The importance of learning to cook

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You’ve mastered the military press but making a simple omelette still eludes you. English Institute of Sport nutritionist Chris Rosimus, who works with the England cricket team, explains how to build confidence in the kitchen and why cooking will transform your fitness.

Cooking isn’t at the top of the agenda for most of the England cricket team. Some players can’t cook, others refuse, and most don’t have much time to dedicate to it. My job as a nutritionist is to come up with solutions to ensure they look after themselves. 

Can’t cook

People who can’t cook tend to rely on convenience food. Although it might save time it will be detrimental to your health because it’s typically highly processed, high in saturated fat, low in good-quality protein and full of sodium preservatives. 

That’s why we encourage our players to fend for themselves. To help we give them a book of simple recipes – the ECB cookbook. We found that if we gave the players a simple recipe that took less than 30 minutes (see box) we’d get them interested. We also remove fiddly measurements, and use recipes where they can add as much or as little of an ingredient as they want. 

The biggest mistake people make is to overcomplicate things. It’s like coaching. If you overload someone with a complex task they’re likely to fail. It’s better to keep things simple. Get some quick wins and you’ll be motivated to keep going. 

Won’t cook 

If you hate cooking, a different approach will bring better results. Consider what you eat now. Decide what you can keep and what needs to change. Focus on one meal, such as breakfast, rather than trying to cook all your meals from the start. 

Slaving over a cooker for hours is a turn-off but we’ve found that smoothies are a good way to get the players interested in preparing their own food. Our immunity-boosting blueberry and flaxseed smoothie is popular. Use as many blueberries as you want, 280ml milk, a scoop of vanilla whey protein and a tablespoonful of flaxseeds and blend it together. It’s high in protein, antioxidants and vitamin C and can be made in a couple of minutes. 

Learning something new takes time. Be patient and don’t expect to get it 100% right every time. There’ll be times when a meal will taste like crap but, like a raw fast bowler throwing down the occasional loose delivery, it’s all part of the process.

Coach Staff

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