Eating home cooked meals can improve your health, save money, help you connect with family and more.
Listed below are 10 health benefits of spending more time in the kitchen.
1. Increase Awareness
The process of buying and preparing food increases your awareness of what you’re putting in your body, which helps you pay better attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. The process of making a meal engages your senses and encourages you to view food more as nourishment and not just as a source of fuel. When you connect with your food, it’s easier to connect with your body and improve your health.
Foods prepared at home tend to be much healthier than what’s on most restaurant menus. Not only do you know exactly what’s in homemade meals, but they’re usually made with higher quality, more nutrient-dense ingredients such as grass-fed beef, organic kale and pastured butter. Making homemade meals promotes healthier habits for your family and friends. When others see you having fun in the kitchen and taste your delicious dishes, they’ll be inspired to help out and start cooking. Children, especially picky eaters, greatly benefit from being involved as it helps them appreciate the process of preparing a meal. They’re usually quite proud of their creations too.
Homemade meals taste better than anything from a can, box, or bag. Many restaurants use frozen, canned or processed foods. As a result, many foods on the menu contain unhealthy additives and hidden sugars. With homemade meals, you can identify your ingredients and feel good about each and every bite.
Cooking should be fun. Make time spent in the kitchen more enjoyable by playing calming music, lighting candles, wearing a goofy apron and getting everyone involved. Kids that have a part in the cooking process are more likely to eat healthy foods. Encourage the kids to come up with names for each dish, such as Luke’s lucky lettuce wraps. Lastly, take a technology time-out by turning off the TV and other electronics.
The task of cooking itself can be quite relaxing, but you can also use any idle time in the kitchen to do some stretches, such as a forward fold or practice a breathing exercise, such as alternate nostril breathing. By the time your meal is ready, your body will be in “rest-and-digest” mode, which increases nutrient absorption and promotes healthy digestion.
6. Lose Weight
People who eat most of their meals at home are typically healthier and better able to maintain a healthy weight compared to people who dine out frequently. Studies also show that home-cooked meals may help you live longer. When you’re more connected to your food and able to use more nutrient-dense ingredients, you’ll naturally improve your health and lose weight.
With a little planning and preparation, homemade meals can be just as quick and convenient as dining out. Stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry at the beginning of the week and you’ll always have ingredients available to craft something up in just as much time as it would take to order a pizza.
8. Save Money
Shopping for your own food and making your own meals does require some planning. Creating a weekly menu and grocery list can make it much easier to eat healthy, prevent food waste and even save money that would have been spent dining out.
9. Build Confidence
Once you learn some basic cooking skills, many recipes will open up to you and seem so simple. Quick preparation plus satisfying results equal a massive boost in confidence.
Making your own meals can be an immensely satisfying process that helps bring you into the present moment. Cooking is a great opportunity to connect with your food and your family. The best part is, you have a delicious meal on the table as a result.