Cooking more from scratch

This page can help you if you want to cook more from scratch.

Your best chance of making a change is choosing something that's important to you. It helps to work on small, manageable goals to start with and to avoid trying to change too many things at once.

If you need help getting motivated to change, have a look at our page on why making healthy changes to what you eat is a good idea. It might also be useful to think about whether making healthy changes could save you money, time or help protect the environment.

Getting Motivated

Find out more about the benefits of making healthy changes to what you eat

More information on a healthy balanced diet
The rest of the page has tips on how you can make real life changes, whether you need help to take action, or use prompts to keep making the change.

Taking action

  • Set a clear goal (what do you want to achieve?) and make specific plans about what you’re going to cook and when you will do it.
  • Think about what might make it difficult to cook from scratch and work out things you could do that would help.
  • Record your progress. Write down what you’ve been cooking, it’s one of the best ways to stay on track.

Charlie wants to cook more from scratch

Charlie is always short for time and relies a lot on ready made frozen foods that are quick and easy to prepare after a long day. They would like to start cooking more meals from scratch.

Following the 3 tips above, Charlie could;

  • Set a goal to eat more home cooked food and plan to cook a meal from scratch on the day of the week when they have most time.
  • Think about how difficult it will be when they’re busy so buy ingredients beforehand and make bigger portions to keep some in the freezer for next week.
  • Collect all the recipes they cook in a folder with notes about how easy or difficult they were and how nice they were to eat

Prompts to keep making the change

  • Keep ideas for meals you want to make somewhere you can see them. When you shop for ingredients, buy fewer ready made options so that there’s less room to change your mind
  • Leave yourself reminders (e.g. set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to buy ingredients on your way home). This will remind you about plans you might have forgotten
  • Aim to cook regularly (every day, every Friday, whatever you like) but try to do it regularly for a while to build new habits. You might have to do it lots of times before it becomes automatic.

Nic wants to cook more from scratch

Nic is in the habit of eating lots of takeaway food. It’s getting expensive and they want to cut back and start cooking more from scratch.

Following the 3 tips above, Nic could;

  • Collect some ideas for recipes that they want to try and stick them up in the kitchen. At the same time they take down all the takeaway menus or delete any takeaway apps on their phone.
  • Set a reminder on their phone so they don’t forget to buy ingredients on the way home and walk home the way that doesn’t take them past the takeaway.
  • Try to cook at least 3 nights a week so that they get into the habit of cooking.