Tip 7 of 10: Cook More

By: Rebecca Gray

There are so many reasons to cook at home! Home cooking gives us the opportunity to choose healthy ingredients over processed meals. You get to hand-select ingredients from local farmers or grow your own, making a bigger impact on the environment by significantly reducing the amount of transportation required to get food to your plate. Families also reap considerable benefits from eating home-cooked meals! Research finds that people who eat home-cooked meals on a regular basis tend to be happier and healthier and consume less sugar and processed foods, which can result in higher energy levels and better mental health. Eating home-cooked meals five or more days a week is even associated with a longer life. 


When you cook at home you control portions, salt, sugar, and trans fat and can avoid any ingredients your family may have allergies or sensitivities to. Shopping for your ingredients puts you in charge of where your food comes from. Shopping for your ingredients allows you to control whether your food is organically, locally and sustainably grown. Cooking at home allows you to add a variety of healthy foods to your diet, particularly fruits and vegetables.  


Ready to make your own meals but don’t know where to start? 

-Plan and schedule your home-cooked meals

    • Spend a little time each week planning your meals so that you can efficiently shop for your ingredients for multiple meals. 


– Cook once, eat twice 

    • Make larger quantities than you need for one meal and freeze the rest for future meals. 


– Cook and prep on the weekends 

    • Make time on the weekends to cook dishes to eat during the week when you are busier.  


– Invest in a slow cooker 

    • A slow cooker can help reduce your active cooking time. 


– Keep it simple 

    • Start small and commit to cooking one or two meals at home each week.


Meal Prep Made Simple 

  1. A La Carte. 

    • Each ingredient is on its own. This is the easiest way to construct your meals. No advance meal planning required. Just pull the fully prepped components and put them together. Store each ingredient in separate containers  


2. Mixed. 

    • The ingredients are all jumbled together. These are your salads, stir-fry’s, pastas, and soups. This is the most portable format and just as easy. 


3. Layered. 

    • The components come together in an organized way; think wraps, sandwiches, lettuce cups, pot pies, casseroles.  


4. Blended. 

    • Some or all of the ingredients are liquified at some point during the process. Think purees, dressings and sauces. 

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