When your stomach starts to grumble, do you reach for a take-out menu or roll down to the nearest fast food joint to get yourself a meal? During a hectic day with your kids do you throw some microwave-fresh chicken nuggets at them and pray that they will:
1. eat more than the throw on the floor and
2. eat long enough to give you some peace and quiet?
Are you struggling to control your weight or maintain your energy levels? If these or similar conditions apply to you then you need to discover the benefits of cooking!
At first glance it may seem counterintuitive to think that cooking could simplify and enhance your life. Who has the time, right? Or maybe you do not think that you can cook good enough to produce something edible. You would be surprised to learn that there are many benefits to preparing food for yourself and others:
When you eat out you have almost no control over what you consume. Somebody else is dictating your portion sizes, food quality, and believe me when I tell you that they are more concerned with the bottom-line than your waistline. Most restaurants purchase the cheapest food available to maximize their profits.
Cheaper foods are those with a longer shelf life (high in preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and trans-fats), higher in fat (fatty cuts of meat are cheaper), and lacking in essential nutrients. When you shop for the ingredients for your food you have to final word when it comes to quality and content. People who prepare their own meals tend to have healthier diets because they eat more vegetables and fruits. In addition, they tend to purchase higher quality ingredients than you would find at a restaurant.
When you cook your own food your body is not the only thing that gets healthier. Your bank account gets better too. Preparing your own meals allows you to avoid paying for the labor to prepare your food. For instance, did you know that you could get twice as much filet mignon if you buy it at the grocery store or butcher and cook it yourself? It is true! If you go to a nice restaurant, this delicious steak will cost between -80. If you go to your neighborhood supermart, you can get two quality filets for around .
At your grocer you can also buy foods in bulk, reducing the cost. If you are in a time crunch you can pre-prepare food on the weekend and freeze meals to re-heat later. Pay yourself to cook your meals and get your food just how you like it!
Another way that you can save money preparing your own meals is to use fresh ingredients from your garden. Tomatoes, green beans, peas, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, and many other vegetables are easy to grow and prepare. You can get plenty of seeds for just pennies over a dollar.
What kind of time benefits could you possibly get from cooking? Does it not take more time to boil water and melt butter and chop and mix and saute? Yes, but when I say time benefits, I am talking about quality time.
One of my favorite things to do with my daughters (ages 2 and 5) is to prepare a meal. We have fun chopping vegetables, mixing batters and counting out ingredients. They feel so important helping out with the cooking and it teaches them to work and acquire some skills in the kitchen for themselves.
Cooking with your children is a great opportunity to teach them about their health and safety with things like knives and the hot stove. It also teaches them to help keep the kitchen clean and safe from bacteria. One of the other benefits is that they are more likely to eat foods that they helped prepare.
Even if you do not have children you can still benefit from the time spent preparing a meal. It allows you a break from the grind of life. You can express your creativity and style in the kitchen. For some people it is a great stress relief to spend time cooking. Trust me, chopping carrots or tenderizing a steak with tenderizing hammer can feel pretty good when you have had a hard day. Besides that, cooking a stew will make you feel better than sitting and stewing over your problems. You may be really impressed with some of the things that are coming out of your very own oven.
I have yet to find a cookie recipe that just makes one cookie or a cake recipe that just makes one slice. It can be fun to share your creations with others. Bring a slice of pie to a friend and brighten their day. Cooking can be a romantic date when you prepare a meal together and share it by candle light or even in front of the television.
My wife swaps cooking nights with a neighbor. She will cook enough for both families two nights a week and another two nights our neighbor cooks for us. As a result we have become great friends with this family, my wife gets two nights off from cooking per week and it is fun to experience another cooking style. We have a lot of fun brainstorming new and interesting things to cook and we rarely have repeats.
So what are you waiting for? It is time for you to start cooking. Find a style that you like. Get a book, take a class, call your mom, or ask a friend about how you can get started. Look up all of those weird looking vegetables from the produce aisle at the store and learn how to cook them into a delicious meal. When you do, you will find yourself healthier, wealthier and fuller, and I am not just talking about your belly.
About the Author
By the way, you can whip up restaurant recipes in your own kitchen from http://www.pickupcooking. Anyone can learn how to cook, even if you have not cooked before. For more cooking ideas, go to http://www.pickupcooking/cooking/.