Your wellness challenge this week is to cook at home four or more days this week. Here are just some of the benefits of cooking at home:
Nutritious – Restaurants, both fast food and otherwise, are known to be notoriously high in calories, sugars, fats, sodium and carbohydrates. Even the healthier, low-cal options can contain a high level of sugars and fats. Eating at home allows you to cut out what you may deem unnecessary in your diet. You’re in control of the food you cook and the food you consume.
Increase knowledge of food – Food is much more than just something that tastes good and fills up your stomach. Cooking your own meals can teach you what foods are high or low in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It will even boost your creativity as you learn to combine nutritious foods to satisfy your palate!
Savor your food – The physical act of preparing your own meals will lead to a newfound appreciate for the food you consume. This is very important since mindless munching and emotional eating can contribute to unhealthy weight gain because you’re not fully conscious of the foods you’re eating. Being more aware of what you consume when you prepare it will make you less likely to overeat.
Appropriate portions– Restaurants are notorious for their extreme portion sizes. Preparing meals at home gives you the ability to exercise portion control and help curb the temptation of overeating.
Builds healthy habits– Cooking at home can jump-start your healthy lifestyle! By discovering healthy recipes, learning about food, creating and sticking to a meal plan, you and your family can be inspired to living a healthier life.
Encourages family bonding – Family dynamics can greatly improve with more at home, family meal times. Children benefit from the ritual of preparing and eating meals together. This is also a great teaching tool for parents to instill healthy eating habits in their children. In fact, several studies conducted by the University of Michigan found eating family meals at the dinner table is associated with fewer psychological issues and higher academic success in children and promoted sociability in the family.
Food safety – According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning) affects 1 in 6 Americans every year. Cooking at home will give you the peace of mind you need in knowing you have the freshest ingredients (or at least since your last trip to the grocer’s!), and you can rest assured knowing your food has been stored and cooked at the correct temperatures.
Awareness of food allergies & sensitivities – While we’ve mentioned that you control the nutritional intake of your meals, cooking for yourself and your family also gives the control to avoid food allergens.
Cleanliness – Cooking at home can give you the clean conscience of not only knowing what’s in your food, but how clean your food is. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your kitchen and dinnerware are sterile and your ingredients are prepared thoroughly before eating.
Saves money – Eating dinner out is expensive! It is a lot more cost-effective to purchase groceries than ordering take out or going to restaurants.