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Eating Better By Cooking More

There are so many health resolutions made at the stroke of twelve on New Year’s Eve, and one of our favorites, here at Quick RX Refills, is more home cooked meals. This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider healthy eating and weight loss, but it can be a major help in the long run.

In an age when you can have just about anything delivered to your front door, it’s tempting to buy premade dinners rather than cook them yourself. Even the grocery store is loaded with packaged goodies and frozen foods that resemble home cooked meals. Unfortunately, not all of these meals are giving you the same levels of vitamins and nutrients as fresh food does. Here are some of the benefits to cooking more in the new year.

1. You Choose the Ingredients: One of the best parts about cooking at home is that you get to choose your own ingredients. This doesn’t limit you as much as prepackaged foods do, because you don’t have to scan the ingredients list for additives or allergens. If you have a dairy allergy, you can keep milk products out of your cooking, similarly, if you’re trying to keep your carb count low, you can do so naturally without the worry of bread crumb fillers being in the dish.

Cooking at home means that you can use fresh or frozen ingredients at your leisure. It may take a little extra time in the kitchen, but there are plenty of recipes for busy work nights that will help you keep kitchen time low, and flavor high.

2. Healthy Alternatives: Home cooking gives you the option to choose healthy alternatives for your weekly meals. You want French fries, but you don’t want all the added saturated fat? Peel and dice a sweet potato, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and lay lengthwise on a cookie sheet for baking. You can retain the same delicious flavors and smells, and experience comfort foods without adding to the waistline.

You can even make baked goods healthier by using unsweetened applesauce as a sweetener, rather than sugar. Or you can experiment with rice and almond flour, instead of the standard wheat flour that you normally use. Cooking at home gives you the freedom to create your own meals, without having to settle for the standards of prepackaged food companies.

3. Planning with Meal Prep: Finally, cooking your own food, rather than buying meals, means that you can plan ahead, and create meals for the whole week if you want to. Select a day when you don’t have much on the go, and set it aside for meal prep. Cook up lunches or suppers for the entire week, dish them out into individual Tupperware, or save them in a casserole dish to bake later, and freeze.

This makes healthy eating so much easier, because you will never be left staring into the refrigerator hungry with nothing to eat. Select any of your prepped meals, heat, and enjoy. This works well for children’s school lunches, your own work lunches, and family dinners.

January, 2017 is the perfect time to reintroduce home cooking to your life. Even if you can’t cook every night, cutting back on takeout will save you money, and added inches on the waistline. To make the transition into home cooking easier, make a list at the beginning of each week, and plot out daily meals, and the ingredients you will need to make them. Once you know what you’re cooking, purchase the ingredients and have them waiting and ready for use. This is half the battle, and when it comes time to cook, you’ll be prepared.

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