Although we all love fast food, it is easy to lose weight by cooking more at home. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Cooking at home has many benefits
It doesn’t matter if you are a parent or a single parent, it can be difficult to find the time to cook home-cooked meals. Ordering in or eating out can seem like the easiest and fastest option at the end of a busy day. However, convenience and processed foods can have a negative impact on your moods and health.
Convenience foods are often high in chemicals, hormones, and sugars. They also have unhealthy fats and calories. All of these can negatively affect your brain and outlook. You may feel tired, bloated, and irritable. It can also exacerbate anxiety, stress, depression, and other symptoms.
You may find that restaurants often offer more food than what you are supposed to eat. This encourages you to eat more than at home. It can adversely affect your waistline, blood pressure, as well as your risk of developing diabetes.
You have more control over what you eat and how you cook it. This will help you feel better, increase your energy, stabilize and maintain your weight, improve your sleep quality, and reduce stress.
Home cooking doesn’t need to be difficult. A healthy diet consists of eating food that is close to nature’s original recipe. This means eating real food as much as possible, replacing processed foods with healthy food, and eating lots of vegetables and protein. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend hours in the kitchen mixing hundreds of ingredients or following complicated recipes. Simple meals are often the best.
Home cooking can be even quicker than eating out. You don’t have to wait to order or travel to a restaurant to prepare your meal.
Home cooking is a great way to have fun with friends, and you don’t need to be a professional chef. No matter your cooking skills or experience, you can learn how to make quick and healthy meals that will benefit your mental and physical well-being.
Research has also shown that home-cooked meals are more nutritious than eating out. Healthy eating can become a routine.
Sharing a home-cooked meal is one of the best pleasures
Cooking at home can bring people together, and it’s a great way for families to come together around the table. Even picky eaters and moody teens love a home-cooked meal. Even if you don’t live with anyone, it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook or eat by yourself. It’s a great way for you to grow your social circle. Appreciative feedback can help boost self-esteem.
Make mealtimes social. Talking to a friend over dinner can make a huge difference in reducing stress and improving mood. Keep the family updated on each other’s lives by gathering them together. Invite a friend, a coworker, or a neighbor over if you live alone.
Turn off screens. You can take a break from your TV and turn off your phone. This will allow you to have real conversations with the person you are sharing a meal with. You can avoid screen time and eat with others to help you avoid mindless eating.
Cook with others. Invite your spouse, roommate, or a friend to share shopping and cooking responsibilities–one prepares the entree, the other dessert, for example. It can be fun to cook with others and it can help you both save money.
How to overcome obstacles when cooking at home
Despite all these benefits, many people still view cooking as a chore. It’s something they don’t want to do or something only experienced cooks can do. Perhaps you have tried cooking before but didn’t like it, or your children prefer to eat takeout.
It is often possible to overcome obstacles when cooking at home by changing your approach to meal preparation and the time you spend in the kitchen. Here are some common reasons we don’t like cooking at home and how to overcome them.
Obstacle 1 “I don’t have the time or energy to cook.”
It is true that shopping, chopping, and cooking can take a lot of time. There are many ways to speed up the process.
- All the ingredients can be ordered online and delivered right to your doorstep
- Invite your family to participate. You can trade shopping and cleaning chores with your spouse or roommate.
- You can do some of the preparation in advance. To cut down on the final cooking time, chop vegetables during the weekend if you have less time.
- Use fresh ingredients. Raw food recipes and salads can be prepared in minutes.
- Cooking meals will be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, rather than a tedious chore.
2: “It is cheaper to eat quick food.”
It may appear that eating out at a fast-food restaurant is cheaper than cooking a meal at home. This is not always true. According to a University of Washington School of Public Health study, people who cook in their own homes tend to eat healthier and have lower food costs. Another study showed that home-cookers spend about $60 less per month than those who eat out more frequently.
3: I’m too tired to cook after a long day.
Healthy meals don’t require a lot of work.
- You can make a delicious meal in your slow cooker by loading it with meat and vegetables early in the day.
- You can make meals in bulk and freeze the leftovers for later use.
- You can cook your main protein once per week, such as roast chicken breasts or slow-cooked turkey breasts. This will allow you to make quick meals throughout the week like soups, salads, burritos, or pasta dishes.
4: I don’t know how to cook
It’s easy to feel intimidated when you think of cooking a home-cooked meal.
- It is usually okay to substitute one ingredient for another.
- For simple recipes, you can look online or purchase a basic cookbook.
- You will improve your cooking skills as a whole. Even if your skills are not the best, you will soon be able to cook healthy, quick meals.
5: “Even though I make a healthy dinner at home, it’s hard to get my family to eat it.”
You can gradually wean your family and yourself off of the taste of packaged food and take-out.
- To allow everyone to adjust to new tastes, start small and cook only once or twice per week.
- Young children enjoy cooking and love to eat the dishes they have helped to prepare.
- Children have a strong instinct to copy others. Therefore, the more you show your children healthy eating, the more likely they will follow your lead.
Tips for getting started
You don’t have to cook every dinner at home. Even if you cook at home only a few times per week, it can be a great way to reap the rewards. You’ll be more successful at cooking your own meals the more you do it. You may eventually find eating out or ordering food in as an occasional treat, rather than a regular part of your daily life. These are some suggestions to help you get started.
Use fresh, healthy ingredients. Sugary treats like cookies, brownies, and cakes won’t be good for your health. A home-cooked meal can become unhealthy if it is too sugary or salty. Start with nutritious ingredients and flavorings with spices, rather than sugar and salt. This will ensure that your meals are healthy for you as well.
Keep things simple. Sauté or grill vegetables, and then add herbs, spices, or a healthy condiment. Simple cooking is delicious and easy.
Make enough leftovers. It is great to have leftovers you can use for lunch or dinner the next morning. Make sure to cook more pasta or rice than you actually need. Then, store the leftovers in the fridge for later use. You can freeze leftovers to ensure that you always have a ready-to-eat meal when you’re not feeling like cooking.
Use to make healthier meals. Instead of frying, grill or bake. Salt can be replaced with onion powder or garlic powder. Reduce sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 in most recipes. Reduce the amount of meat and increase the number of vegetables in casseroles and stews. When baking, use whole-grain pasta and bread and whole-wheat flour instead of bleached white flour.
Make sure you have enough staples. You’ll use staples like rice, pasta, and olive oil. You can save time by having cans of tuna and beans, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and bags of frozen vegetables on hand.
Allow yourself to be flexible. It is okay to overcook the vegetables or burn the rice. It will become easier, faster, and more delicious after a few attempts.