Whether you live on your own or are a busy parent, finding the time and energy to prepare home-cooked meals can seem like a daunting task. At the end of a hectic day, eating out or ordering in might feel like the quickest, easiest option. But convenience food can take a significant toll on your mood and health.
Processed food is typically high in chemical additives, hormones, sugar, salt, unhealthy fat, and calories, all of which can adversely affect your brain and outlook. It can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. It can also affect your waistline. A recent study showed that people who eat out consume an average of 200 more calories a day than those who prepare meals at home.
By cooking for yourself, you can ensure that you and your family eat fresh, wholesome meals. This can help you to look and feel healthier, boost your energy, stabilize your weight and mood, and improve your sleep and resilience to stress. When you prepare your own food, you’re also more aware of exactly what you’re putting in your body, and how different foods affect the way you think and feel.
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be complicated. Eat food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. That means replacing processed food with real food whenever possible and eating plenty of vegetables and healthy sources of protein. It doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen combining hundreds of different ingredients or slavishly following elaborate recipes. In fact, simple meals are often the tastiest. And you don’t have to be perfect and make every meal at home, either. Cooking at home just a few times a week can reap rewards.
Cooking at home is also a great way to spend time with others—and you don’t have to be an accomplished chef. Whatever your abilities or experience as a cook, you can learn to prepare quick and healthy meals that can have real benefits for your mental and physical health.
Preparing healthy meals at home can support your immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
It can give you more energy, improve how you sleep at night, and help you better manage health problems.
In women, cooking healthy food can help reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause, and boost fertility.
First published on: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/cooking-at-home.htm