For a healthy lifestyle, I cannot emphasise the importance of cooking more strongly.  I am not talking about Masterchef level gourmet meals, but just good, nourishing food.  The biggest advantage of cooking meals from scratch is that you control exactly what goes into your food.  Convenience foods generally contain a lot of additives – salt and sugar, preservatives, colourings, fats… the list goes on.  Cooking from basic ingredients limits this, and by using herbs and spices you can make your food taste amazing without adding calories and chemicals to your diet.  I also find cooking therapeutic and I love cooking for other people.

If you’re not confident in the kitchen, there are loads of useful books and websites around that can teach you to cook, even if you feel that you can’t successfully boil water.  I love the Good Housekeeping books, but I’ve had mine forever – they are a family tradition and I got mine from my dad when I got my own place!  Student cookbooks can be a good place to start, check out youtube if you prefer to see cooking in action, or have a look to see what is on offer at your local adult education centre.  Anyone in the UK may also find that their NHS offers healthy cooking courses – mine does – which are free and start from the basics and also include advice on meal planning and cooking on a budget.

Finally, in a shameless plug, keep following my A to Z as later in the month I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes.

Some of my yummiest homecooked meals: