Maybe you’ve made a New Years resolution to start eating better, or maybe you’ve just decided it’s time you learnt to cook.
Maybe you’re still contemplating whether it’s worth the time and effort to cook your own meals. If you’re in that camp then today’s post is here to convince you that cooking your own meals is the best thing you can do for yourself this year.
15 reasons why you should be cooking
your own meals in 2016
1. Fresh is best. Any food that doesn’t contain preservatives or artificial additives is going to be better for you. While fresh fruit and vegetables are best fresh you can also use canned and frozen foods like tinned vegetables and beans or frozen vegetables and meat that still count towards fresh foods (because they have been canned or frozen at their best).
2. You’ll know exactly what’s in your food. These days it’s hard to know exactly what’s in our foods because of new manufacturing procedures and so many additives. Even restaurant food can be full of additives and preservatives so cooking your own food at home is the best way to be sure of what you’re eating.
3. You learn a new skill. Cooking is a valuable skill to have. Not only does it mean you can get dinner on the table by 7, it also gives you skills in cleaning, organisation, time management and food knowledge. It’s also a skill that will last with you for life.
4. You can look after your own and your family’s health. By cooking meals for your family you’re teaching yourself and your family members (especially the kids) about what healthy eating looks like. And you’re teaching them that real food stops them from getting sick and keeps them active every day.
5. You’ll learn about flavour combinations. Because you’re in the kitchen experimenting with flavours you’ll soon learn about which flavour goes with what. And when you start reading cookbooks you’ll see the same flavour pairings over and over again. Which means your meals will get tastier and you won’t want to go back to bland processed foods.
6. You’ll appreciate the flavour of real food (so hopefully you won’t overeat on the bad things). Have you ever had a strawberry fresh from the farm? There is nothing like the delicate sweetness of a fresh strawberry but somehow that sweetness is lacking in strawberries from the supermarket. You have to try farm fresh food it at least once so you can see the difference. Real food, fresh food, unprocessed food, tastes a lot better than packaged foods and they’re a lot harder to over indulge in because you can’t just mindlessly thrown back a handful.
7. It’ll save you money. If you purchase your food out for every meal you are spending big bucks. But by cooking at home you’ll be able to save a ton of money and actually be able to make more meals. For instance a packet of frozen fresh white fish can cost you between $6-$15 and you’ll have enough fish for 3 dinners (with 2 people eating). Most restaurant fish meals are easily $25+.
8. You’ll enjoy your food more. Plenty of us already love our food but for some of us food is just fuel – and there’s nothing wrong with that. However to truly appreciate a meal is more mindful and better for you. Enjoying food becomes much easier when you know you made the effort to make the meal from fresh ingredients. Meals just taste better at home anyway.
9. You won’t waste so much food. Ever opened a packet of something, taken a few bites then stored it away in the back of the fridge only to find it mouldy a few weeks later? That’s probably because you bought a packet that had many servings which you didn’t get around to eating. When you cook for yourself you’re not locked into a certain portion size – you can make more or less depending on your needs (like if you want to freeze meals ahead or if you’re just cooking for one).
10. You can make it suit your own tastes and preferences. If you hate peas, bacon, cheese or vegemite then when you cook for yourself you don’t have to include them in your recipe. Or if you need to cook gluten, dairy, carb, sugar or fat free then you can do that too. You can double the ginger, cut back the coriander, skip the turmeric or add in extra basil too. Or make a meat meal vegetarian, or vice versa, you can do that too. Cooking for yourself gives you plenty of freedom to make the meals you like without having to compromise on ingredients you loathe.
11. You don’t have to overbuy (just cook what you need). When you cook for yourself or your family you don’t need to worry about overbuying food because you should be buying what you need. You can buy a single tomato or a bag of them, a family packet of pasta or a small box, a bag of rice or 10kg. Whatever you need you buy and you don’t need to buy any more than that. You won’t be buying oversize takeaways either.
12. Socialising at home is better than socialising at a restaurant. It’s nice to go out to a restaurant here and there, but when you throw a dinner party and all your hard work goes into making a meal for your family and friends – now that’s socialising.
13. It could become your next career. You won’t know now how much you’ll love cooking. It might just turn out that you love cooking so much that you make it your next career. Look at me, cooking gave me the skills to turn my life around and it’s helped me to pursue my goals of writing for a living. Maybe that’ll be you next. Or maybe I’ll see you on the next season of Masterchef.
14. Food is medicine. Ancient societies knew exactly which foods could be used to heal people, but in today’s modern world of convenience we’ve forgotten this essential knowledge? Did you know that turmeric helps fight inflammation, that ginger and lemon can help relieve a cold and that chilli speeds up your metabolism? I didn’t until I started cooking and learning about the foods I began incorporating into my meals.
15. It’s not a waste of time. Cooking is not a waste of your time because it is the best way to nourish yourself for peak performance. No matter who you are or what you do you need nourishing food to keep you at the top of your game.
By learning to cook you really are investing in your future. And you’ll be healthier because of it.
So what are you waiting for? Get started now!