Let’s face it, there are very few of us who couldn’t afford to be healthier. Achieving or maintaining health is a daily investment in a lifelong journey. There is always room for improvement.
What you eat is arguably the most important component of a healthy lifestyle. As the old adage goes, “you can’t exercise away a bad diet.”
Cooking and baking at home can be an effective and fun way to make lasting changes to the way you eat. That’s because home cooking puts you in control.
Think about it. If your health is important to you, you are probably already investing time and energy into other aspects of your life such as exercise and stress reduction. So why would you leave the details of your diet to chance?
Making your own meals empowers the home chef in several ways:
Ingredient quality – Meals are only as healthy and enjoyable as what goes into them. Being in charge of the grocery list means you are able to guarantee your dishes contain healthy and fresh ingredients.
Substitutions - A healthier diet doesn’t always have to entail eliminating choices from your home menu. Sometimes, it’s simply about making adjustments to your favorite dishes. For instance, minimizing salt or sugar content or finding alternatives for calorie-laden ingredients like mayonnaise or sour cream can go a long way.
Having the power to scale back on or substitute particular ingredients allows you to quickly and easily adjust recipes to your taste while still reaching your dietary goals.
Portion sizes – Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean denying yourself of all indulgences. While what you eat is the primary driver of a healthy diet, how much you eat is also critical. It’s OK to dive into a bowl of beautifully rich fettucine Alfredo or snack on a decadent cookie fresh from the oven on occasion, so long as the portions are proper.
Home cooking gives you the ability to scale back the quantity of a recipe or control how much food ends up on your plate.
Doing the math – To a degree, healthy eating is a numbers game. It’s all about getting the right percentages of the proper nutrients without exceeding a given calorie count. While some restaurants are making strides when it comes to menu transparency, calorie counts and nutritional values are often just ballpark figures. Any substitutions or alterations to portion sizes, even seemingly minor ones, can render those estimates useless. The best way to get accurate counts is to cook at home and crunch the numbers yourself.
More than physical health benefits
There is so much more to home cooking than the physical health benefits. Being in the kitchen is an experience in and of itself.
Cooking and baking can be an outlet for your creative side, a way to spend more time with loved ones and even a method of decompressing after a long, stressful day.
There is immeasurable joy and pride to be found when you take control of the food that goes on your table. Finding this enjoyment and fulfillment is what helps a small adjustment grow into a lifestyle change.
Feeling inspired? Here are some of our favorite dishes to help get you started.
This delicious recipe combines wild mushrooms, apples, walnuts and brussels sprouts for an oh-so tasty side dish your family will love.