Over the past few months, I’ve had a lot of people share with me that one of their biggest struggles to eating healthy is that they hate to cook. What? Seriously!?
To be honest, I go through times when I just don’t want to be in the kitchen either. You lose that spark, that joy to be creative and nourish yourself. It happens.
It doesn’t help that it’s all too easy these days to order takeout, go out for lunch, or meet your husband at a restaurant for dinner. Just one quick phone call and swipe of the credit card and you’re done.
If you’re thinking “yup, that’s me”, please read on…
Now, I will acknowledge that there is something magical about going out for dinner and having someone wait on you. I believe that eating out is fun on occasion. But, when it comes to a daily habit, eating out can be the biggest thing standing in the way of your health.
Personally, I rarely eat out. It started as a way to save big money, but over the years it’s become a choice I make for my health.
Now you’re thinking, “what’s so bad with eating out!?”.
Here’s the thing…
The first and biggest problem with eating out on a constant basis is that you become quickly disconnected with not only where your food comes from but also with the innate need to be involved in nourishing yourself. When you don’t actively take part in the gathering (shopping), preparing, and cooking of your meals, you are missing out on this very important piece of your health. Connecting to your food and understanding what it takes to nourish every cell in your body is pivotal for great health.
I’m sure you can agree that for the most part, when you eat out, you are less likely to make healthy choices. Not only do you not know what’s in your food, you’re more likely to choose things with heavy sauces or fancy names. By not knowing what is in your food, you are almost always ingesting unhealthy food. Hydrogenated oils, mass-produced sauces and meats, preservatives, loads and loads of sugar, salt and more…
Most restaurants aren’t dedicated to food quality and nutrition. They care about flavour (sugar and salt), presentation, and $$. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has restaurants that DO care about food quality, then I highly recommend sticking to those types of places whenever you do go out.
Lastly, in case you haven’t noticed, eating out is costly. It adds up like crazy. When you consider the cost of cooking your own food, it’s a shocking difference. That’s not even considering the cost it has on your health.
So, what’s so great about cooking at home?
You will automatically be more connected with the innate need to nourish your body. You will be involved in the primitive acts of gathering food, preparing it and cooking it. This connection not only helps you learn more about your body but it also helps encourage you to make healthier food choices in general.
There is no question that eating at home is far more beneficial in terms of your health. You decide what goes into your food (no sugar-laden sauces). You have a chance to spark creativity in yourself. You will feel the pride of creating a delicious meal that everyone loves. You’ll also be less likely to overeat. Not only will your health improve, but so will your digestion and appreciation of your food.
Cooking at home is also the perfect time to really connect with your family or friends. Have you ever noticed how everyone gathers in the kitchen when they come over for a visit? It’s the place of connection, love, and joy. By taking the time to learn to use your kitchen, you will also be teaching your children and grandchildren the important skill of feeding themselves. After all, isn’t that the most basic lesson any adult can give to a child?
If nothing else connects with you, just look at how much you spend every month on restaurants and eating out. I encourage you to keep track for the next few months and see what that number comes out to be. Then, cut it by 75% and you’ll have a better idea of the cost of eating at home. I guarantee you’ll be shocked.
*Related – Your Body is Talking. Are You Listening?
Ok, so now you’re in. You want to find a way to enjoy cooking at home more. Where do you start?
Tips to eat at home more often:
- Choose simple meals. Don’t choose recipes that call for 30 ingredients. Keep it simple. Use your slow cooker, make soup, find meals that are quick and easy to complete. Want a few suggestions – come check out my favorite recipes here.
- Start small and plan only 1-2 meals to cook at home each week.
- Invite friends over for a potluck instead of meeting at a restaurant. Have everyone bring a dish and share in the cooking responsibilities.
- If your family (husband, kids…) are picky eaters, try asking them what meals they want or like. Involve them in the process and see if you can cook as a family.
- Make cooking time fun. Give yourself enough time to prepare and turn on some loud dance music. Make it quality time with yourself or your family.
- Involve others in the cooking process. Meet a friend to grocery shop, ask your husband or children to help, or invite friends over and cook together instead of having it all done when they arrive.
- Try batch cooking and make best friends with leftovers. Batch cooking means that you take 1-3 hours at a time and cook multiple meals. It’s much more time efficient as you are already in the kitchen making something. Make a big batch of soup and chili at the same time. Roast a chicken while you make a salad. Plan to have leftovers. If you have a freezer, the best thing you can do is cook once and eat for 4 meals. Use leftovers for lunch the next day to avoid eating out.
- Track how much you spend on restaurants and eating out. Sometimes, just this simple fact of seeing that number on paper can be enough to motivate the chef in you.
- Take some time to reflect on WHY you eat out. Why do you hate cooking? Why don’t you enjoy your kitchen? Maybe you feel underappreciated, overwhelmed, or like you’re a bad cook. Maybe you don’t like the layout of your kitchen. These are all things you can change or do something about!
- Optimize your kitchen for cooking. Organize your spice drawer. Declutter the cabinets. Throw out the expired foods. Hang a beautiful photo. Buy flowers. Slap on a new coat of paint. Do whatever you need to feel happy in your kitchen.
The bottom line is that when it comes to eating healthy, you NEED to find a way to enjoy cooking at eating at home.
So, if you want to feel better, lose weight, and otherwise be healthy, I encourage you to start small and try finding ways to make cooking at home fun and easy.
If you want more guidance and help in learning to love your kitchen again, please reach out to me HERE. I’d love to help in any way that I can!
Love & Good Home Cooking,