Cooking at home is not just cheaper and safer than eating out or ordering in, it’s also definitely a healthier lifestyle choice. Preparing food needn’t be an elaborate affair and being armed with just a few of our simple strategies can help you crack the toughest recipes. We brought you a series of articles with tips and tricks for the kitchen, to help cook like a pro, and avoid the mistakes that haunt rookies and seasoned chefs, alike. Whether it was creating dazzling vinaigrettes for your salads, making your own granola or even popping out the perfect roast chicken to wow your guests, we made it all achievable with simple steps.

But what if this is your first time ever in your own kitchen? Where do you start? What should you have? How much of everything should you keep on hand? Take it easy, because we’re here with the answers to all these questions and then some.

First time cooks, listen up: we’re handing you the guidelines to get started on your culinary journey and it doesn’t matter what age, gender or ethnicity you are—if you love food and want to eat healthy while saving money at the same time, please pay attention.

In the first two parts, we taught you how to shop for groceries and store them correctly. In the third part, we taught you how to make simple, delicious dips. In the final part of this cooking series, we discuss how to whip up some basic meals in your newly set up domain—the kitchen.

For Breakfast: The most important meal of the day, this is the perfect time to indulge in some delicious and nutritive dining that will fuel you for the rest of the day’s activities. Even though it can be as simple as yogurt and fresh or dried fruit, whole grain cereal with milk or no-nonsense egg dishes, you can get a little experimental and add veggies for a fiber-rich energy boost.

Give these six recipes a try:

  1. Poached Eggs On Whole Grain Bread
  2. Tofu Benedict, A Vegan Brunch Fave
  3. Naturally Delicious Fruit Muffins
  4. Spinach & Tomato Omelet
  5. Breakfast Tea Latte
  6. Blueberry Breakfast Protein Smoothie

For Lunch: It all depends on whether you need to grab a quick lunch and something portable works best or if you can enjoy a luxurious sit-down meal. Either way, don’t compromise on taste or appearance just for the sake of convenience. Pick things that are filling but light, so they don’t make you feel sluggish.

Give these six recipes a try:

  1. Citrus Farro Salad With Roasted Beets & Poppy Seeds
  2. Low-Fat Turkey Meatloaf With Mashed Kidney Beans
  3. Poached Egg & Arugula Salad
  4. Quinoa Pilaf With Shallots & Shiitakes
  5. Sautéed Broccoli With Garlic
  6. Chicken With Shiitake Mushrooms

For Snacks:  These should ideally be not just filling enough to help tide you over till dinner, but also light and easy on the system or you will ruin your appetite. Muffins are an excellent solution to this conundrum and are super portable too, but there are plenty of possibilities if you’re looking for low-carb and low-calorie options.

Give these six recipes a try:

  1. Cereal Bars
  2. French Toast
  3. Popcorn
  4. Healthy Chocolate Snack Cake
  5. Trail Mix
  6. Sesame Peanut Kale Chips

For Dinner: Since this is the last meal of the day, it may be a good idea to keep it light and easy to digest so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep and prevent you from getting adequate rest.

Give these six recipes a try:

  1. Healthy Bulgur With Vegetables
  2. Pumpkin & Kaffir Risotto
  3. Vegan Corn Chowder
  4. Grilled Salmon With Sauteed Spinach
  5. Japanoodles
  6. Quick & Easy Three-Bean Chili Recipe

For Dessert: Having a sweet tooth shouldn’t mean you have to pile on the pounds. Choosing low-calorie sweet treats is not that difficult and can help you stay on track with your weight loss or maintenance goals.

Give these six recipes a try:

  1. No-Guilt Brownies
  2. Peanut Butter Paws
  3. Berry Frozen Yogurt
  4. Baked Apple Roses
  5. Fruit Pizza
  6. Fruit Compote With Coconut
  7. Honey Fruit Delight With Aromatic Spices

Image: Shutterstock

PS: Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
Quick and easy 
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Read More:
Best Snacks To Stash In Your Work Desk
31 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.