Homemade meals from scratch are always the best. However, most people assume that tons of time and knowledge about ingredients are required. Many are deterred from the idea of cooking and rely on pre-made or take-out meals. When it comes to healthful options, not all meals are created equally.
- A Nutrient-Dense Plate
When prepared meals come from outside the home, you usually have limited knowledge on the amount of salt, sugar, and processed oils that are put into them. Plus, we oftentimes add more to our foods once they’re delivered to the table. When you’re cooking meals at home, you have the say as to how much salt, sugar, and oil is added.
Creativity also comes into play when you cook at home, and you have the option of adding wide varieties of plant foods with an array of colors. Not only are you gaining tons of health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, you’re adding beautiful textures and colors to your meals. You’d be surprised how much health can be accumulated within one dish.
Portion control can also be controlled from home. When food is prepared delivered to us, we have a tendency to eat all or most of it. Try using smaller plates at home, but make sure to fill up on all the good stuff, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. You’ll definitely leave satisfied and satiated.
2. Increased Fruit and Vegetable Intake
The typical Western diet lacks the amount and variety of plant foods we need to protect our weight and longevity. Most Americans consume about two servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, while the recommended portion is at least 5 servings. Tons of pre-made meals, including ones at restaurants, limit the portions of fruit and vegetables.
By giving yourself the option to cook at home, you have full control of the ingredients that go into your meals. The most important key to remember is that your focus should start with the consumption of more fruits and vegetables. Add them to your cooking, chop them up and enjoy as a snack, or share them with your family on the go. Then take steps towards organic options. Remember, eating whole fruits and vegetables, whether organic or not, is always a better option than processed foods.
3. Save Money and Use What You Have
Just because you haven’t made a trip to your local health food or grocery store this week doesn’t mean you are stuck with picking up takeout. Open up your pantry and refrigerator and see what you can put together to craft a meal. This could be as simple as gluten-free pasta, canned roasted tomatoes, beans, frozen vegetables, and lemon juice. A meal this simple is full of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Best of all, it’s delicious and can be prepared in under thirty minutes. This will save you money in the long run and will give you enough food to share with a family member or to enjoy as leftovers the following day.
4. Sensible Snacking
Grabbing premade snacks saves time, but it all goes back to what’s really in these foods. There’s no need to give up your favorite snacks, but there is a way to make them healthier and oftentimes, taste even better. Swap out your chips and dip for hummus and chopped vegetables. Make your own kale or carrot chips in place of bagged potato chips. Grab a bowl and make your own popcorn on the stove top or in a popcorn machine. You’ll be able to control the amounts of salt, sugar, and oil that are added.
5. Share Your Delicious Health
When you create your own meals from scratch, you hold so much pride in your accomplishments. Plus, your food tastes amazing. Now, don’t get me wrong – some of your creative dishes will not taste up to par but with continual practice and exploration, your food will be cherished by friends and family. You’ll see them enjoying the best, most nutritious foods all because of you and your belief to spread health and love.