There are many benefits to cooking at home rather than eating out or hitting the speed dial button for the local pizzeria yet again. Here are a few of the main ones.
1. Saving Money
This is the main reason to cook at home. You’re in control of what you shop for and spend. Make the most of store sales and coupons. Practice portion control and cook, make and freeze meals so you always have something on hand in case you need “fast food”.
2. Knowing Exactly What’s in the Food You’re Eating
Cooking yourself from scratch means you always know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating. If anyone in your family has allergies, this can literally be a lifesaver. If you have health issues like high blood pressure or migraine headaches, steering clear of salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common meat tenderizer and flavor enhancer, can help.
Related: Mindful Versus Mindless Eating
3. A Balanced Diet
Research has shown that people who cook at home tend to consume fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who don’t cook.
4. Being an Educated “Consumer”
Learning more about food, nutrition and calorie counts with the help of healthy recipes and a good food database will help you eat in a healthier manner.
5. Staying Heart Healthy
We are what we eat, so a balanced diet full of nutrients is one of the best ways to stay healthy and slim. Many medical conditions are associated with obesity, including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to a range of serious health issues, including cardiovascular ones. Cooking yourself can help keep you heart-smart.
6. Slow Food, Not Fast Food
Eating more slowly means you will eat less and feel full even on a smaller amount of food. As mentioned earlier, this is because it takes the stomach about 20 minutes to register that it is full. If you’re famished, eat one ounce of nuts 30 minutes before dinner (if you’re not allergic). Studies have shown that the fat and fiber will fill you up and make you feel satisfied on 30% less than the amount of food you usually eat.
7. Go for Filling Foods Low in Calories and Cost
Ever notice how stuffed you feel after a restaurant meal in which you started off with soup and a salad? These are cheap foods full of water and fiber. As long as they don’t have a cream base and you don’t use creamy dressing, you can make healthy homemade soups and salads that will make you feel full by the time you ever get to the entrée.
Or try the Italian style of eating. Have the salad at the end of the meal – it will stop you from continuing to eat high-calorie foods. It will also make you less likely to crave dessert.
8. Controlled Portions
Use a kitchen scale and measuring cups. Look up the caloric and nutritional values of the recipes you make, and divide it up into portions that will suit whatever diet you’re on.
9. Food Safety
Foodborne illnesses are everywhere. Keep your kitchen and hands immaculately clean so you and your family can stay safe.
10. Food Freedom
If you're cooking at home, you can make it gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free – it’s up to you!
The more you cook, the more practice you get in, and the better your food will be. Some people are born chefs, but with all the free content online at your fingertips, and digital cookbooks available on Amazon, you can start to cook like a pro in no time.
Another main reason for cooking at home is all the benefits you get when you cook and eat together as a family. Let’s look at this in more detail in the next section.
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