With so many fast food chains and restaurants popping up all over the world, it can be tempting to go out to eat almost every night. However, food prepared at these commercial venues is often full of unhealthy fats, sugars, and carbohydrates. One of the best ways to improve your eating habits is to prepare your own meals. This may seem intimidating at first, but there are thousands of healthy, easy to make recipes that can be found online. To give you a little more incentive, we are going to list ten ways in which preparing your own meals can control your health:
- Control- When you rely on pre-packaged or pre-made food, you are putting your health in someone else's hands. When you prepare your own food you have complete control of what you are putting in your body. If you know you need certain vitamins you can choose ingredients that are packed full of those vitamins. Preparing your own food also allows you to remove saturated fats and other harmful substances that is found in most restaurant food. When cooking your own meals you can also be sure that any ingredients you are using are fresh.
- Knowledge- Learning to cook will give you much more appreciation for the food that you are eating. It will also force you to learn about different types of foods and which foods are good or bad for your personal diet. This knowledge is crucial to constructing an effective diet, as you need to know what types of nutrients you do and do not need. Gaining this experience and knowledge of food will help you find the foods you need in your diet. As an added bonus, you will also figure out which ingredients you prefer to eat, so your healthy meals can be just as delicious and enjoyable.
- Appreciation- It may sound odd that appreciating your food will help your health. However, this is exactly what happens when you prepare your own food. When you eat a meal that you prepared yourself, you are much more likely to savor the food and take your time when eating. This is a great way of preventing overeating, as eating slower will allow you to feel when you begin getting full. Those who eat at restaurants often end up scarfing down the food so quick that their body doesn't have time to signal that they are full. When you take the time to appreciate the food you made you will be able to receive these signals from your body much easier.
Portion Size- Portion size is incredibly important in a healthy and fulfilling diet. Even restaurants that offer low calorie or "healthy" meals tend to serve portions that are much too large for the average person. Large portions can also lead to a tendency to overeat, as people naturally want to finish all the food that is given to them. Preparing your own food means that you can control how much food you eat. Eating smaller portions can prevent the urge to overeat and can lead to a much healthier diet overall.
- Food Safety- Although there are usually regulations in place to promote food safety in restaurants, the ingredients that are used are often older and can be more prone to causing food poisoning. Some restaurants may also be more relaxed in their cooking of certain meats that can contain certain diseases. This is dangerous and can lead to a lot of uncertainty in how safe your food is. Preparing the food yourself will give you peace of mind that your ingredients are fresh, your meat is properly prepared and your meals will be safe to eat. You are much less likely to get food poisoning or another disease when preparing meals yourself, provided that you follow recipes and prepare the food properly.
- Reducing Stress- Many find that cooking is not only great for your physical health, it is also beneficial to your mental health as well. Cooking is often therapeutic and can reduce stress that builds up in one's day to day life. Many also find cooking fun and enjoyable, which can increase overall happiness and lead to a better mood. Many also feel a sense of accomplishment when cooking their own meals, and gaining cooking skills will often lead to more confidence in one's self and their abilities. The key to enjoying your time cooking is to not stress over the smaller things or mishaps. Every cook has times where they mess up or have to start over. This is just part of the process and part of the fun!
- Increase in Energy- Cooking with fresh ingredients will give you more energy to handle the challenges that life throws your way. Getting more vitamins and nutrients will lead to healthier joints, a stronger immune system, and an overall better mood. Food is a great way to control your energy levels and help reduce any pain or soreness found throughout the body. If you often find yourself tired or lacking in the energy department, consider preparing your own meals with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Food Allergies- Those with food allergies know how difficult and stressful it can be to eat out. Constantly having to ask waiters what ingredients make up a dish can be tiresome, and there is always a risk that the waiter is overestimating their own knowledge. There is also the issue of utensils and cooking materials coming into contact with the food that causes the allergies. Even if that particular food is left out of your dish, there may be some residue that can cause an allergic reaction. When you cook your own meals you can be 100% certain that there will be no issues with food allergies or other sensitivities.
Hopefully this article inspires you to take control of your health and diet by learning to cook. Be sure to check out our other article on how to cook hearty and healthy food. If you get a little tired of cooking don't worry! We have a ton of affordable and healthy dishes on our website to get you through those busy and stressful nights!