Health & Wellness

Cook Your Way to a Healthier, Happier You

In my opinion a home cooked meal is the best kind of meal. Preparing your own food can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride; if someone you love made it not only is it special, it is also delicious! Research shows that a homemade meal reduces the risk of disease and that it can also help people control their weight. By cooking at home you decide what to eat and how much food to put on your plate. When people eat at restaurants they tend to overeat due to the larger portion sizes.

Restaurants also have few healthy options and the meals don’t always contain important vitamin-filled foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These essential ingredients are important to help reduce the risk of cancer and help you stay healthy. By cooking at home you can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need. Instead of picking the “easiest” option try your hand at cooking, decide what you want in your food and be healthy while eating what you love!

Problems with Eating Out

  • Grilled food can be cooked in bacon fat, grease, or oil
  • Vegetables and meats are marinated in oils
  • Restaurants use oils to help preserve cooked or partially cooked food until they are ready to be used
  • Soups are often full of cream or butter, which can equal hidden calories
  • Meals at restaurants are usually over seasoned and can spell disaster for your daily sodium intake
  • Pre-tossed salads contain up to a quarter cup of dressing
  • People feel compelled to “clean their plate” when eating out, and large portion sizes lead overeating

Benefits of Cooking at Home

  • The more time you spend making meals, the healthier you will be
  • Meals cooked at home taste better than many meals at restaurants
  • Cooking your meal gives you a sense of accomplishment
  • By cooking your own meal you know what you are eating and what is in your food
  • You have the power to decide what goes in to your meals
  • Less expensive, especially if you grow your own produce
  • Having fewer options (aka a full menu) reduces temptation

Tips for Cooking at Home

  • Be creative in the kitchen
  • Use leftovers to make something new
  • Try to cook at home 5 times a week
  • Prepare your meals over the weekend
  • Be organized and plan meals ahead of time
  • Pick easy, healthy methods for cooking
  • Cook with family or friends to make it a social, fun event
  • Get creative, you don’t have to follow a recipe verbatim (have fun with what you make, add what you love and take out what you don’t like.) Plus, you can be as picky as you want when you make the meal yourself
  • If you need help starting or need to follow a recipe, find some healthy meals online or buy a healthy cookbook
  • Still be conscious of portion size
  • Cook with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

A home cooked meal is a delicious, healthy alternative to eating at a restaurant. The next time you are about to grab your keys to go eat out, instead reach for a recipe and start cooking!

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