Social eating has become a staple trend in society. We go out to eat at both fast food and lavish restaurants, order take away (out), snack on popcorn at movie theaters and gnaw on wings and fries at sports canteen/bars during the game. Eating has become a tributary to socializing, a sidekick of sorts! And yet it is commonly held that people who cook at home tend to consume fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who cook less, don’t cook at all.
In short, everyone appreciates the comfort of home-cooked meals, but cooking at home also means healthier eating. When you explore meals to cook at home and take the time to prepare food for yourself and your family, you enjoy healthful and nutritious food. You also contribute to the health of your family, your community, and your finances.
Here are 12 amazing health benefits of home-cooked meals:
- You Can Control Portions
Restaurants — especially fast-food restaurants — often try to offer the appearance of value by offering large portions. In addition, buffet-style restaurants present many options that urge people to overeat. At home, however, it may be easier to control the amount of food you consume. There is no pressure to eat everything on your plate because you have paid for it. You can always put it away for later. This can make it easier to eat healthy amounts of food.
- You Control Value and Cost
Eating at restaurants not only affects your physical health but it also takes a sizable bite out of your wallet. When you buy your own food and prepare meals at home, you set your food budget and control your food expenses more fully. You can locate the best price on ingredients, shop seasonally and locally, or go to the local farmers’ market to save more.
- You Can Choose the Quality
When you order at a restaurant, you receive the quality the chef prepares. When you cook at home, however, you enjoy the quality you feel you and your family deserve. If you want to buy organic products or reduce the number of preservatives you eat, it is easier to do so because you choose the ingredients.
- You Can Maintain Nutrition
At home, you can decide how your food will be prepared to preserve maximum nutrition. For example, you can avoid overcooking your food so it retains more of its nutritional content. You can choose to steam or grill rather than fry foods, helping you reduce fat and preserve more of the nutritional value of the food you eat.
- You Decide How to Prepare Your Food
You can also choose to cook your food in healthy cookware when you cook at home. For example, choosing high temperature ‘Xtrema’ ceramic cookware products (100% ceramic—from the glaze to the core—to keep your meals healthy and flavorful) ensure your food doesn’t come into contact with chipped paint, Teflon, and other substances that can harm your health.
With some traditional cookware, paint and metals can wear down over time and can chip into your food. In addition, chemicals and trace metals can leach into your food as it cooks. This is not an issue with ‘Xtrema’ ceramic cookware products. For these products are 100% natural ceramic material — from the glaze to the core, non-reactive and durable—to keep your meals healthy and flavorful. ‘Xtrema’ ceramic cookware and bakeware contain no heavy toxic metals, no cadmium, no lead, and no PFOA or PTFE elements.
- You Can Control Hygiene and Food Safety
According to medical science, there are more than 250 different food-borne illnesses, and about one in six Indians will fall prey to them in any given year. While restaurants and other dining establishments must pass health food inspections, people fall ill at restaurants all the time. In fact, there have been many high profile cases of food poisoning at restaurants and fast-food chains over the years. Sometimes mistakes happen in the kitchen.
When you cook at home, you can better control cleanliness, food safety, and hygiene. You can use paper towels, for example, to prevent cross-contamination and to reduce the risk of salmonella. In addition, you can check your food with a food thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked to a safe temperature. You can also ensure you wash your hands carefully before preparing and serving meals, so you and your family can stay safe. Heating foods to high temperatures can also help you reduce your risk of food poisoning.
- You Learn More About Food
When you cook at home, you learn more about nutrition and food. Reading recipes, cookbooks, and magazines about food or meal preparation give you insights into how food is prepared, what nutrients it contains, and more.
Visiting a local farmers’ market and talking to the producers of your food can help you appreciate the different flavors, health benefits, and varieties of food available to you. As you learn more about food, you may find yourself naturally making healthier decisions about what to eat. For example, when you learn about the wide world of fresh vegetables and fruits, you may become more attracted to fruits and vegetables thanks to junk food.
- Your Entire Family Can Be Involved in Food and Nutrition Choices
If you have children, you’re teaching them eating habits — even if you don’t realize it. Your children will imitate you’re eating habits and possibly form lifelong habits related to their own nutrition and health. When you eat together as a family, you can control what your children eat more fully. You can also start conversations about food and nutrition choices, so they learn how to make better decisions for themselves.
- You Can Control Allergens More Carefully
If someone in your family has a peanut allergy or other serious allergy, you need to be very careful about food preparation. When you cook in your own kitchen, you can exert a lot of control over the ingredients and the preparation of your food. You can ban a particular ingredient from your home if you choose, ensuring there’s no risk of an allergic reaction. Many food allergies are life-threatening, so maintaining a tight level of control can help you avoid a trip to the emergency room.
- You Can Improve Your Family’s Mental Health
Studies have found that children who grow up in homes where meals are eaten with family are less likely to take drugs, drink, or smoke. They also tend to perform better in school. Studies also suggest that children who eat meals at home may suffer less from psychological challenges.
Eating meals together is about much more than nutrition. It allows you to build a relationship, work on communication, and ensure your family stays together as a unit. This can help with mental health and can make everyone feels a little less lonely.
Cooking at home is healthy for the body, as well as the mind!
- Cooking at Home Is Healthier for the Planet
Restaurants use utilities and may order foods from far away, resulting in emissions. Most dining establishments waste food because they need to keep a stock of all ingredients for the menu and will need to dispose of any unused food if demand does not meet expectations.
At home, you can minimize waste and spoilage by shopping carefully and only buying what you will eat. You can also shop locally to reduce the impact of your grocery bill on carbon emissions around the world. Promoting better health for the planet, of course, can keep you healthier by keeping pollutants out of the air.
Shopping locally and eating at home can be good for your community. You support local farmers and local food producers, as well as local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Eating at home can be good for your community’s health!
- You Enjoy Healthier Food
One of the biggest ways of eating at home can help promote your health, of course, is because you can choose healthier options than what you might see in a restaurant. You can also control exactly how much salt, fat, sugar, pungency and additives you add to your food.
Salt Content Guidelines
When you prepare meals at home, you can choose healthier preparation options and smaller amounts of salt and bad fats. You can add flavor with spices, juices, broths, and other low sodium options instead.
It may be easier to make healthy choices at home, too. When you go out to eat, you may encounter many tempting and high-calorie meal options. They may be hard to resist. When you cook at home, however, you have the option of banning highly processed or high-fat foods from your home. When you start to prepare meals, you have healthy options to choose from and less temptation, which can make it possible to make better choices.