Who doesn't love a home cooked meal? There are many benefits of cooking at home, from saved costs and time, to having control over what you're serving your family.
How about the satisfaction you get from creating an entire meal from scratch? Plus, the more time you spend in the kitchen, the more you will hone your skills as a home cook.
Here are a few of my favorite benefits of cooking at home.
Saves time and money
Probably my favorite reason of all - cooking at home saves time and money! Whether sitting down at a restaurant, grabbing fast food, or using a food delivery service to bring food to your door - they all add up by the end of the month.
Purchasing ingredients ahead of time costs a fraction of what it does to have food made for you. Plus, there are many recipes nowadays that take 30 minutes or less, or are made in a single pan. By the time you'd be arriving at the restaurant, food can be on your table and ready to eat at home.
No more asking "what do you want to eat?"
I can't be the only one who's had that dreaded back and forth. Plan your meals at the beginning of the week and fill your pantry with items you know the family will enjoy. By planning meals for Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday, there's no question as to what's for dinner.
To make this work, I suggest choosing recipes and foods that you're excited about. That way, you can stay motivated to actually cook the meal when the time comes.
Food is (usually) healthier when made at home
When you're cooking at home, it's much easier to make a healthy meal. First, your portion sizes are usually smaller than a restaurant's portions. Sometimes restaurants will give you two or more servings on a single plate.
Restaurants often add a lot of butter, sugar, and salt to their foods because, well... it tastes good! However, dishes can be made with less of these ingredients and still taste delicious.
Also, you're often partaking in a bread basket or chips and salsa when eating out, which you're usually not doing at home. Think of the calories you're saving by skipping the bread and appetizers alone.
American Heart Association - Portion Size Versus Serving Size
Make food according to your tastes
If you have dietary needs, or flat out don't like particular ingredients - good news! When cooking at home, you have full control over what goes into your meal.
Google your favorite dishes - there is a recipe for everything nowadays. I suggest searching until you find a recipe that matches your tastes. Too many substitutions can ruin a recipe, so keep looking until you find one that looks good without making changes.
You know who is making your food
Ever worry about who is making your food in the back of your local fast food restaurant, or if the kitchen is clean? Another benefit of cooking at home is that you know who is making your food, when the kitchen was last cleaned, and when the cook last washed his hands.
Hone your cooking skills
Cooking from home, even a few nights a week, will help you build a lifelong skill. The more you cook, the better you'll be at it! I mean, who doesn't love a good cook? Not only is it an impressive skill to have, but one that you'll use for the rest of your life.
Plus, you can pass down those skills to your children, who can grow up to be good cooks of their own.
Plan ahead, make extra
If you're into leftovers, cooking from home is a great way to make extra food that will last for several meals. I love making large batches of Slow Cooker Chili, then freezing it in portions for quick meals throughout the month.
If you cringe at the thought of leftovers, I suggest looking for recipes that are "freezer friendly". Not all foods hold up to freezing (creamy sauces and cooked pasta, for example), so look for recipes that specify that they keep well in the freezer.
Cook in your pajamas!
Maybe I should have opened with this, but you can cook at home in your pajamas! Instead of getting ready and, you know, putting on pants, stroll into the kitchen in your pjs and whip up a meal. No one will judge you!
One of my favorite benefits of cooking at home.
Want to learn how to cook, or improve your cooking skills?
Learning a new skill is easier said than done. While eating food is a daily necessity, we're not always taught how to cook for ourselves. Or, maybe you have a few basic dishes under your belt, but you want to expand your cooking knowledge.
There are many resources out there nowadays, from YouTube to in-person cooking classes, to help you feel confident in the kitchen.
My biggest piece of advice? Keep trying - cooking is a skill and will improve with practice.
- Sur la Table - In-Store Cooking Classes
- Groupon - Cooking Classes Near Me
- Search online for private, in-home cooking classes in your area
- Masterclass - Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking
- The Kitchn's Cooking School - FREE
- BBC Cooking Techniques - FREE (with an extensive library!)
- Learn How to Cook with America's Test Kitchen
Ready to cook? Check out my Top 10 Reader Favorite Dinner Recipes for some quick and easy dinner ideas.