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Eating out can be a fun treat—chef’s creations, the ambience, and the mere enjoyment of going out and getting dressed up. Yet, dining out too often can be hard on your wallet (those meals are pricy!) and health, as you’re taking in excess calories, fat, sugars and sodium than you’d get with a meal you prepared at home. Not to mention a deadly pandemic raging…depending on where you live, you may not even be able to eat out. Which is probably best for your long-term health.
Of course chefs know what they are doing (that’s why restaurant food is so tasty!), and while it’s nice to splurge on occasion and indulge. The day-to-day meals in your week should really be healthier and under your own control, so you can have a say in what you’re eating, how it’s prepared and how well it can fit into your diet plan or lifestyle.
Here are a few benefits to cooking at home—get more comfy in that kitchen or learn some new skills! It’ll be worth it.
You’ll Save Money
Think of your wallet—by going to the grocery store and buying your own ingredients to cook at home, you can cut down on spending. In fact, according to surveys during the pandemic, the average American family has saved almost $250 a month by not dining out. That’s almost the cost of groceries for a family of four per month. That’s $3000 a year!
It’s always cheaper to eat at home than to eat out. You can even extend those savings if you undertake a weekly meal prep ritual. You can use all the bits and pieces of your ingredients and repurpose meals to use as leftovers in other delicious ways throughout the week. If time is of concern, you can pre-plan your meals on Sunday and cut veggies and prepare serving sizes before the work week starts.
It’s Great for Meal Prepping
Meal prepping lets you save big and allows you to make the most of what you’re buying at the store. And it simplifies your week for meals and snacks—no feeling at a loss of what to eat or reaching for unhealthy foods out of convenience! By cooking at home you can make bulk batch recipes, like soups, egg cups and overnight oats or yogurt bowls, that you can keep on hand for meals to grab when you need them.
This will make it easier to stay on track with your weight loss or fitness journey since it takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to eat for greatest recovery and energy. Or, if you’re just stressed for time, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the workday Monday when your food is ready and waiting for you.
You Can Make Healthier Meals
Restaurant and fast-food meals have added sugars, salt, fats and other ingredients that can make the calorie count skyrocket and can make you feel more bloated and lethargic afterwards. Plus, eating out regular can lead to weight gain due to the higher calorie counts. And let’s not forget serving size, as restaurants love to overfeed us.
By cooking in your home kitchen you can decide how much salt to use, how to portion your own meals to keep your wellness in check (outside food is often 2-3 times a standard serving!), and which healthy cooking techniques to use. For example, go with grilling or sautéing over frying.
It Can be Fun!
Some people find cooking to be relaxing and a hobby, so familiarize yourself with cooking at home not just for better health but also as a way to unwind and make something delicious you can be proud of. At the very least, it’s a valuable skill to have and a great way to impress your friends and family when we can all gather together safely again!
It can be really rewarding to learn new recipes or try something you’ve wanted to make but haven’t had the time to do so. As long as you are patient and give yourself time to master some skills, you can really enjoying cooking at home. I like to turn on some music and make it into some personal me time to set the mood!