With modern professionals becoming increasingly busy in their work life, they aren’t left with much time to cook at home. Additionally, the ready access to outside food has taken away youngsters further away from their own kitchens. While the convenience and speed of “on the go” meals may appear to be a benefit, they ultimately damage our health in the long run.
Outside food is prepared with the intention to tickle your taste buds, using a host of unhealthy and processed ingredients. Continued consumption of such food clears the ground for several medical issues such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance and even cardiovascular ailments.
When OneFitplus client Shivani started suffering from continuous acidity, bloating and heartburn, she consulted our doctor who told her that her eating habits were not healthy and she needed to immediately stop eating outside food and switched to home cooked meals. “It was then I realised how much junk I had been putting in my system by eating out so regularly. Apart from my troubled digestion, I also developed a severe acne problem which too subsided as I switched to lighter, healthier home cooked meals”, she said.
The advantages of home cooked meals are several:
Healthy and nutritious: Compared to the food available outside, home cooked meals have a far better mix of nutrients and minerals. When we cook for our loved ones, we make sure to pick and use fresh and healthy ingredients while preparing a meal. Home prepared meals are likely to have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Restaurant food is usually laden with unhealthy fat, salt, sugar, processed, stale and artificial ingredients while their cooking method may also not be healthy. Nutrient rich home food obtained from whole grains, milk, pulses, beans, vegetables and fruits releases the health benefits to the whole family. Essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, K, iron, calcium and magnesium are a crucial element in the diet of growing children, women and older people. A healthy mix of vital ingredients can only be found in home cooked meals to foster growth, energy and a disease free life.
Clean and Hygienic: You can never be entirely sure of the level of hygiene being followed inside restaurant kitchens. Any interface with unhygienic or contaminated food can lead to food poisoning or other digestion related problems for you. At home, you can ensure that the kitchen setting including platforms, knives, pots, pans and cutlery is hygienic. Besides, you thoroughly clean all the ingredients before using them in a meal. When we are cooking for our loved ones, we go out of our way to make sure the food is perfectly safe and healthy to be consumed.
Helps to maintain weight: Home cooked meals put you in control of how much and what you want to eat. While cooking at home, you are naturally conscious of not using too much of any ingredient viz. sugar, salt, fat, processed flour. Instead, you will use healthy ingredients and create balanced meals that limit the calorie intake to maintain weight for you and the family. Also, you will be mindful of the portion size of what you serve in contrast with large portion sizes offered at restaurants. Since you are going to eat small but healthy meals, your food choices will ensure that your calorie intake remains within limit and consequently, your weight also remains in check. Children also learn the importance of healthy eating from an early age and are less likely to get addicted to junk food and get overweight.
Saves Money: It’s a no brainer that eating at home vis-à-vis eating out would save you money. Unless you simply cannot bear the sight of your kitchen, it’s always a better idea to pack lunches for work and eat home cooked dinners. You will end up saving a decent sum of money at the end of every month. Several comparative studies have proven how even the cost of a takeaway is significantly more than the same meal, dished up at home. For instance, with the amount you would pay for one plate of paav bhaaji, you can buy raw ingredients to prepare five such plates. Besides, you also save the money spent in extra commute and parking to reach the eatery of your choice.
Promotes Family bonding: Eating together as a family at home fosters positive relationships and a deep sense of bonding. In the age of hectic schedules, lunch or dinner time conversations between family members provide an opportunity to share thoughts, experiences and wisdom. Children, specifically, feel secure and more loved if they eat regularly at home with their parents. Eating home cooked meals together teaches the value of simple food to children at a young age. They tend to form healthy eating habits which they continue to practise as they grow older. Cooking meals together at home is also a great way to bond with your partner and children, ensuring fun and learning at the same time.
Teaches Food Sustainability: By eating at home, we can teach our children the value of healthy eating and sustainable practises. When we use locally grown and regional ingredients in our cooking, we get to support the local farmer, regional economy and the environment in general. By getting closer to the origins of our food, we make sure that our family is consuming real, healthy and unprocessed food. Convenience and processed food is not just unhealthy but also comes with an environmental cost which involves packaging, transportation and disposal using a large quantity of non-renewable resources. By cooking at home using local and seasonal ingredients, we can teach our children to become mindful consumers who value sustainable products over labelled ones.
Good home cooked meals puts us in control of what and how much we want to eat as a family. Home food, more often than not, leads us to have a healthy diet that is low on calories but provides adequate energy. By avoiding eating out, we can stay away from processed/junk food and temptation of unhealthy choices. In addition to all the benefits, home cooked meals can also be made interesting by experimenting with various recipes and ingredients. You learn to savour and appreciate the food you prepare yourself, minimise the dangers of unhealthy eating and promote overall well being, even as you make joyous memories.