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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

The Benefits of Cooking More at Home

{Image Credit: iStockphoto}

{Image Credit: iStockphoto}

Though social networks like Pinterest and Buzzfeed make cooking look super easy and fun, the growing shift in employment and economic stability remains a contributing factor to the dying trend of home-cooked family meals. With visual recipes at our fingertips making cooking look simple in mere seconds, how are we so enthusiastic to watch others cook but are less eager to do it ourselves? For years, it’s been well-documented that Americans have shifted their habits to eating out more and cooking at home less.

Last year, The Washington Post reported less than 60 percent of dinners served in U.S. homes were actually cooked at home. Thirty years ago, the percentage was closer to 75 percent. With more and more Americans leaving their kitchens untouched and opting for inexpensive fast food, it’s imperative to know home-cooked meals are not only the perfect source of sustainable health and budgetary control, but the quintessential way to strengthen relationships.

Of course, it’s no secret that a lot of us enjoy eating out. With the hustle and bustle of work, balancing relationships and family life, it can be hard to set aside time to really dive into your culinary side. But according to a study from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Research, cooking at home can lead to consuming fewer calories and healthier foods. When you make your own meal with fresh, local and organic ingredients, each bite will deliver a slew of health benefits to help you feel and look better. It just takes a bit of time and effort to get there.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Find recipes you like

While your family might have passed along recipes from over the years, the number one way to start cooking is to set aside time for recipes that you really like. Today there are numerous blogs and YouTube videos devoted to amazing and innovative recipes. To start easy, look towards a site like Pinterest for that craving you hope to satiate. From there, you will be able to find blogs that fit your niche of cooking. While you’re at it, look carefully at the recipe and see what you can do to tweak it or make it your own. Remember, Gordon Ramsey isn’t following you around, so you’re more than welcome to try something that best suits your palate.

Grab the kitchen must-haves

Before you start cooking, it’s best to stock up on supplies or better known as “the must-haves.” It’s not possible to plan every single night of your life in advance, but you can create a system that helps you organize your menus more efficiently. Look towards your cupboards, pantries and fridge. What are some items that you know you’re going to need more of? By stocking up on general items along the lines of something like, butter, pasta, tuna, and dry rubs, you have ingredients for a recipe on a whim without having to run out. Do you love using spinach in your meals? Keep a frozen bag on hand. Do you cook more with olive oil or canola? Buy them both. What meat would you ideally cook more with? Between chicken, beef and fish, you can get them all frozen. Stocking up makes sure you have your supplies ready for the day you are craving a dish.

Shop with a list

{Image Credit: iStock}

When you’re cooking, it’s important to heed to the planning process. Before you head out to the grocery store, sit down and plot out what you need for each meal you would like to create. If you’re having a party with a three-course menu, set aside a list for each dish so you’re organized when you begin your grocery hunt. That being said, be realistic when you’re making your list. Is it possible to incorporate some of the same ingredients in another dish? While shopping, think of ways to save money. You can get a lot out of one item if you think wisely.

{For more tips on how to get started, check out, “Starting from Scratch: Getting Back Into The Swing of Cooking and Baking“}

THE BENEFITS:

Healthier relationships with family and friends

While cooking at home helps manage your portion sizes and is cost effective, it’s also one that can help strengthen relationships. Whether it’s with your partner, roommate or kids, cooking together brings about a very human element to the task. History has shown that we break bread with the people that matter the most to us, so why not share the cooking duties? As the ultimate icebreaker, cooking and eating meals together bridges the gap of communication. Plus, it’s incredibly fun too.

Clinical professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Anne Fishel told The Washington Post that kids who eat with their families do better in every way. Between grades to healthy eating habits, to not engaging in high-risk activities, eating together provides a positive outlook on life. That brings about the subject of cooking together too. Think of the sociability that comes along with cooking. If you live alone or don’t have a big social circle, try inviting others to come prepare dinner with you and then dine in your home. Though there has not been any correlation in studies between cooking and eating at home, plenty of research suggests that you stay healthier and are better connected with others when you do.

Packing the nutrients

{Image Credit: Masterfile}

The single best thing about a home-cooked meal is that it is a true nutrient powerhouse. That’s not to say that restaurants and fast food chains you consume on a frequent basis will hinder your nutritional habits, but a lot of them are not focused on your health as they are watching out for a constant, inexpensive profit. Packed with additives and preservatives, it’s no secret that restaurants and fast food chains also use higher levels of salt and fat to make their products, which usually have a long shelf life, taste better to the consumer. Did we also mention cleanliness and food safety? According to the CDC, one in six Americans every year suffers from food poisoning due to eating out.

Yikes, right? In what might induce a ton of screams and anxiety, you can be rest assured that cooking at home provides a comfortable peace of mind as you have the freshest ingredients and know how to properly store and cook your food at the proper temperatures. When you cook on your own, you’re controlling what goes inside your food. Even with low-calories now available at many restaurants and fast food joints, there is still a chance of high sugars lurking in every meal, or unwanted fat that will have you hungry later. Without risking food poisoning, food-borne illnesses, allergies, or contamination, you are the boss of your meals and are in charge of your own health by watching what could potentially turn into weight gain or clogged arteries.

Weight control and more energy

In addition to the nutrients every meal you cook on you own boasts, you’re making sure to set a good example to your family and friends by engaging in home-cooked meals. Not only are you creating a better balance between fats, carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals needed for an adult or child’s body, but you’re jump-starting yourself to a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, when you cook at home and know what’s going in every meal, your body feels far more satisfied and lets you crave those filler foods less, which reduces that need for late-night snacking. We all know that eating out means huge portions and most times, they’re bigger than our fist. This contributes to overeating and of course, the role of obesity in America. But preparing your meals gives you the chance to exercise portion control, while letting you savor the food instead of its size. The choices you make when it comes to cooking at home and consuming keeps you healthy and helps prevent weight gain, digestive troubles and allergic reactions.

Do you like cooking at home or prefer eating out? What are some tips you have for cooking at home? Share with us in the comments below.

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4 Comments on “The Benefits of Cooking More at Home”

  1. Susan August 20, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    Great tips! I totally agree that most people need to learn these tips and eat at home as much as possible!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Benefits of Cooking More at Home | westlifebunny - June 16, 2016

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    […] one meal at a time. That said, it also means, eating minimally processed and packaged foods, and cooking more at home with good […]

  3. 3 Ways to Eat Clean for Optimal Health | westlifebunny - July 26, 2016

    […] one meal at a time. That said, it also means, eating minimally processed and packaged foods, and cooking more at home with good […]

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