In today’s fast-paced world, we consume over 30 percent of our daily calories away from home. These less-than-wholesome calories accumulate around our waists and drain our bank accounts.
So why do we eat out and shun the kitchen? Simple: convenience. We don’t have the time to toil away over a hot stove. However, evidence is mounting that we are paying big for the so-called convenience of outside food.
Obesity-related diseases are on the rise, as are the number of folks who are just plain unhappy with how their bodies look and feel. Cooking at home seems to be the first step in our road to healthier bodies.
Here are five reasons to cook and eat at home.
- It’s Good For You
Hyper-processed foods are harmful to our health, and that’s exactly where you’ve been getting the bulk of your calories. Even if restaurant food contains fresh produce, chances are high that the produce is not organic, local or non-GMO. Most of us are eating less than half of the recommended amount of fiber, fruit and vegetables, which eating at home could quickly change.
Simple meals made at home with fresh produce and organic meats or eggs are nutritionally superior to over-flavored, over-processed restaurant food. Don’t forget the high calorie beverages and starters that so often accompany a restaurant meal. When you eat at home, you take in more nutrient-dense calories that are higher in fiber.
- It’s Easier Than You Think
Eating out often has conditioned us to think that meals must have complicated flavors and accompaniments. This misconception has made us fear the kitchen. I urge you to reconsider.
Meals made at home need not mirror those ordered in restaurants. On the contrary, simple is better when it comes to home cooking. Plan your entire meal around a couple of pieces of fresh produce and a wholesome, lean protein. No need for complicated sauces or sides — these are where the harmful calories hide, anyway.
- It Costs Less
Fresh, simple ingredients do not cost much, especially when compared to the cost of prepared meals.
Shopping the perimeter of the store is always a good plan. Here you’ll find the fresh produce, meats, dairy and seafood. Venture into the aisles for oils and spices to compliment the fresh ingredients.
- It Is Preventative Medicine
The annual health care cost in the United States related to obesity is $150 billion, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide, this number is over $1 trillion annually.
Rather than waiting for you and your family members to experience the health risks related to obesity, start your own mission to cook simple meals at home and redirect your future. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
- It Reduces Body Fat
Eating at home is also one of the best ways to reduce your body fat. Meals eaten at home contain an average of 200 calories less than meals eaten out. Let me tell you, a reduction in 200+ calories per meal will quickly translate to pounds lost.
Start today, and don’t be afraid to start small.
Pick one meal that you’ll make at home either today or tomorrow, and write down your simple menu and grocery list.
And let’s not forget the place that a challenging, consistent exercise program has in your quest for good health and a fit physique. Many fitness programs like ours are specially designed to shed fat and to build muscle in all the right places.
Jeff Tomaszewski owns Max Strength Fitness with locations in Willoughby (440-226-8080) and Westlake (440-835-9090).