Benefits of Cooking at Home
Nowadays, finding time to cook is almost as much of a chore as cooking itself. Busy schedules make it difficult to scrounge up the time and energy to cook, whether you live alone or need to feed a whole family. However, going back to the basics and preparing home-cooked meals has numerous benefits for your health, pocket and general well-being. It also presents a valuable opportunity to bond with your family or friends.
The secret behind enjoying home-cooked meals again is proper planning. Well-made grocery lists, a few go-to recipes or a virtual cooking coach can help get you back into the kitchen and make you ready to prepare healthier and hearty meals. Below, we get into the health benefits of home cooking.
Increased Health Benefits
Preparing food at home gets you into the habit of making healthier food choices. When you frequent restaurants or purchase ready-made meals, you have to make food choices based on what they have available. However, when you cook at home, the choice is yours. Keeping the following ingredients in your fridge or pantry can help you enjoy the health benefits of cooking at home:
- Fish: Small oily fish like sardines, salmon and tuna contain high amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Cooking fish at home a couple of times each week can help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve brain health.
- Berries: Berries like raspberries, blueberries and strawberries provide antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals and oxidative damage.
- Leafy greens: Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and collard greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which are critical for maintaining overall good health.
- Nuts: Almonds, pecans and walnuts are good sources of plant protein, fiber and monosaturated fats. They also help protect against diabetes and heart disease.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, oats and brown rice are good examples of whole grains that provide high quantities of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins and minerals. They may help you control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Cruciferous vegetables: These contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals when eaten raw or stir-fried. Some examples are cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.
More Control Over Meals
Preparing meals at home allows you more control over your meals, from the ingredients you choose to the portions you eat. This ensures you can prepare meals suited to your dietary needs and preferences. Cooking at home gives you control over the following:
- Ingredients: At home, you choose which ingredients to add to your food to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. You can also stick to ingredients specific to your diet type, such as those suited to dairy-free, fat-free, gluten-free or plant-based lifestyles.
- Allergens: Preparing your food yourself means you can reduce the risk of allergic reactions by avoiding allergens like nuts or dairy in your kitchen.
- Portions: Many restaurants serve larger-than-necessary food portions so that customers feel they're getting value for their money. In your kitchen, you can serve a portion that reflects your hunger.
- Food hygiene and safety: While restaurants and other dining establishments must pass strict health and food inspections, most food poisoning outbreaks start in restaurants or other public dining locations. At home, you have more control over the food safety, cleanliness and hygiene of the kitchen and cookware to reduce the risk of contracting foodborne diseases.
Freedom to Choose Cooking Methods
At home, you can explore various cooking methods before settling on the ones that work for you and your family. The best cooking methods seal in minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients. Below is a breakdown of how some of the most common cooking methods impact the nutritional value of your meals:
- Boiling: Boiling involves submerging food in bubbling water and allowing it to cook. This method is suitable for cooking dry, starchy ingredients and blanching green vegetables. While convenient and easy, boiling is not the healthiest cooking method since some nutrients are lost in the process. Vitamins C and B may be damaged, but fat-soluble vitamins D, E and K are not lost in the water or damaged by the heat.
- Frying: Frying is not a very healthy cooking method and involves cooking food in varying amounts of fats or oil, which increases the dish's fat, salt and calorie content. Stir-frying is a healthy alternative, as it increases vitamin A in some vegetables.
- Baking and roasting: These methods involve cooking food in an oven using dry heat. You can bake or roast everything from vegetables like Brussels sprouts and starches like potatoes to proteins like chicken.
- Semi-vacuum cooking: Semi-vacuum cooking is a unique method that requires specialized, high-quality cookware. It preserves up to 93% of food nutrients and natural flavors without adding water or oil.
Saving Time and Money
Cooking meals at home is significantly cheaper than buying every meal at a restaurant. When you dine out, you pay for more than just the food on your plate. The cost of restaurant meals takes into account the costs of running the business, including operational costs like staff wages, utility bills and rent. You're also charged for packaging and transportation services when using a delivery app.
Additionally, when you cook at home, you can pre-plan your meals and stick to a budget more easily. You can also save money by looking for sales in convenience stores and farmers markets.
If you're looking for some recipe inspiration to start your home-cooking journey, we have some ideas. Here are some recipes you can make in under 30 minutes:
- Quick vegetable stir-fry: Enjoy a delicious and healthy one-dish meal in less than 20 minutes.
- Chicken with wild rice and fig pilaf: Cook up a mouthwatering and high-fiber meal in just 25 minutes.
- Pepper steak in mushroom sauce: Prepare this delectable steak recipe full of flavor and nutrients in under 40 minutes.
Make Cooking at Home Easier With Saladmaster®
Saladmaster is a reliable companion that can help you reap the health benefits of home-cooked meals. We aim to inspire you to eat better and live healthier by transforming how you cook at home. We have well-crafted recipes to guide you when making healthy meals and a virtual cooking show where our cooking coaches teach you how to make flavorful and nutrient-rich meals.
To truly support your healthy eating lifestyle, we also present our stainless steel cookware sets that use the semi-vacuum cooking method to lock in moisture and flavors. Our cookware sets are made using safe, high-quality steel and titanium and are compatible with various cooking surfaces, including gas, electric, ceramic and induction ovens. To transform how you cook with Saladmaster cookware, find a dealership near you today!