Let’s face it, cooking from scratch can be a pain. It’s time-consuming, often messy, and requires a lot of patience. Most of us are stuck working a 40-hour work week. Add in a commute, and it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. While it may be easier to buy pre-packaged meals or order carry-out, these options don’t best serve our budget or our family. Despite the perceived “hassle,” there are many benefits to cooking from scratch. Not only can cooking from scratch be healthier for you, but it can also be more emotionally fulfilling and can help you save money when you’re working from a tight budget.
The Health Benefits of Cooking From Scratch
When you cook from scratch, you have more control over the kind of food that you are feeding your family. While this may not seem like it needs to be a priority NOW, many of the health problems we come across today are caused by our food quality and our diets. Many store-bought foods that we consume, along with their packaging, can contain damaging chemicals such as phthalates, trans fats, sodium nitrate, aspartame, and Bisphenol A. By cooking from scratch, you can be sure that your food is chemical-free. This leads to better overall health, as well as a reduced risk of developing conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Cooking whole foods and using ingredients that you have grown or sourced yourself typically means that your ingredients have maintained their integrity. Fresh foods often have more vitamins and minerals than ingredients bought in stores. A good example of this is bread. Store-bought bread often contains preservatives and additives to keep it fresh for longer. You may notice a loaf bought from Wal-Mart doesn’t mold, even though you’ve had it out for three weeks. A loaf you make at home may mold within a few days. The loaf you bought from Wal-Mart isn’t better. Rather, it has been treated with preservatives to make it last longer.
Many foods that are offered at popular chains, such as Aldi and Publix, have their vegetables shipped in from several states away. These foods are often treated with chemicals or waxes to preserve their shelf life and maintain the color of their produce. When you cook from scratch, you know that your food is as fresh as possible, giving you the best nutritional benefits possible. Not only does this make your meals healthier for yourself and your family, but it also reduces the risk of weight gain or obesity.
Additionally, you have the option of choosing healthier cooking methods, such as baking or steaming. You can also avoid adding unnecessary sodium, fats, and preservatives to your food by making your own sauces, dressings, and marinades. And, because you are preparing your own meals at home, you don’t need to wonder about what kinds of additives might be in the pre-packaged foods that you consume on a regular basis.
Saving Money by Cooking From Scratch
If you are working from a tight budget or looking for ways to save, cooking from scratch gives you the flexibility to be creative. When you cook meals at home, rather than buying pre-packaged foods or eating out every night, you save money on groceries while also reducing food waste by only purchasing or growing what you need.
Many pre-packaged foods contain an added level of convenience, such as premade salads or pre-cut vegetables. But this convenience comes at a cost, with many meals from popular chains costing upwards of $20. By cooking your own meals, you can reduce your grocery bill and have more control over the ingredients that are included in each dish. This allows you to stock up on pantry staples when they go on sale rather than being tied to expensive items that may need to be replaced every few days or weeks.
When you cook from scratch, it also gives you complete control over portion sizes for yourself and your family. You can choose how much protein is included in each meal and avoid loading up on extra carbs and fats. This can help you to make healthier choices and maintain a better weight while also saving money on groceries each month.
Finally, cooking from scratch can also be a great way to save money when working from a tight budget. If you grow your own fruits and vegetables or raise your own animals for meat, eggs, or dairy products, then you’ll be able to save even more money on your grocery bill each month.
The Emotional Benefits of Cooking From Scratch
Cooking from scratch can also be a very emotionally fulfilling experience. There’s something satisfying about taking raw ingredients and turning them into a finished product. This is especially true if you grow your own fruits and vegetables or raise your own chickens for eggs. When you cook with ingredients that you have grown or raised yourself, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that is hard to match.
Cooking from scratch also provides emotional benefits that are often overlooked. In today’s busy world, it can be easy to feel disconnected from loved ones. After all, when we’re separated by our work and day-to-day activities for long periods of time, it’s sometimes hard to find common ground with the people around us. By cooking from scratch, however, you are forced to do something together as a family unit. Whether it’s deciding what meals to make, shopping for ingredients, or even simply cleaning up after the meal, you are engaging in a shared activity that promotes positive family interaction.
In addition, scratch cooking gives you a chance to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to take time for ourselves. But when we take the time to cook a meal from scratch, we can relax and enjoy the process without worrying about the deadlines we have to meet or the emails we need to respond to.
The Overall Benefits of Cooking From Scratch
Cooking from scratch offers many benefits over buying pre-packaged or prepared foods at the grocery store or eating out. Making your own meals allows you to control what ingredients are included in your food, reducing the risk of developing health problems later in life. It also gives you more flexibility to choose healthier cooking methods and save on groceries by using sale items and stocking up on pantry staples when they are available. Most importantly, it gives us a way to connect with our family. Overall, cooking from scratch is a great way to improve your well-being and take control of your diet for better health.