Basic cooking tips for families who eat out most days

There’s nothing easier than jumping on your phone after a long day and pressing the ‘order’ button on your favourite meal – but cooking at home doesn’t need to be difficult or take hours. To help you navigate the kitchen with ease, we’ve enlisted the skills of our good friend and co-founder of Nurture The Seed, Renee Jennings, who shares her top tips and simple cooking ideas that will help you eat in, save money and enjoy nutritious homemade meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • So many of us are too tired at the end of the day to cook, or don’t have the basic cooking knowledge to feel confident in preparing healthy and yummy meals every night – what’s a piece of cooking advice for those of us who struggle in the kitchen?

    “You don’t need to cook extravagant meals – basic food is often the most nutritious. Load up your plate with veggies (cooked or raw), add some protein (meat or plant-based), include some complex carbohydrates (wholegrains or starchy vegetables) and add some toppings (herbs, toasted seeds, a dressing, avocado). You could also do some basic ‘meal prep’, such as roasting an extra tray of vegetables to add to tomorrow’s dinner, boiling eggs to keep in your fridge, or cooking extra grains (like brown rice or quinoa) and freezing them in 1 cup portions. Doubling your recipes and freezing one half is also a great option (this is perfect for things like bolognese, Mexican mince, soup, casseroles and curries).”

  • What if you’re starting from scratch and you don’t know much about cooking?

    “I’d suggest starting with some inspiration, perhaps buying yourself a cookbook with simple healthy meals or following someone on social media that focuses on basic wholesome cooking. Next, I’d recommend working on your pantry. Try out a new food and learn how to cook with it. See if it suits your taste, then move onto another food. Slowly but sustainably is key.”

  • Q: Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated (even though it can feel that way at times), what are some of your go-to easy meals?

    “I am queen of simple yet nourishing meals! I share a lot of quick simple meals on my Instagram @nurturetheseed. My go-to’s include:

    – Frittata or omelette
    – Soba noodle salad with egg
    – Mixed grain and cauliflower ‘fried rice’
    – Chicken and vegetable tray bake
    – Lentil and mince bolognese
    – Fish cakes (using tinned salmon or mackerel)
    – Chickpea curry”

  • Q: What are some of the benefits to cooking meals at home vs eating out?

    “Knowing what goes into your meals. Restaurants/cafés/food outlets use an excessive amount of processed vegetable oils, refined sugar, flavour enhancers and preservatives to make their food taste good. This is fine if you are only eating it on occasion, however research shows us that high intakes of these foods/products are harmful to our health. When you cook from scratch, you can eliminate these foods all together. Plus, you can focus on cooking foods that are nutrient-rich and provide health benefits.”

  • Q: Do you like to cook with your kids? How can we make cooking a family-friendly endeavour?

    “Yes, I love it! Cooking with your kids is one of the greatest gifts you can give them – it can prevent fussy eating, make them feel valued, promote bonding and gives them a fundamental life skill. I know many people worry that it creates more mess and takes longer, but just embrace this and it will get easier. Some tools that have helped my family cook together include using a ‘learning tower’ for my kids to stand on in the kitchen, giving them a special ‘kids knife’, giving them some choice in the meal we are cooking, and letting them choose which record to play while we cook. Norah, my almost 4-year-old, started off mixing and measuring, and now she is my egg cracker and flipper! You will often see my kids cooking alongside me on my Instagram @reneemaryjennings.”

  • Follow Renee on Instagram (@nurturetheseed) or head to to learn more about simple and healthy meals that can be easily put together at home.

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