RED Hearts: Young People Cooking

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Today's RED Hearts post is by Kathleen Hicks, 22, from Charlotte, NC, who wants you to start chopping:

About three years ago, whenever I would get a grumble in my stomach, my first thought would always be, "Where are my keys?" I would throw on some shoes and drive myself to one of the many fast food restaurants down the road. I’d pull up to the window, fork over the $8 and take my greasy and sometimes cold food back home to eat in front of the TV.

Until one day I turned on the TV, and a cooking show happened to be on. Suddenly, while I watched the chef prepare this beautiful and delicious meal with so few items, it hit me: Why am I buying food that doesn’t fill me up, isn’t healthy and is eating away at my bank account?

With that, I dumped my dinner, watched the rest of the show, wrote down the ingredients I needed and drove to the grocery store. I will say I was quite scared to attempt cooking, but I knew if I could do it this once, I had a whole new world of food possibilities ahead. By the end of the process I had a burnt finger and a lot of dishes — but I also had a meal I had made myself.

Ever since that day, I’ve been hooked on cooking shows and surfing the Internet for new ways to prepare ordinary ingredients. I want people my age to know how great it feels to take charge of what you put in your bodies. Now’s the time to join the movement of Young People Cooking, and start making responsible food choices!

It’s simple: Just look up a recipe that sounds good and try it. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a horrible cook. If you’re scared, invite some friends over and make it a party. Find healthier ways to make the fast foods you’ve been paying for, and then put your own spin on them. Like instead of fries that have been deep-fried in oil, why not bake sweet potato fries in the oven? You’re eating healthier, saving money and meeting a delicious new snack.

RED Hearts guest poster Kathleen Hicks is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is available in paperback.