10 Financial Reasons to Cook Your Own Meals

More than providing a means of nourishment, food has turned into an experience and a multi-billion dollar industry in all parts of the world. It has become an integral part of the local culture, which is why you cannot visit a city that you’ve never been to without trying the most popular food in the area.

Although there’s nothing wrong in trying out what food establishments have to offer, there’s no reason why you should not exert the effort in cooking your own meals right at home. There are many benefits to cooking every meal that you eat, which we will learn more about in the next sections.  

How Often Do Americans Eat Out?

First, let’s take a look at the frequency by which Americans eat out. According to Statista.com:

  • In 2013, food and drink sales in the US restaurant industry amounted to $659.31 billion.
  • For the same year, 835 of consumers visited quick service restaurants while more than 68% visited casual dining restaurants at least once a week. The average eater check was $13.75 in casual dining and $5.32 in quick service restaurants.
  • In casual dining restaurants, dinner is the most popular meal and American is the most popular cuisine.

Top 10 Reasons to Cook Every Meal You’re Consuming

According to NaturalHealthAdvisory.com, from 1965 to 1995, the time spent cooking by the average American declined by almost 40%. A person spends about 30 minutes per day preparing and cleaning up food.

Only half of households in the US cook dinner at home on a regular basis. The alternative options are pre-packed meals, fast food and other fare that they can purchase from dining or takeout establishments.

Despite the fact that it is a busy world that we live in where people want almost everything to be instantaneous, there is no reason why we should take on the same attitude when it comes to food. Instead of frequently ordering pizza or boxed, greasy Chinese food for dinner, you can cook meals right at your very own kitchen.

Here are the top ten financials reasons to cook every meal you eat:  

1. Cooking at home saves money.

What better reason is there for you to start cooking at home other than the fact that it saves you money?

If the average bill per person for one meal at a casual restaurant is $13.75 and you eat out five times a week, your dinner bill for one month would be $275. For the same amount, you can probably shop for healthy, cheap raw ingredients that you can cook as delicious meals at home.

When eating out, you would have to dress up, use up gas on the car to visit a local restaurant, spend money on tips and the meal itself – you are actually spending more than what you have to. Doing this too frequently will definitely take its toll on your budget. If you would like to save some serious cash, spend your food money wisely by cooking every meal you’re consuming.

2. Cooking at home saves you time.

Even for a casual restaurant, you would have to dress up and drive over or walk. Then, you’d have to wait for the food to be prepared and served before you can actually enjoy your meal.

Instead of going through all that ritual, why not use the time that you would save in preparing your own meals at home?

Go online and look for dishes that take only 30 minutes or less to make. As long as you have a stock of fresh ingredients in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator, you can easily prepare delicious dishes at home.

If you want, you can even cook in big batches and freeze half of what you cooked for serving later on. This will save you a lot of time, effort and cooking fuel – not to mention clean-up.

3. Cooking at home benefits the kids.

According to nutritional experts, children who consume home-cooked meals are less likely to be overweight.

Studies have shown that home-cooked meals include fresh, natural ingredients so your kids would not consume food with too much oil, sugar or trans-fat.

Even the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found out that kids who eat home cooked meals with their families are less likely to engage in vices like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. They also get better grades, and have a happier disposition in life.

4. Home cooked dishes simply taste better.

When you’re eating at home, don’t you usually want to savor every bite?

This is especially true if you are feasting on home-cooked meals like slow-cooked stews or your mom’s special meat loaf recipe. Although microwaveable dinners are quick and inexpensive, they usually taste like cardboard. With home-cooked meals, you can use spices in their natural form and do everything you can to make the dishes taste mouthwateringly good.

5. You’d know exactly what you are eating when you cook your own food.

From the time that you put items on your grocery cart, you are already making that choice to cook healthy meals for your family.

If you always rely on takeout meals or restaurant dishes, you will never really know how the ingredients were prepared or how the food was cooked, would you?

By making sure that you are cooking every meal at home, you would know exactly what you are eating and what ingredients you are using.

If you choose to go with organic fruits and veggies or lower-calorie options, you can definitely do so through the raw ingredients that you will use to cook food.

6. You can live a very healthy lifestyle.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a commitment. You cannot do it one moment and then slack off and eat fastfood or junk food the next.

Once you’ve made that choice to live a healthier lifestyle, you need to commit to it – starting from the way that your food is prepared all the way to make sure that you are getting physical exercise as well. Combining these two together will allow you to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.

7. You can resist the temptation to overeat.

If you would like to lose weight but you hate going to the gym, you might want to go on a food-based weight loss plan.

By cooking your own meals at home, you can control the portions and the ingredients used – so you can lose weight much more quickly. Controlling the portions will allow you to resist the temptation to overeat.

If you’re on a diet-based weight loss plan, it might be a good idea to cook all your meals at home so that you can stay away from the temptation of having to order that slice of cake for dessert, or drinking sugary beverages instead of just plain water.

8. You can eliminate ingredients that cause food allergies and sensitivities.

For parents with kids who have food allergies and sensitivities, cooking their own meals at home will give them full control over what the children consume.

If you have a daughter with peanut allergies or if your son develops rashes once he accidentally eats shellfish, you can steer clear of these ingredients when cooking your own meals.

Another possible allergen found on restaurant food is gluten, a protein found in rye, barley, and wheat. If you have a family member who has gluten intolerance, you can look for other alternatives on which food to serve if you are cooking your own meals right at home.

9. You’re 100% assured of food safety because the dishes are prepared in your very own kitchen.

Sanitation is yet another problem when you’re eating out. Although most restaurants have food safety and sanitation standards to follow, you really will feel safer as a parent knowing that the way that food is prepared in your kitchen is safe for everyone’s health.

Keeping your kitchen clean and sanitized at all times is a must if you plan to cook all of your meals at home.

10. You can turn preparing meals and eating together into good family time.

Finally, you can use that time to prepare and cook food as your bonding time with the kids. 

If you’re a working mom, ask your kids to help you prepare dinner as you ask them how their day went. If you’re a married couple, you can use eating together as a way to make your bond stronger.

When food is prepared with love, it becomes more than just a means of nourishment, but it also touches something inside you. You can even use your kid’s cooking skills as a means of training to prepare them for what’s ahead once they grow into full-fledged adults.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why it pays to cook every meal at home. If you frequently eat out, start by decreasing the number of times that you are relying on restaurant food for nourishment. Prepare your own food at home, so that you can enjoy its benefits to your health, your budget, and your family as a whole.

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Oana Schneider: Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.