Feeling the itch to spend more time in your kitchen, and less at restaurants? As it turns out, there’s good reason to! From better health to healthier relationships, cooking at home offers many advantages.
Homecooked meals are more than just delicious – they can also improve your quality of life, reduce your exposure to toxins, and save you money. It might seem like a tall order from a simple meal, but the benefits are real (and they’re worth the work).
7 Key Benefits of Cooking At Home
1. Cooking At Home Gives You a Nutritional Advantage
Cooking at home means that you have complete control over the ingredients you use. This means you can choose to use high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients that are beneficial for your health. You can also customize your meals to meet your specific dietary needs, and you’ll always know that there won’t be an accidental ingredient added that may cause an issue.
Homecooked meals tend to be lower in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium compared to restaurant or processed foods. By using fresh, whole ingredients and minimizing the use of additives and preservatives, you can create nutritious and balanced meals that support your overall health.
2. Not Eating Out Means More Money Saved
If you’ve been feeling the effects of inflation, you’re not alone. Luckily, one of the best ways to save money on a daily basis is eating at home. Recent data shows that the cost of eating out has increased more than 7% in 2023 alone.
While grocery prices are higher, too, their rate of inflation is nearly half that of restaurants. Opting to cook at home for even a few extra meals a week can make your wallet happier! And, it’ll be easier to purchase high-quality ingredients for less.
3. Home Cooking Can Reduce Your Intake of Processed Foods
Meals not cooked at home often consist of processed foods- which contain high amounts of unhealthy fats, added sugars, and sodium. These ingredients, when consumed in excess, can contribute to various health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It’s now estimated that processed foods are responsible for more premature deaths than cigarette smoking.
When you cook at home, it’s much easier to limit or entirely cut out the number of processed foods on your plate. You’re in control of the amount of sodium you add to each dish, and it’s easy to swap out unhealthy oils for options such as olive oil, which contain healthy fats.
4. Cooking Is Self-Care, And It Can Help You Relax
The physical benefits of eating home-cooked, healthy meals are well known. But what about mental and emotional advantages? Beyond the body, cooking can be a therapeutic and enjoyable activity that helps you unwind and relax.
In a busy and fast-paced world, taking the time to prepare a meal can provide a much-needed break from the stress and demands of daily life. And these benefits are now being studied. Research done during the COVID-19 Pandemic pointed to cooking as a cause of happiness and increased creativity during a particularly stressful time for many. The process of chopping, stirring, and creating something delicious can be a form of self-care and an opportunity to nurture yourself and your loved ones.
5. You’re Less Likely to Ingest PFAS
You know those pesky, downright scary, chemicals we’ve been hearing more and more about? As it turns out, PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, are found in much higher numbers in fast food and food that is made in restaurants. As a result, a recent study found that people who spend more time eating at home tend to have lower levels of PFAS in their blood.
PFAS are widely found across the planet and have been linked to kidney and liver disease, immune disfunction, and high cholesterol (among other effects). So, if simply dining in rather than out can reduce your chances of exposure, we think that’s a pretty good reason to pick up your spatula.
PFAS are the forever chemicals hiding in your home. Click here to learn more about PFAS.
6. Eating Together Fosters Connection and Healthy Relationships
Of course, the ritual of cooking doesn’t end when the dish is done. When we cook at home, we’re more likely to eat with someone. In our non-stop world, where fast food is everywhere and eating lunch while working is the norm, sharing a meal is a big deal.
Not only does it simply feel good to share time with others, bonding over the same meal fosters real connection. Whether with co-workers, family, or friends, the act of sharing food can deepen bonds and even improve health.
7. Dining At Home Encourages Mindful Eating
Finally, cooking at home promotes mindful eating. When you invest time and effort into preparing a meal, you naturally become more aware of what you're eating. And, how much you're consuming. This mindfulness can help you make better food choices from the start, prevent overeating, and limit mindless snacking throughout the day.
Make The Most of Home Cooking: Three Tips
New to home cooked meals, or want to up the benefits of your daily routine? Check out these three suggestions and get cooking!
- Keep It Simple: Cooking at home doesn’t have to be elaborate or take all day, and you don't need chef-like cooking skills. Sticking to stress-free, straightforward recipes can keep your cook time enjoyable. So start out with one-pot recipes that are packed with flavor and nutrition.
- Be Creative: Don't be afraid to experiment with flavors, spices, and ingredients. Cooking at home allows you to explore different cuisines and create dishes that reflect your personal taste and preferences. And don’t be afraid to add your own additions to a dish- just make sure to give it a taste test first!
- Invest In Quality, Safe Cookware: You have the ultimate control over what you put into your meals, and that includes the cookware you use. Unfortunately, not all cookware is made equal, and some is crafted from dangerous materials. No one wants hidden chemicals as a secret ingredient in their meals, so take the time to find safe pots, pans, and utensils. Carbon steel, cast iron, and ceramic are all safe, quality choices. And utensils made from organic bamboo and finished without glues and lacquers will make sure each stir is non-toxic. And quality cookware will last you for years so it’s also a good, and safe investment for years to come.