When it comes to home cooking, the images that such a term stirs up can often only reach as far as the meals we were served up as children. In fact, the thought of cooking our own meals at home is one that can bring dread to those of us who aren’t huge fans of doing so, but did you know that there are far more benefits to cooking than meets the eye? From being able to cook healthier foods that are a lot more flavourful than you might expect to making the whole process fun and even family-friendly, the benefits are endless, and with meal delivery services available too, getting hold of the ingredients is easier than ever. Here, we’re exploring how cooking more can mean living better, and what to do if you want to sharpen up your skills.
While some of the benefits around home cooking may seem a little obvious, there are others that often don’t immediately come to mind. Having more control over your meal choices and saving money might be two benefits that a lot of people are drawn to, but having better food awareness and actually finding the process relaxing are just two of many more that can have a positive effect on everyday life. Here are just some of the benefits of cooking at home:
Food awareness is something that many people unfortunately lack in today’s society. From students who have no knowledge of how to feed themselves while living away from home, to those in full-time jobs who grab for the quickest option in the fridge or the nearest take out menu. Awareness of nutrition and just what our bodies need isn’t something that many will pay a lot of attention to. By cooking our own food at home, we’re more likely to pay attention to exactly what we’re putting into our mouths and how they react to which foods. A meal delivery service can give you access to not only the healthy foods you need, but to recipe cards and nutritional information that you can learn from too – you’ll get an increased knowledge of nutrition, with none of the hassle of shopping.
As much as we’re all aware that take-out food is often extremely unhealthy, the same can’t be said for restaurant food. In fact, restaurant food could even be unhealthier than fast food! Of course, this differs from restaurant to restaurant, but as a rule, cooking your own meals at home is more likely to be healthy, all without giving up on taste. Through a meal delivery service, the foods we prepare at home are usually fresher, of a higher quality, and have a higher density of the nutrients that we need.
Let’s be honest, as much as we might reach for a ready meal on a regular basis, nothing quite beats the flavour of cooking the same dish from home. The foods we pick up for something ‘quick and simple’ can often be full of additives, hidden sugars, and preservatives, and can even taste bland! Home cooked meals give you the chance to keep an eye on every ingredient that goes in, rather than chancing your health on processed foods. If you do need the ease of a ready meal, there are plenty of meal delivery services such as Home Chef and Freshly that will deliver healthy, freshly made meals straight to you, ready for you to heat up and eat!
Cooking after an eight-or- more-hour grind at work is probably the last thing you want to do, but it can actually be a great way to cheer yourself up! Cooking should be fun – and it can be. Put on music that you enjoy, get everyone involved, and even wear a goofy apron if it helps! Step away from your mobile, switch the TV off and just enjoy getting your hands dirty! After all, you get to enjoy the fruit of your efforts afterwards.
Similar to the above point, cooking can actually be a relaxing experience if you find yourself stressed with the pressures of everyday life. Cooking in itself can be relaxing, but taking the idle time between tasks to relax is ideal, especially if you’re short on time. Break out a book, do some light stretches or simply put on some calm music – whatever works best for you.
With picking and cooking your own meals comes the opportunity to be able to control your weight as you wish. If you feel as though you need to put on weight, you can choose healthy foods that build up body mass, if you want to maintain weight you can stick to a well-balanced diet, and those looking to lose a little can adjust their diets in a healthy way to cater for this.
Cooking your own meals from home gives you the perfect opportunity to save money. Through a meal delivery service, for example, not only do you get a choice of a wide range of foods, but by cooking from home and avoiding takeaways and restaurants, the costs you’ll pay out will be halved, or potentially even more. Creating a weekly meal plan is a great way to budget, and can not only help you eat healthier, but also help prevent food waste.
We understand that, when it comes to your week, you might not have the time to cook extensive meals – and you don’t have to. In fact, home cooked food can be as fast as you need it to be. A meal delivery service, for example, will cut down your cooking time by either providing you with a meal already freshly prepared, or by giving you the pre-prepared ingredients so you don’t need to spend the time chopping, measuring and weighing!
If you have children, cooking can be a great way to spend time with them and teach them all about nutrition at the same time. Children can be notoriously fussy when it comes to eating, but by letting them help with the preparation, they’ll know exactly what’s going into their food and you can cater accordingly. If you opt for a meal plan service, you can even let them pick out the meals they like the look of. If they’re a little older, they could follow the recipe cards themselves, or it could be a great opportunity to teach them how to cook with minimal fuss.
Cooking at home not only provides your body with the nutrients it needs for your physical health, but it can also work wonders for improving your mental health too. Cooking inspires creativity, requires focus and you could even use it as a way to unwind at the end of a long day. Therapists and other mental health professionals are beginning to use cooking and preparation of food to combat depression and anxiety disorders, and understandably so. Cooking not only gives you something to focus on to help you relax, but it can also give you a positive goal to work towards that you can enjoy at the end. A personally rewarding activity, such as cooking, is a great way to improve mood and mental wellbeing.
If you want to start cooking from home but find yourself needing to sharpen your cooking skills in order to do so, there are a few things you can do to get yourself started. To start, there are some key skills that you need to know that can make cooking any meal a breeze. According to Dr. Eisenberg you need to know the following:
- How to fillet a fish
- How to cut a range of vegetables into cubes or strips
- How to cook/prepare whole-grain as well as white (eg. Brown rice, quinoa, farro etc)
- How to pick out healther protein options (e.g fish, chicken, tofu etc) as alternatives to red meat.
- How to adjust or reinvent desserts to be less sugary and include things like nuts, dark chocolate and fruit.
- How to make soups, salads and salad dressings.
Another way to sharpen up your cooking skills is through a meal delivery kit. Some services will provide you with the ingredients for the meals you’ve ordered, and a helpful recipe card to guide you through each step. Practice truly does make perfect, and the convenience that comes with these kits can help you refresh your cooking skills without hours spent at the supermarket or digging through cupboards.
Hopefully this post has given you a clear oversight into the world of home cooking and how it can help you and your family live better. With practice, careful planning and a little preparation, you can cook homemade meals that are healthy, nutritious, and have all the flavour and fun of any restaurant trip.