Home cooking offers many benefits. It gives us control over what we’re consuming, we can try out new combinations and recipes, and it can even be a soothing activity.
It’s often one of the first things that falls by the wayside when our lives get hectic, however. Revenue in the ready meals market has increased since 2017 and is expected to continue rising until 2026. It’s clear that in our busy lives, we often resort to convenience foods.
Here, we’ll cover some of the hidden benefits of cooking at home for those times when you feel like ordering a takeaway or throwing another microwave meal in.
Portion and ingredient control
When you order a takeaway or eat a meal at a restaurant, you don’t have much control over the ingredients used or the size of the portion you get, unless you specify you’re allergic to an ingredient. Home cooking is a great way to eliminate unhealthy ingredients.
Portion sizes vary wildly between restaurants – some are much bigger than we’d make at home, while others are not enough to satisfy us. Everyone’s food intake requirements are different, and the healthiest attitude towards food is to eat a satisfying amount – even if it’s more or less than your friend. Generally, restaurants aren’t a good guide for portion sizes, whereas you’ll know your nutrition requirements when cooking at home.
Making healthier choices
A lot of us have been tempted by an impromptu fast food lunch order when we’re at work. And while there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favourite takeaways occasionally, doing this too often can leave us feeling lethargic and unhealthy.
Preparing your meals for work in advance gives you the freedom to cook whatever you love the most while incorporating energy-boosting fresh ingredients. Meal prepping has exploded in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Whether you batch-prep your meals for work every week or you cook an extra portion of your evening meal for the next day, preparing food for work is great for our health.
You’ll need to make sure your trusty work bag can fit your lunch in – backpacks for women are hugely popular for work now, and they can also fit in plenty of other healthy essentials like a reusable water bottle, plus your work laptop!
It won’t come as a surprise that regular home cooking will keep some more pennies in your purse, especially considering we’re experiencing an increase in the cost of living right now. Dining out at our favourite restaurants is unsurprisingly the most expensive way to eat, but even those visits to the shop for a seemingly cheap meal deal can add up.
Cooking from scratch allows us to cost up our meals and ensure we’re eating within our budget. If you’re finding that you’re priced out of some fresh ingredients, don’t worry – studies have shown that frozen fruit and vegetables are just as healthy. In some cases, frozen produce may even contain higher levels of some nutrients – and come with the added bonus of being easier to prepare!
Mental health benefits
Many of us will already know how relaxing cooking can be. The act of methodically preparing, seasoning, and stirring our food can be therapeutic. Taking the time to cook a meal from scratch tells us that we are worthy of spending time on, which can boost our self-esteem. The act of cooking sometimes requires precision, but it takes us away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and – usually – drags us away from our screens.
Having a regular routine is powerful for people who experience anxiety and feel like their life is out of control. Cooking at home regularly is an important part of a healthy everyday routine, which can help us feel in control of our lives. What’s more, it can be a creative activity, and that’s proven to lift our mood and reduce stress.
While we love dining out and ordering in the occasional fast-food feast, there’s no doubt that home cooking reigns supreme. Not only does it allow us to be aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, but it also allows us to take some time away for ourselves, away from our devices and the busyness of our everyday lives.
This article was written by a freelance writer and contains ad links