, flipping meat too soon can prevent it from browning correctly and leave you with a dry piece of chicken. And quit watching that pot, I promise it WILL boil eventually.

And lastly…Ask for help!

If something isn’t clear in a recipe, don’t hesitate to reach out to a cooking-savvy friend, or to one of our Nutrition Specialists for help. We love to share our tricks and tips. Now, get cooking!