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A recent study suggests that eating a homecooked dinner up to five times per week could extend your life by several years. In fact, participants who cooked at home five times a week were 47 percent more likely to be alive after ten years, according to the study.
Why would you want to cook at home?
Cooking at home has so many benefits that it’s surprising we don’t all do it at least occasionally. To begin with, studies suggest that eating home-cooked meals as a family is associated with healthier and happier children, as well as teens who are less likely to use alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.
Eating home-cooked meals has a lot of advantages for adults as well. People who eat home-cooked meals daily are happier and healthier, and they consume less sugar and processed foods, according to research, which can lead to more energy and improved mental health. 4 Eating home-cooked meals five or more days per week has even been linked to living longer.
When we eat home-cooked meals with others, the mental health advantages are amplified significantly. Even when we are not eating, group meals might make us feel better. This is partly because social relationships strengthened during meals can aid in the development of a sense of belonging and even help to alleviate depression symptoms. Bypassing down recipes from generation to generation, we are also preserving cultural knowledge and history.
Home-cooked meals can also save money and reduce our carbon footprint, which benefits the environment and, by extension, all of us. Home cooking allows us to select component items rather than home-prepared meals which reduces packing. If you buy your ingredients from local farmers or cultivate your own, you’ll have an even greater impact on the food environment because you’ll be minimising the amount of transportation needed to get food to your plate.
When you cook at home, you have complete control over the ingredients and avoid eating the cheap fillers, flavour enhancers, and extra salt or butter found in a lot of restaurant cuisine. Cooking encourages natural movement by forcing you to stand, stir, mix, knead, cut, and lift ingredients.
Numerous peer-reviewed research shows that youngsters who eat more home-cooked meals are less likely to be overweight and consume more fruits and vegetables than their restaurant-going peers. According to studies, children who have regular family dinners do better in school, have healthier relationships, and are less likely to drink, smoke, or get into trouble.
Meal preparation can be a difficult effort for busy parents, inexperienced home chefs, and full-time working couples, but here are five suggestions to make it easier and more pleasurable to cook at home:
Make a strategy
You have a roadmap not only to the grocery shop but also to the week ahead if you plan out your meals. Make Sundays a day for meal preparation so you can stay organised. Encourage children to participate in the selection of vegetables and the planning of their lunches.
Cooking in quantity is also a part of the planning process. Double or treble dishes you know you’ll appreciate so you can prepare them once and eat them all week. You can do the same thing with staples like brown rice, beans, soups, pasta sauces, and dressings to make quick meals in a hurry.
Doing some planning over the weekend or when you have some free time will relieve the everyday burden of figuring out what to make for dinner and ensure that you always have some healthy foods in your fridge or freezer.
Share a meal
Slowly eat while conversing with family, a tradition that strengthens not only family relationships but also physical wellness. Making meals a time of sharing and being together with friends and family might help you enjoy and digest your food more fully.
Master the fundamentals of cooking by learning to make quick, go-to meals.
Every home chef should be able to chop vegetables with a knife; make simple soups, salads, and salad dressings; prepare a few whole-grain dishes like brown rice, quinoa, or farro; and prep, soak, season, and cook healthier protein options like black beans, lentils, or tofu. You can make healthful salads for lunches and heartier grain bowls for nights all week with only five ingredients and a little preparation effort.
Make it a habit to eat breakfast at home.
While stopping at the drive-thru or grabbing a coffee before your first meeting may be convenient, eating breakfast is a fantastic way to save calories and start the day with a nutritious meal that will keep you going until lunch. It also doesn’t have to take any additional time. Overnight oats, chia pudding, and green smoothies are all quick to prepare and take with you.
The advantages of preparing meals at home
Finding the time and energy to prepare home-cooked meals, whether you live alone or are a busy parent, maybe a difficult undertaking. After a long day, eating out or ordering in may seem like the quickest and most convenient alternative. Convenience and processed foods, on the other hand, might harm your mood and health.
Chemical additives, hormones, sugar, salt, bad fat, and calories are all common in convenience food, all of which can harm your brain and perspective. It can make you feel exhausted, bloated, and irritable, as well as increase depression, stress, and anxiety symptoms.
Restaurants frequently serve far more food than you need. Many restaurants provide quantities that are two to three times the recommended daily allowance. This encourages you to eat more than you would at home, which has negative consequences for your waistline, blood pressure, and diabetes risk.
You have more control over the ingredients when you prepare your meals. You can ensure that you and your family get fresh, healthful meals by cooking for yourself. This can help you look and feel better, increase your energy, maintain a healthy weight and attitude, and improve your sleep and stress resistance.
Cooking at home can save you time compared to going out to dine. There are many quick, simple, and nutritious meals you can prepare at home in less time than it takes to go to a restaurant or wait for delivery.
Home cooking is also a great way to spend time with friends and family—and you don’t have to be a master chef to do it. Regardless of your cooking skills or experience, you can learn to produce quick and healthy meals that will help both your mental and physical health.
Healthy meals prepared at home can boost your immune system and lower your risk of diseases including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
It can boost your energy levels, enhance your sleep quality, and aid in the management of health issues.
We discovered that people who cooked more frequently had a better understanding of nutrition than those who did not. Cooking is a physical and mental activity that necessitates excellent health.
“We found that those who cooked more regularly had a healthier diet and nutrient concentrations that were more favourable.
“It’s thus possible that cooking is linked to longevity through food quality and choice,” says the researcher.