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Learn healthy cooking tricks -- and resolve your food issues, too

One of the best ways to watch what you eat is to make it yourself.

"I love shortbread cookies," says Vicki Smythe, 26, a personal trainer. "But I had no idea how much butter was in them until I baked a few batches last week--an entire cup of butter in just 1 dozen cookies! I used to eat up to 4 or 5 cookies at a time, but now I'll definitely be stopping at 2!"

There are more reasons than just a reality check.

"Cooking helps food matter," Koenig says.

Many of us are disconnected from food because we're disconnected from our bodies. Cooking helps us tune in to how food smells and looks (real food - not its fake, processed equivalent), as well as to the whole process of feeding ourselves; a process in which food is energy and nourishment--not the enemy. If your biggest food issue is speed eating (which often leads to overeating), cooking can help you slow you down and connect with your senses, she says. Tasting and smelling food as it cooks encourages you to do the same as you eat. You're also more motivated to slow down and really enjoy a meal after working hard to make it.

Food and cooking have emotional associations, says Koenig, and paying attention to how you feel as you cook you get in touch with feelings you have about the past that relate to food. Were you often urged to finish your dinner because a parent worked so hard to make it for you? Or was your childhood spent eating frozen dinners and fending for yourself? The process of cooking can help you understand why you feel the way you do about food.

Ready to get started? Here are 4 healthy cooking tricks that can help you be just as comfortable in the kitchen as you are on the couch.

Healthy Cooking Tip #1: Stock your kitchen.

Healthy cooking starts with filling your cupboards. Keep these basics on hand, and you'll be able to whip up delicious meals in less than the time it takes for pizza to be delivered.

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