Three Ways to Cook Better

One of the keys to getting and staying fit is learning how to prepare your own food.

It's scary out there. There's a growing counter-culture of people who embrace things like a sandwich where the "bread" part is actually two grilled cheese sandwiches (or two fried boneless chicken breasts.) And there's also been an explosion of available product at supermarkets that may sound healthy, but actually aren't. Just think about all the packages you've seen on store shelves that have stickers that say, "NO TRANS FAT" OR "WHOLE-WHEAT." Buzzwords do not make something good for you. You've got to be your own gate-keeper, and cooking for yourself guarantees that you'll know what's going in your body.

Look, you can get in great shape on protein powder, water, bananas and willpower. But you want to actually enjoy how your food tastes, don't you? Getting fit does not have to be miserable, either, as long as you know how to cook for yourself. Start with these three basic skills.

Sear Your Meat
This one is really easy, one takes an extra minute or two, and changes the texture of your food completely. Before you put any piece of meat in the oven to cook (like a lean steak or a piece of chicken) first heat up a little olive oil in a stainless steel skillet. Once it's hot, and your food is seasoned, place your meat in the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.  When you flip it, you'll notice a golden brownish color starting to appear on the side that was facing down in the pan, or a black char if you've left it in the pan a little longer. Before you put your meat in the oven, sear each side of it to seal in the juices. Just baking or broiling steaks or chicken breasts will leave you with a very smooth, unappealing texture on your food. Baking after you sear will add a slight crunch and enhance the flavor.

Scramble Your Eggs
I am almost embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to scramble egg sproperly. It is a crucial task for a man to learn, if he has any hope of building muscle, as eggs are one of the best breakfast staples available. Break the eggs into a bowl, and add a pinch of salt and a little black pepper. Using a fork, beat  the eggs until you can no longer see the difference between the white and yellow.

Use a non-stick spray or a tiny bit of olive oil to coat a non-stick skillet with a thin layer, and turn it to medium heat. Once it's hot, add the eggs. Don't go anywhere. In about 20-25 seconds, you'll see the edges start to get firm. Using a fork, scrape them towards the center of the pan with a circular motion. Lower the heat slightly and keep moving the eggs around. They're ready when they're just firming up but haven't changed color. Don't overcook them, because well done eggs are gross.

Bake Your Fish
This is probably one of the easiest healthy dinners you can make. Find a fish market, or a place you trust that has fresh fish. Pick out whatever kind you'd like to cook. Take a large piece of tin foil, spray it with non-stick spray, and place the fish in the center. Squeeze a whole lemon over the fish, and take big spoonfuls of a course, grain mustard and spread it over the top of the fish. Fold over the foil and make a packet. Put the packet on a baking sheet, pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes on medium high heat, and you're done. Serve with whatever you want.

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