When it comes down to feeding your body and mind, nothing is superior to preparing your food from scratch, with quality ingredients and served with love. If you have never experienced this phenomenon then try it out for 90 days and see how you feel. Come to that, see how your family feels as you work together in the kitchen to create a level of harmony and good health that is only possible when food is prepared in a loving manner, and eaten slowly with others. OK, so no excuses about time and schedules and…and…and. Instead let’s take a look at why preparing your food is a win-win situation for everyone.
1. Saves money
Packaged and prepared meals cost you considerably more than cooking with raw ingredients at home. Preparing meals at home can save you money. Chef Laura Stec, in her cookbook, Cool Cuisine, notes that just by bringing your home-cooked leftovers to work for lunch can save you a cool $100 each month. Other ways to save money include buying your food in bulk, using store coupons, eating more vegetarian meals, buying on sale and freezing for later use.
2. Saves time
In the time it takes to drive to a restaurant, place your order, wait for your order, return home and serve the meal, you could have made a three-course meal from scratch with time to sit and chew slowly. For those on a busy schedule, prepare half the week’s meals on a Sunday and the other half mid-week, which can allow time for relaxation or beneficial exercise.
3. Less salt and trans fats
Food producers and restaurant chefs use higher levels of salt and fat to make their products taste better to the consumer. Preparing meals at home allows you to control the amount of salt and oils you use in your recipes. This in turn reduces the possibility of weight gain and clogged arteries.
4. Balanced meals
Taking the time to plan your weekly menu not only helps to save time and money, but also provides a way to create meals with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, plus all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for the adult and child’s body. When eating balanced meals your body feels satisfied, has fewer cravings and this in turn prevents late-night snacking.
5. Avoid food poisoning
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 76 million people are poisoned by food each year in the United States. This is caused by food-borne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites that can seriously harm or even kill you. Forty cents of every U.S dollar spent on food is for restaurant or prepared foods, which allows for more possibility of consuming cheap foods prepared by inexperienced handlers, posing a greater risk of improper cooking and/or cross contamination of foods. When preparing meals at home you can better control the temperatures when cooking meats, keep hands and countertops clean and properly wash your raw produce.
6. Better energy
Food can be healing medicine or it can deplete your energy and cause sickness and pain. In Cook Your Way to the Life You Want, Christina Pirello writes that we run a risk by having someone else prepare all our meals. “We run a risk of giving our destiny to any chef who claims to know how to cook a pot of rice. He or she is in charge of who we are and what we feel and how we behave. That may sound dramatic, but the truth is that whoever is cooking is in charge of the people we become.”
7. Brings family together
Preparing meals at home and including family members in meal preparation is a way to give and share love. When food is prepared with a calm mind and loving thoughts it can become a tonic for both the physical body and the soul. Teaching children how to cook is a gift of health they will use for their entire lives and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
8. Weight control
In 2007 the Journal of Public Health Policy published a paper showing how the portions served in fast food restaurants have increased from two to five times larger. Plates have gone from 10 inches in 1990 to 12 inches in 2010. With larger portions people tend to eat more, but cooking at home allows you to control serving sizes and prevent overeating. Buy locally, in season, the best quality food, organic when possible. When cooking from scratch you know exactly what is going into your recipes. The choices you make can keep you healthy and help prevent weight gain, digestive troubles and allergic reactions.