The health benefits of cooking from scratch are worth all the extra effort and hard work.
Cooking with fresh produce when it has reached its nutritional peak is an excellent way to get the most vitamins and nutrients into your family’s bodies.
Using well-sourced meats and dairy provides a sustainable and trusted way to feed real food to your family straight from the farm to the table.
So why is cooking from scratch something I stayed away from for so many years??
- I didn’t think cooking from scratch made a big difference.
- Lack of understanding.
I’ll confess, I used to believe that as long as I was in the kitchen whipping up meals, that was all that mattered.
But after battling constant stomach aches from a few of my children, I began to do my homework on the type of foods I was preparing.
I discovered that many of the popular, quick food items in our home were not healthy at all.
As I took the time to read the ingredients on the packaged foods, it felt more like reading a science book than a food list.
More chemicals made the list than the actual food itself.
The endless artificial flavors and colors.
Harmful additives and preservatives.
And not to mention the many “foods” that are genetically altered.
Companies use preservatives and additives to help preserve the long shelf life of many items I used to keep stocked in my pantry.
I began to wonder if I was even feeding my family food?
I wanted to feed my family pure, simple food.
Organically grown if possible.
Natural food with roots, seeds, and bones.
Food that is not processed to the point that the nutritional value is completely gone.
This new way of thinking set me on a cooking from scratch journey that I have no plans of ending.
After taking steps to streamline my home management, one of the first areas I changed significantly was how I prepared meals in the kitchen.
5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF COOKING FROM SCRATCH
- You have more control over what goes into your food.
There is no better way to know what is in your food than preparing it yourself.
You can use the freshest ingredients, good fats, and healthy proteins when preparing your food from scratch.
And, you also know exactly how much of all the ingredients you’re using.
You can easily increase the veggies and decrease things like salt and sugar.
2. You can better manage food allergies and adverse food reactions.
When you cook at home, you will likely eat well and do what’s best for your body.
Many people suffer from nut allergies, and many foods today are made in factories that also process foods made with nuts.
There is a minimal way of knowing exactly how every single food packaged item is processed.
But at least you can help manage family allergies by adding your ingredients at home.
This allows you to customize recipes.
You will also know exactly how the food was made.
3. You can instantly increase the nutritional content in meals from scratch.
Let’s take frozen packaged lasagna. (This is a great meal when you are in a pinch for time)
Pretty standard when we think about nutritional value, right?
But, frozen lasagna can not compare to fresh homemade goodness.
Think about the extra onions, peppers, homemade or healthy store-bought sauce with less sugar, and the various healthier pasta options. You can use well-sourced cheese and ground beef. Then, you can give that meal a complete nutritional boost by cooking it from scratch yourself.
Not to mention the many veggies you can “hide” in homemade lasagna that the kids won’t even know they’re eating.
Shredding squash and carrots into homemade lasagna can go completely unnoticed.
4. You learn the many benefits of good fats.
I was once one who thought the answer to healthy eating was staying away from fats.
“Fats are bad,” was what I thought.
Until I read the following helpful resources:
- Fats and Oils – The Complete Guide to Fats and Oils in Health and Nutrition By: Udo Erasmus
Incorporating healthy fats into your meals can help improve overall health.
These books include information about choosing good fats and how to incorporate them into your meals.
5. Some studies show people who cook at home tend to have an overall healthier diet.
Some studies suggest cooking meals at home produces healthier diets.
The more we stay away from fast-food chains and cook quality meals from scratch, we are giving our family the advantage of a healthy lifestyle.
This doesn’t mean we are turning into the next world-class chef necessarily.
We are simply choosing to nurture and provide wholesome meals for our families.
YOU WILL GROCERY SHOP HEALTHIER WHEN YOU COOK FROM SCRATCH
My grocery cart looks different now than in my pre-cooking from scratch days.
I’m always grabbing things like a few pounds of potatoes.
New herbs to try.
Organic fruits and vegetables. We usually keep plenty of bananas, apples, and oranges on hand.
Flour for baking loaves of bread and sourdough recipes.
Regarding meats, chicken, eggs, and cheese, I prefer buying local and organics from the farmer’s market.
You will naturally find yourself buying less canned and prepackaged items and wanting to buy the best of everything for your ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to ask the butchers or farmers questions about your purchases during your grocery shopping.
Being a smart consumer means being an informed consumer.
So don’t be afraid to ask questions about your food purchases.
Most often, ethical farmers are pretty proud of the work that goes into the harvest they produce.
And usually gladly enjoy sharing about the processes they use.
When it comes to grocery shopping inside most stores, there’s a grocery store formula that is pretty standard.
Focus on shopping the perimeter of the store and staying clear of the aisles as much as possible.
Around the outside perimeter of most grocery stores is where many produce and fresher foods can be found.
COOKING FROM SCRATCH IS THERAPEUTIC
Learning to cook from scratch does a lot more besides putting filling healthy meals on the table.
Cooking in your kitchen can be therapeutic for you in many ways.
When you use your hands, tastebuds, and tweaks to recipes, you cause all the creative juices in your brain to get going.
Although you do take time to plan in most cases, there is still plenty of room for spontaneity.
From my experience, cooking from scratch feels a lot like art.
The challenge of using raw ingredients for cooking is exciting.
Learning tricks like how to improvise in the middle of a recipe is creative and boosts confidence.
For example, out of buttermilk? No problem. Combining milk and vinegar will instantly give you buttermilk to use instead!
A NATURAL DOPAMINE
Therapeutic kitchens are popping up all over.
Therapeutic kitchens are used in places like long-term care facilities for anxiety treatment for some patients.
According to studies and research, cooking and baking are effective in helping people feel better.
Learning to cook from scratch has helped to raise my self-esteem personally.
How rewarding it feels knowing that “I did this”!
Using an ordinary skill such as cooking is also a means of communicating to your family that you are willing to go the extra mile to provide nutrient-rich meals.
And somehow, amid the many dishes, vegetable peelings, and dusting of flour on the kitchen counter, it is all still soothing and relaxing throughout the process.
Research results have also shown that cooking in the kitchen can boost low moods and ease stress.
AN ACT OF PATIENCE
The first time it took me almost 24 hours to bake bread, I knew I was on to something special.
Thankfully, not all recipes require such rising and resting time.
But patience is one tool you will need in the kitchen when cooking from scratch.
Nowadays, even when I’m not in the kitchen, I find myself much more aware of the need for me to practice patience.
My days have to run a little slower.
And that’s okay.
At times I intentionally take a few deep breaths and slow down.
And honestly, I love the slower pace.
You can not always rush home-cooked meals, and that’s just a part of the process you have to decide to embrace.
The more you cook from scratch; you may find yourself creating a slower-paced life altogether.
Giving you more time to enjoy what matters most to you.
COOKING FROM SCRATCH BRINGS FAMILIES TOGETHER
There is something about sourdough waffles, chopping vegetables, and baking cookies that are just irresistible.
At least in my house anyway.
Even if the children don’t stick around long, from the oldest to the youngest, they all are drawn into the kitchen when blenders and egg cracking get going.
And that’s the perfect time to start a conversation about anything.
You’ll be surprised at how long you and your teenager will talk. (Hint. That’s one of my secrets to having a great conversation with my teenagers)
My husband and I always find something about the evening’s meal to discuss.
The smell of a bowl of sourdough on the counter, to a doubled yoke fresh farm organic egg sizzling, is a magnet that can pull a family together.
When you make meals from scratch, you can teach your children how to eat healthily and make informed decisions about their choices.
Even at a young age.
Cooking from scratch teaches children that the food we eat matters, and our choices about where our food is sourced from are even more critical.
Being together in the kitchen and eating together is a great way to live out the example of what it means to prioritize family.
Especially for those of us striving to implement biblical homemaking skills in our home, family is always our number one priority.
Spending time together, even in the kitchen, is such a blessing.
TIPS FOR STOCKING YOUR KITCHEN FOR COOKING FROM SCRATCH
You can print this list of my favorite tools for cooking from scratch!
- Many people want to know if food from scratch tastes better.
Mostly yes, but some things taste different.
When making meals from scratch naturally, with real food, you will have a less artificial taste.
For instance, homemade blueberry tea.
This recipe calls for only blueberries, lemon, and a sweetener if you prefer.
The results are a delicious, healthy tea.
But, it will not be as sweet as most store-bought teas off the shelf.
Yet it is refreshing and delicious.
But let’s say a homemade salad dressing.
Every homemade salad dressing I’ve made tastes 1000 times better than anything I’ve ever brought from the grocery store.
- When you begin switching to cooking from scratch, you can save money on your grocery budget by getting multiple uses for your ingredients.
A bag of potatoes can be used for mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, hash browns, soups, or fried potatoes (and you know the exact ingredients)…potatoes.
A bag of frozen french fries is loaded with tons of ingredients and can only be used for fries.
When starting the journey of cooking from scratch, connect with like-minded cooks.
You will enjoy learning about cooking from scratch when you can share tips and recipes with people with a similar perspective on preparing meals.
It’s easy to feel alone and as if no one else understands why you feel strongly about organic produce or fermenting foods.
But many homemaker cooks like you could talk about sourdough and free-range chicken all day.
OUR KID’S HEALTH SINCE COOKING FROM SCRATCH
First things first.
Yes, if I allowed my children (at least the younger ones), they would probably binge out on snacks all day if I allowed them to.
They’re still kids.
But, they see and understand the difference between real food we cook at home versus fast food.
Eating more meals from scratch has also been great for helping them build discipline in making better food choices.
We do this by showing them healthier options to choose from.
We’ve also noticed the children are much more able to tolerate healthy home-cooked meals with no stomach aches.
Cooking from scratch is one of the homemaking skills I am incredibly proud to be able to provide for my family.
MORE ON COOKING MEALS FROM SCRATCH
Cooking from scratch has made a huge difference in our family’s health, my self-esteem as a mom, and it’s been an excellent learning method for teaching my children necessary life skills.
I’m always learning new techniques while trying and creating new recipes.
The more you cook from scratch the more confident in the kitchen you will become.
What’s so great about blossoming into someone who cooks most of their meals from home, from scratch is that you will feel a sense of pride knowing that you are feeding your family real food made by you.
You will be able to say, YOU DID THAT.
Taking the time to prepare food in your kitchen with your family is an investment that will pay for years to come!
Remember to grab your free copy of My Favorite Tools for Cooking from Scratch Checklist.
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