4 Hard-to-Ignore Benefits of Cooking Your Own Food

Let’s face it. We are a generation that is super distracted (thank you internet and social media), always busy, supremely ambitious, and of course, hard pressed for time. We are also blessed with a plethora of food options, with zillions of apps wooing us into trying their services every single hour. We are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing what to eat.

If you think about it, our parents never ate out as much as we do. Because eating out before the internet came into our lives meant actually stepping out of the house, or at least making a call to a nearby restaurant. Also, homecooked meals are always valued more among that generation than the millennials or the baby boomers. These options along with a crazy lifestyle are hampering our health because we mostly opt for ordering in or eating out.

I get it. It is not easy to plan meals or cook every single day with the kind of lives that we have. But I would like to tell you that cooking is also not impossible. I know so many people who are just tired of eating out every single day, tired of compromising on their health and spending shit loads of money on food they probably do not even enjoy so much anymore. The joy of a homecooked meal is something that cannot be compared to a quick snack. You all know what I am saying, right?

Most importantly – cooking is a survival skill. It is not about interest here. I know people would argue, that if I cannot dance, you cannot force me to become a dancer. If I do not like cooking, you cannot force me to learn it. But, you do not need to dance to survive. But you do need to eat. And the sooner you realize this, the easier and better it becomes.

Not just this, there are so many benefits of cooking your own food! It does require proper planning, but like every good habit, it requires some practice and inspiration.

Cooking equates to happiness for me. It is, in fact, my meditative therapy. Home cooking has always been a good thing, the only sustainable practice which not only fills our bellies with food but also fills our heart and soul with contentment and joy.

So here are the top benefits of homecooking.

    1. It will help you save tons of money

I cannot even begin to tell you how much money you are going to save if you eat in. I am sure you already know how much eating out on a regular basis makes your pockets empty. When we go out to eat, we do not only pay a heavy price for the food, we also end up paying so many different kinds of taxes. For someone like me who cooks on a daily basis, I actually feel the huge amount of profits that lie in every single plate of food that restaurants sell. You can make the same meal at home for less than half the cost most of the times.

Let me explain with a personal example. I love pasta. While there are a very few places that actually serve good pasta, I do have one favorite place which I visit from time to time. As delicious as their kinds of pasta are, they are also outrageously expensive. A simple plate of Aglio Olio costs me about 600 INR (about $8.10).

Now if I break this down, the amount of spaghetti served in the restaurant for one person would be about 80g. Along with this, the ingredients are olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs. Now if I cook the same thing at home, firstly, I can get an entire packet of 500g spaghetti for as less as 120 INR. Which means 80g spaghetti would cost me about 20 INR. Also, 500 g would easily serve seven happy and hungry bellies. The amount of olive oil needed in the quantity served in a restaurant is about two to three tablespoons. If I buy a 250ml olive oil bottle, it will give me about 17 tablespoons for just INR 300. So basically one tablespoon will be about INR 35, so the cost of the olive oil in making one plate of Aglio Olio is about 70 INR. Let’s add another 50 INR for the garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs. So the actual cost of the plate is made at home is 20+70+50 = 140 INR! And I paid 600 INR! The difference is huge!

So think again before you eat out if you are on a financial crunch. You can make so many more plates of Aglio Olio at home at the same price. While I do agree that it’s chef made and the ambient experience also matters, but now at least you know the difference.

    2. It will keep you healthy

There is an explosion of food categories that we are constantly exposed to, ranging from healthy bars to cereals that promise to make us slim, fibre-rich biscuits. But the truth is – any kind of processed or packaged food remains questionable on the health quotient. Some of the things you are likely to find in the food that you don’t cook are partially hydrogenated oils, titanium dioxide, artificial colours, adulterated spices, sodium nitrate, and nitrite, to name a few.

I personally have a problem trusting packaged food that claims to be healthy. The health market has exploded with so many options, that claim to transform our bodies in a span of days or weeks. But more often than not, these products end up wrecking what we already have. There is just so much sugar in fizzy drinks, or so much salt and trans fat in chips or packaged snacks.

We are also aware of the consequences of junk food, and we know deep down that we should not consume too much of it. Do you even feel happy after eating those cookies or gulping down that soda? Even if you do, I’m sure you do realise its long-term health effects and you probably also plan to cut down on it sometime in the future.

Cooking your own food will enable you to make most of the things that you buy, feel much happier and content. And most important, happy. Cooking your own food would also mean using oils and spices in moderation, and always eating fresh. As opposed to eating something full of preservatives. It will also help you keep your weight in check. Become more mindful of what you eat and reduce the quantity of junk in your diet. You will see the mental transformation yourself in just a few weeks.

3. You will be in charge of portions

There are times when you want to eat just a slice of a cake, while there are days when indulging is all you think of. When you cook your own food, you can decide how much you want to eat, so that there is no wastage or more need to eat. It also helps you buy perishable food like vegetables or meat in restricted quantities, so that there is absolutely no wastage. And because you buy everything yourself, you are much more mindful of the quantities.

Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

So on days that I crave for a slight hint of sweetness after my meals, I bake just a small cupcake for myself. And on days when I know a couple of friends are coming over, I bake an entire cake, and indulge! If you are cooking just for yourself, you know how hungry you are. So you cook only that much that you would want to eat. And nobody can define that for you.

So control your portions the way you want to and be in total charge! Trust me, it feels amazing.

4. Gatherings become much more meaningful

I simply love entertaining and I end up having my friends over on weekends for hearty homemade snacks and meals. To me, food is all about sharing and eating together. And there is no higher gratification then feeding people food made by you and enjoying the compliments along the way!

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When you start cooking, you also start realising the value of a shared meal. The joy of cooking for people you love and sharing little moments with them on the dining table is a beautiful feeling. And the compliments just keep pouring in! Cooking is a selfless effort and I always value people who cook for me. It is very emotional, as it requires a lot of patience, skill, and love. And cooking for others gives me immense happiness.

Just imagine if you make a meal for the first time for your parents, or your partner. It is bound to touch them because they know you made an effort. When we make an effort in cooking ourselves, we realise how much effort some amazing people like our mothers have put all our lives. Cooking makes us realise that effort, value the selfless labor much more and be more grateful.

All these points in no way mean that you cannot indulge! Do go out once in a while with your loved ones to have a meal at your favourite restaurant. Or order it from your favourite Chinese take away on that lazy weekend while you binge watch a series. But all I am saying is do not make that a lifestyle.

I hope this post inspires you to cook your own food. Do let me know what you think of this and you can always ask me any questions that you might have. I am also open to discussions in the comment section.

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Happy cooking!


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