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Do you find it challenging to prepare meals at home? Check out our tips for getting more home-cooked meals on the table. click to tweet Twitter

Many of us would like to cook more of our meals at home, but busy schedules and lack of know-how can make it challenging. Follow our simple tips to help make cooking a fun and rewarding part of your routine.

1. Get inspired by recipes

Getting meals on the table can sometimes feel like a repetitive chore, especially when you’re making the same dishes over and over. Break away from the routine by seeking out some  new recipe ideas. You can start by dusting off the cookbooks that you already have on your shelf, or try out a new one by borrowing from the public library. There are also millions of great recipes available online. A few of our favourite sources are We Heart Local BCBetter TogetherDairy Goodness, and of course, our own collection of recipes at BC Dairy!

2. Take inventory

Before planning your meals, or doing your grocery shopping for the week, take stock of what food you already have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Look for recipes that call for items that need to be used up, and make note of staples that need to be replenished. Doing a quick inventory of what you have will prevent perishable foods from being wasted (link to new food waste article when ready), and save you from buying items that you already have.

3. Make a plan

Meal planning might feel like extra work, but in the long-run it can save you time, stress and money. If you’re new to meal planning, try this suggestion from Jennifer Pallian of the popular food blog, Foodess: make a plan for just threedays worth of meals at a time, instead of a whole week. Read more about this flexible method in her article ‘Meal Planning Painlessly in 3 Easy Steps’.

4. Learn a new skill

Preparing meals gets easier and more enjoyable once you’ve mastered a few kitchen basics, like knife skills. Consider taking an introductory cooking class at your local community centre or culinary school, or learn from the comfort of home by checking out one of the many free cooking classes available online, like The Kitchn’s 20 Day Cooking School.

5. Use convenience foods

Convenience foods are sometimes given a bad rap, but they’re not all the same! Some convenience foods are nutritious and can save you time, like canned beans or lentils, and ready-to-eat salad greens. Check out our article for more ideas on how to make use of nutritious convenience foods.

6. Cook and eat together!

Taking the time to cook becomes even more rewarding when meals are shared. Try getting the whole family involved in meal preparation, and sit down to eat meals with family or friends whenever you can. Better Together is an excellent resource for sharing stories and tips around eating together.

Looking for more home-cooking inspiration? Check out these articles:

Two ways to get young kids shopping and cooking

Cooking with milk

Teens who cook are healthier

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