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Why Are Home-Cooked Meals Better Than Fast Food and Takeout?

Jul 21, 2021

In America, people tend to eat outside or order in as it feels so much easier and faster than cooking at home. But, processed and convenience food can take a serious toll on your health and mood.

Even though you may cook for yourself or your family occasionally, the chances are you order in or dine out at least several times a week. In the process, you miss out on an activity that can make your family happier, healthier, and more connected.

Here’s why you should consider eating home-cooked meals regularly, and how to build a home cooking habit.

Why Eating Home-Cooked Meals?

There are so many reasons why you should eat home-cooked meals, it’s surprising that we are not all cooking at home at least several times a week. Here are a few reasons or benefits of cooking at home:

  • It’s Healthier

Cooking at home regularly results in an overall healthier diet. You get to use fresh ingredients and have control over what’s in your food. And, you’ve probably heard the saying “you are what you eat”, so cooking your own meals gives you a chance to pick healthy and tasty ingredients that will provide you with essential nutrients and energy.

Eating home-cooked meals at least 5 times a week leads to higher energy levels, better mood, and better mental health.

  • It Can Save You Time

Believe it or not, cooking your own meal can take you less time than making an order and waiting for it to arrive or driving to get it. Not all home-cooked meals take hours of preparation and cooking.

There are numerous quick recipes that allow you to make a delicious and healthy meal in up to 30 minutes. Just search “quick and easy recipes” online and pick your favorite.

  • It Allows You to Watch Your Calories

Did you know that a typical fast-food order has around 1,200 calories total? To better understand how much that is, just compare it to the recommended daily calorie intake for women, 1,600-2,400 calories, and for men, 2,000-3000 calories. Foods from restaurants tend to have even more calories.

The portion sizes and calorie counts of your home-cooked meals, on the other hand, can be adjusted to your needs and desires. Most online recipes come with serving size suggestions and nutritional information, so watching your calories will be even easier.

  • It Helps You to Reconnect

home cooking habit

When you cook at home, you can do it together with your partner or family which gives you a chance to reconnect with them. Even if only one person cooks, you can all sit down and eat together as this activity strengthens relationships.

In fact, researchers have found that eating home-cooked meals as a family on a regular basis results in happier and healthier kids and a lower risk of smoking and drinking among teenagers.

  • It’s Personalized

Making your own meals allows you to enjoy your favorite foods just the way you like. For example, you can make them more or less spicy, your meat more well-done, and combine them with side dishes of your choice.

  • It Can Save You Money

Cooking your meals at home can save you plenty of money. Not only do ingredients are cheaper than restaurant dishes, but they can also yield more meals. This means that with several basic ingredients, you can end up making more meals for the same amount of money you would give for a takeout. What’s more, you can use any leftovers for the next day.

Imagine how much money you would save if you bring home-cooked meals or leftovers to work instead of buying fast food every day? You can also pack it in your kid’s bento box and help your kids eat healthily at school. After some time, you will realize that cooking at home is a real money saver.

How to Develop the Habit of Cooking Your Own Meals

There are many reasons to avoid cooking, just as there are to start making your meals at home. The most common one is not having enough time. But, is it true? How much time do you spend watching TV or scrolling through your social media feeds?

The benefits of cooking your own meals are too good to give up, so here are a few tips to cook more at home:

  • Make your kitchen a space you feel good in so that you can spend more time in it. This may include buying some basic or helpful cooking equipment and keeping your kitchen clean.
  • Stock your pantry with basic ingredients and items you usually use to avoid going to the store whenever you need a single ingredient.
  • Make a shopping list and plan meals for the upcoming week to make home cooking easier even if you expect a busy week.
  • To avoid cooking every day, cook large batches of meals that can be reheated throughout the week. Or, make foods that can be reused in various ways.
  • Start small and give yourself time to get used to cooking at home.
  • Cook foods you enjoy.
  • Invite your kids, partner, or friends in your kitchen to make cooking more fun. In this way, you’ll make the process easier and quicker.

Delicious Home-Cooked Meal Ideas

home made meal

  • Grandma’s Lasagna - to make this mouthwatering delicacy, you need several basic ingredients and a store-bought pasta sauce. It may take you longer to make, but it’ll be worth it.
  • Mac and Cheese- home-cooked mac and cheese is incredibly creamy and cheesy.
  • Tomato basil soup – combine it with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner or lunch.
  • Baked potatoes filled with sour cream, mashed potatoes, cheese, and a topping of your choice.
  • Spaghetti and tomato sauce – incredibly simple, yet super tasty, especially when you make it with homemade tomato sauce.
  • Baked salmon with potatoes – it takes only 15 minutes to bake salmon and enjoy a healthy meal.
  • Lemon chicken – baked chicken breast with a lemon chicken sauce.

Conclusion

Home-cooked meals are so much tastier and healthier than fast food or takeout. But, that’s not the only reason why you should start considering cooking your meals more often.

It’s time to stop considering cooking as a waste of time and realize it’s the best thing you can do for your health and budget.

Article Posted In: Home Cooked Food

Tags: home-made food, home-cooked meals ideas, home made meals ideas, home-cooked meals

Milena Lazova

Milena is an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in writing articles on her favorite topics - food and health. In her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, reading, listening to music, and walking in nature.

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