By Martin Ebner
Too busy, tired or simply don't know how to cook? Excuses, excuses!
The truth is, great things come to those who prioritise their diet and if you want to be healthier, wealthier, more energetic, reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases, have better sex, lose weight and/or get buff, it's time you put on your chef's hat and get to work!
Here are 8 benefits of home cooking:
Build a better body
You'll have no doubt heard the expressions, “abs are made in the kitchen” or “it's 80% diet, 20% exercise”. Well, both are true!
Despite what you may think or more likely want to believe, you cannot out-train a bad diet no matter how hard you try. If you truly want to reap the rewards of all your hard work, sweat and tears in the gym, it's fundamentally important to start filling up the tank with healthy and nutritious foods.
By taking the time to prioritise home cooked food over eating out, you can build a much stronger and healthier body.
Control what you put in your mouth
You are what you eat unless you don't know what you're eating.
While eating out or grabbing a quick snack from the Kiosk might be convenient when short on time, it's worth taking note of what you're putting in your mouth. Eating clean (unprocessed or minimally processed foods) isn't a craze, it's smart. By buying the individual ingredients and cooking them yourself, you drastically reduce the consumption of preservatives, artificial flavours and colours, ingredients you can't pronounce and foods from an unknown origin.
Related: Your essential guide to clean eating
Learn more about food
Food should play a much more important role that simply filling you up and tasting good. A meal is an opportunity to provide your body with healthy and nutritious foods. By preparing meals yourself, you become much more aware of the nutrition content of foods and which vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they contain.
Make it better yourself
Maybe it's just me, my exceptionally high standards, my commitment to cooking or my traditionally tight Scottish tendencies, but I'd say 8 out of the 10 times I eat out, I'm left somewhat disappointed. Perhaps it's by the quality of the food, the miscalculated portion sizes, the shitty service or the fact that I know I could make it better, healthier and at a fraction of the cost in my own kitchen.
My own preferred practice, and recommendation is to elect home cooked food over restaurants whenever you can. When you spend time learning how to cook, you gain better insight into flavour combinations, healthy variations of certain dishes and become an expert at cooking to satisfy your palate.
Consume fewer calories and lose weight
If you cook, you'll consume fewer calories. Fact!
Most restaurants (despite my rant in the previous paragraph) prepare their dishes with taste in mind and very little importance given to the nutrition side of things. This means lots of calorie dense ingredients (butter, oils, sugar etc) and cooking methods (frying, roasting etc) are used when preparing their dishes. While 100 extra calories here and there will do you no harm, if you're eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, those extra calories will quickly add up to a couple of pounds or inches around your waistline.
It literally makes my blood boil when I hear someone say, “eating out is practically the same cost as eating at home”. To that, I say BULLSHIT! There's nothing you can't learn to cook at a fraction of the cost in your own home.
Admittedly, if you're cooking something elaborate like a 16 spice Indian curry dish, your initial investment the first time you cook it will be quite large. However, you then have 16 more spices in your kitchen artillery to reuse and experiment with.
A healthy domino effect
By taking control of what you eat and cooking more regularly, you'll feel much more energised and inclined to take control in other aspects of your life too. One great example is diet and exercise. The two commonly go hand in hand and you might find that once you have more control over your diet, you'll be encouraged to exercise more.
Impress your friends
Impress a new love interest, your friends and family by inviting them over for a home-cooked dinner. There's nothing more rewarding than feeding your nearest and dearest and let's face it, knowing how to cook is very sexy! Even if it goes tits up, those you cook for will be very appreciative that you made the effort.