We live in a fast-paced world, and we often cut corners to keep up. Losing sleep, forgoing exercise, or not eating well are all common practices. We get so preoccupied with the busyness of life that simple tasks like making a healthy dinner seems daunting. While it is certainly easy to pick up a burger on the way home or stop at a restaurant, these habits are actually detrimental to your overall health.
Eating a diet of predominantly home cooking is actually better for us in the long run… even if you think you’re not the best chef on the block!
Restaurants Vs. Home
The main goal of a restaurant is to bring in more business. In order to keep people coming back
for more, restaurants tend to focus on flavors our taste buds love, even if they’re not the best things for us. The overuse of butter, sodium, and sugar is common. This lack of moderation may indulge our senses, but it also overloads us with empty calories and unhealthy fats. Studies show that people who eat more home-cooked meals proportionally have a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. Restaurants also have a tendency to cut costs by using cheaper oil often loaded with trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and highly processed ingredients.
Taking Control of Your Food
When we eat at home, we control what goes into our food. The ingredients used are often more natural and simple. When shopping at a grocery store, it is easy to avoid highly processed foods and unnecessary additives. With a little research you can find healthier substitutes to typical ingredients, such as using olive oil vs. vegetable oil, or alternatives for high trans fat butters.
Not to mention, the ingredients we find in stores are typically fresher. Restaurants have to focus on volume and quick service. Food is often ordered in bulk from suppliers which can sit on the shelf or in refrigeration for quite a while. Grocery stores are restocked frequently and have strict freshness limits that may not be imposed by restaurants. Also, in restaurants, many elements of the dishes are pre-prepared hours in advance and are left in the cooler until it’s time to be used. Items such as fruits and vegetables can actually lose nutrients in the process of being prepped and then stashed through processes like oxidation.
Quality control in terms of food safety is much better when cooking at home. With less hands in the process of cooking, there is a much lower risk of contamination from people. Also, with less food being prepared, it is easier to focus on whether or not the food is cooked safely vs having to rush it out to demanding customers.
The Many Other Benefits
On a non-nutrition based level, eating at home has other advantages as well. For one, you tend to save way more money than if you eat out frequently. When you shop at the grocery store, the ingredients used can be used for numerous helpings or separate meals throughout the week. While grocery stores have to make a profit as well, the mark-up is much less than in a restaurant.
Cooking can often turn into a passion as well for many. Yes, the first few times you attempt making a dish and burn it can be annoying, but the process of perfecting the craft can be very fulfilling, and who knows where it will lead from there!
It is also a great activity that families can enjoy together. We all have our favorite dishes our parents would make growing up; learning how to replicate or expand on these recipes can be exciting and bring on pleasant nostalgia. Cooking for somebody is also a great way to show you care about somebody as well. Whether that’s taking care of your kids, self care, or trying to impress that special someone.