It’s easy to sacrifice healthy meals when our schedules get busy. It can be tempting to default to an easy takeout dinner instead of a home-cooked meal. But the extensive benefits of cooking at home may surprise you. Even though dining in or carrying out your food can save you some time in the kitchen, you’ll lose out on nutrition and often gain extra calories when you order food instead of cooking for yourself. Even healthy meals made in restaurants are often associated with more fat or sugar. Our current food culture puts hundreds of restaurants right at our fingertips, from the comfort of our living room sofas. But what are the costs of ordering in? Aside from health concerns, cooking for yourself also saves you money and enhances your quality of life. In this article we’ll explore the many benefits of cooking at home, and how you can save money, time, and energy by cooking your own delicious meals.
5 benefits of cooking for yourself
1. Save money
Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash
Eating out is expensive. Even the cheapest meals have a huge markup when you consider the cost of the ingredients used in the meal you’re eating. Even with the convenience of takeout meal apps, each item includes delivery costs and fees that go directly to the company you’re ordering through. Once you’ve added a tip and the taxes are added, costs add up well over the price you first saw on the menu. The next time you’re ordering takeout, take a moment to consider how much it would cost you to make the same meal yourself. Cooking for yourself is a great way to save money. If you’re smart with your meal plans, you can cook one or two nights of the week and have delicious leftovers that last you throughout the week–with a minimal investment of time and money.
2. Know what’s in your food
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash
The best way to know what’s in your food is to make it yourself. Even a healthy restaurant choice often comes loaded with more saturated fats and sugars than food you make at home.
If you have any nutritional deficiencies, you can modify recipes to boost vitamins in your diet, lower your sodium intake, or ensure that you’re getting enough iron or potassium. Cooking at home gives you control over what you’re consuming and means you’ll always know what you’re eating. If you’re low in B vitamins, add some nutritional yeast to your pasta. When you need potassium, just throw a banana into the pancake mix! The more comfortable you can get, the more creative you can be with cooking modifications.
3. Enhance your health
Photo by Louise Burton on Unsplash
We all have an abstract sense that cooking from home is better for you. But you might be impressed by just how much a home-cooked meal can affect your nutrition and your lifestyle overall. Cooking at home can enhance your emotional, mental, and physical well being. It can also reduce your risks when it comes to cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Let’s explore some of the health benefits of cooking at home.
Consume fewer calories
Studies have shown that people who cook their own food at home consume fewer calories. Restaurant meals often have extra fat, sodium and other ingredients that enhance flavour and make food more addictive with a cost to your health. When you choose what goes into your meals, you can make choices that enhance the value of what you’re eating; so that every calorie you’re consuming also has nutritional value. You can also add more of the flavour you want without adding in giant calorie add-ons.
Make better choices
Research on home cooking also demonstrates that people who cook for themselves also tend to make healthier choices and consume fewer calories when they are eating out at restaurants. Cooking at home not only ups nutritional value and helps give your metabolism a boost, but it also changes your lifestyle and habits in positive ways. Why is this? Cooking for yourself and choosing your own ingredients brings an awareness to your food choices that lasts beyond just one meal. By cooking at home you’re not only changing your meal plan, but you’re shifting your whole perspective.
4. Find joy in cooking
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash
If you’re intimidated by cooking, you’re not alone. At Boomerang we offer interactive cooking classes and forums where you can connect with other first-time chefs to find recipes and starting points to get comfortable in the kitchen. Once you set the fear aside, learning to cook can be incredibly fun and rewarding. The process of making a recipe from start to finish can be creative, satisfying, and offers a way to connect to others with the meals you make.
Eating at home means you’re saving money, so you can spend a few extra dollars to indulge in some special ingredients to cook with and still cut costs. Try a fancy truffle-infused olive oil or splurge for the French cheese at the little shop on the corner to add incredible flavour to your homemade pastas. Cooking at home is meant to be fun, so enjoy the liberty of creating a meal you can truly enjoy.
You might be prone to order takeout because your schedule is full or your life feels stressful. But cooking can positively affect your overall quality of life by improving your confidence and giving you a satisfying, task-oriented way to treat yourself or others. By introducing home cooking into your regular habits, you’ll also be introducing a tool to help balance your stress. Once you’re comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll really be able to enjoy the meditative quality of home cooking. Put on some music you love, light a candle, and enjoy the process of making something nice for yourself.
5. Connect with others
Photo by Kampus Productions on Pexels
Cooking and baking can be great ways to connect with others. Does your partner do all the cooking? Consider surprising them with a homemade meal. You’ll also show the kids that cooking duties can be shared, and with practice you can begin to enjoy making new recipes. Here are some other ideas to help you enjoy the benefits of connection and cooking.
- Make a traditional family recipe. One benefit to home cooking is that it’s easy to personalize. Celebrate family traditions by learning to cook a meal you ate growing up. This is a great conversation starter for grandchildren or kids. When did you first try this recipe? What memories does cooking this meal bring up for you? Take time to share this as you serve the meal.
- Even if you’re on your own, cooking is a great way to show loved ones you’re thinking of them. All of us have been through hard times when a home-cooked meal saved the day. Surprise someone you care about with an easy casserole, a nutritious salad that tastes great, or show a vegan friend you’re paying attention––with a cashew-nut dip that tastes just like real cheese. Include a personalized note and they’ll be touched by your thoughtful, delicious gift.
- If you’re ready to start dating again, spicing up your cooking game is a great way to prepare yourself for an impressive first meal together. Pair your meal with a nice wine that sets the mood and you’re set for success. Feeling nervous about small talk? Cooking is a great conversation starter, and your date can enjoy some appetizers while you whip up a meal you’ve been mastering.
How to get started with home cooking
If you’re new to the kitchen, start with a recipe you love to eat. That way the reward for making your own meal will be that much sweeter. Start by learning the essential cooking methods so you’ll be able to handle any simple recipe with ease. Try beginning with a simple soup recipe, homemade ricotta gnocchi, or a simple stir fry with garlic, sesame oil, and some vegetables.
Enjoy the benefits of cooking with Boomerang’s online classes
Our online community at Boomerang is a great place to source inspiration for your next great adventure from the comfort of your home. Our community members love to share cooking tips, information, insights, and ideas. Whether you’re looking to try something new or develop skills you already have, our community learns by doing.
Are you looking for more food-inspired ideas? Take a minute to sign up for Boomerang and learn to or and chat about it with an online club or learn more about health and mindfulness. Boomerang is a great place to learn, make friends and get inspired for a cozy, fulfilling winter season.