Cooking at home instead of eating out

It is no surprise that people enjoy buying food instead of making it themselves. Being able to pick up a prepared meal or have it delivered to your front door is much more convenient than cooking for yourself every day.

Statistics Canada states that 54 per cent of Canadians eat out or order takeout once a week or more. Although 57 per cent of Canadians try to choose their orders based on nutrition information provided on menus, takeout orders are not always the healthiest. According to DoorDash, the three most ordered menu items in 2022 were burgers, french fries, and pizza, none of which are healthy food options.

Cooking at home can be a much healthier alternative to ordering takeout and has many other benefits besides an improved diet. Keep reading to learn how home cooking can be a better option than ordering out.

Better diet

Pre-made meals, such as those bought at grocery stores or from fast-food restaurants, are not likely to have the required nutrients that are essential to the overall well-being of a human. As expected, they are often more likely to lead to obesity than a healthy body.

The greatest benefit of cooking at home is the opportunity for a more balanced diet. This does not mean that any home-cooked meal will automatically be healthy. Instead, it means that cooking at home allows for more control over what ingredients go into each dish.

When cooking for yourself or others, you are aware of what ingredients are being used and in what quantities. You are able to control portion sizes and account for dietary needs in ways that are usually not possible with pre-made meals.

One study reveals that adults who cooked at home were more likely to have healthier diets, regardless of whether or not they were trying to lose weight. This means that the health benefits of home cooking are for everyone, even if you do not currently have any diet-related health concerns.

Stimulate the brain

Cooking is a skill and, like any other skill, requires several coordinated mental functions to learn and perform. 

According to an article from Cleveland Clinic, cooking tests your organizational, problem-solving, and multitasking abilities, among others. These abilities are essential for creating a meal. They enable you to brainstorm an idea, find or create a recipe, measure ingredients, and simultaneously prepare multiple components of a dish.

These cooking-related abilities stem primarily from the prefrontal cortex of the brain’s frontal lobe. This area of the brain is responsible for any voluntary bodily action, learning, and the recollection of information.

Social function

Cooking can be a fun activity and a great way to bring family and friends together. Whether for the food preparation itself or the consumption of the meal afterward, cooking brings people together.

Cooking can be a way of preserving tradition. Using an old family recipe or cooking a well-known dish from your culture can be a way to connect to those close to you. On the other hand, cooking can also be used to branch out and explore different cultures and cuisines. Sharing traditional recipes with friends can be a great bonding experience and a way to expand cultural awareness.

Getting started

Starting up with home cooking does not have to be a daunting task. Canada’s Food Guide has several tips to help get you started.

  • Cook in large batches to stretch food over several meals, preventing the need to cook every day.
  • Keep these large batches simple in flavour so they can be repurposed for different dishes. This allows the creation of different meals from the same base. For example, a batch of chili from one night can later be used for tacos or as a topping for pasta.
  • Have healthy ingredients on hand. This can include ingredients like soup broth, bagged greens, pre-cut vegetables, canned fish, and canned lentils.
  • Instead of frying every meal, try other methods of cooking that do not require as much fat or oil, such as baking, grilling, or steaming.

Aside from all these benefits, cooking is also just a useful skill to have. Whether it is to engage with friends and family or to look out for your health, cooking at home is an excellent practice to get involved in. Try home cooking instead of buying out for your next meal; you just might have fun doing it.

About the author

Kyle Quilatan

Kyle is a writer for Youth Mind who studied English at Wilfrid Laurier University. When he’s not writing, he enjoys art and music.

Kyle Quilatan

Kyle is a writer for Youth Mind who studied English at Wilfrid Laurier University. When he’s not writing, he enjoys art and music.

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