While we recognize that not everyone has the time or ability to cook from home, let’s face it: home-cooked meals can often be healthier, tastier and a lot easier on the pocketbook. These meals don’t have to be overly complicated; they just require a little bit of planning. By preparing your own meals from scratch you are likely eating meals with more nutritional value, avoiding additives like hidden sugars and preservatives and saving you and your family money in the long term. Below are reasons we think it would be beneficial to transition from eating processed foods to home-cooked meals.
It’s easy to call Dominos or reach for Kraft Dinner when we’re pressed for time, but is the trade-off of convenience worth your long-term health? The chemicals and preservatives added to processed foods are meant to do various things that have little to do with nutrition, such as add colour or maintain a product’s freshness. Chemicals in processed foods known as PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, immunotoxicity, and decreased fertility. In one study the Silent Spring Institute involving over 10,000 people, they examined participant diets and blood samples. Results revealed individuals who cooked homemade meals had significantly lower levels of PFSA in their bodies compared to those who consumed processed foods and fast foods. When people eat more of these ultra-processed foods high in sugar, fat, salt and refined carbohydrates, these foods engage the brain’s dopamine producing reward system. Foods like ice cream, chips, cookies etc. are made to taste really good so you want to eat more, which is why it’s easier to binge eat or get “hooked” on these foods compared to the lower amounts of sugars in vegetables and fruit.
Depending on the restaurant, a typical meal while dining out will generally cost between $10-$30 per person, which excludes taxes and gratuity. If you’re dining out once a day for a week it can cost you approximately $140, and that’s only for 7 meals! With Canadian families spending an average of $220 per week on groceries, you can provide 5 days’ worth of meals for a family of four with the savings from making homemade meals (depending where you shop). Eating healthy on a budget is doable if you take the time to plan. And even if you’re not following a strict budget, you’ll save yourself money by planning.
Did you know the average time spent on social media per day in 2019 was 2 hours and 22 minutes!? That’s not including additional screen time on the computer, playing video games or watching TV. Imagine how much meal preparation could have been accomplished in that time!
Our tips for a successful, healthy and budget friendly shopping:
- Create a list of meals you want to make for the week.
- Check your local grocery store flyer to see what’s on sale.
- Create a grocery list from the meals you want to make and check your cupboards to prevent doubling ingredients.
- Shop on a full stomach to prevent purchasing any unnecessary items.
- Shop in the bulk aisle for nuts, seeds, grains and spices (many of these items you’re paying for is the packaging).
- Read labels and to avoid as many additives or preservatives as possible.
- Shop mostly on the edge of the store (the shelf stable highly processed foods are usually found in the middle).
- Load up on fruits and vegetables.
We’re not saying don’t ever eat out or support local eateries and restaurants. They’re an important part of the economy and of a great source for variety in our diets, and foods and flavours that many of us many not be cooking at home ever, or at least not without a lot of additional time and investment in learning how to cook those special dishes.
Home-cooked meals also don’t need to be costly or complicated. For an example, see our Beef Noodle Soup recipe here. But if you want other inspiring ideas for meals, check out our recipe section on www.kaslosourdoughpasta.com/recipes
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