The health benefits of cooking from scratch is 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 diary 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 begin 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 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 begin to wonder if I was even feeding my family food?
I wanted to feed my family pure, simple food.
Organically grown if possible.
Food with roots, seeds and bones.
Food 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 made major changes to was the way 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 of knowing what is exactly in your food than preparing it yourself.
When you are able to prepare your own food from scratch you can use the freshest ingredients, good fats and healthy proteins.
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 are able to better manage food allergies and negative food reactions.
When you cook at home you will more than likely eat well and do what’s best for your body.
Many people suffer from nut allergies and many of the foods today are made in factories that also process foods made with nuts.
There is very little way of knowing exactly how every single food packaged item is processed.
But at least you can help mange family allergies by adding in your own 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 all the extra onions, peppers, homemade or healthy store brought sauce with less sugar, the various healthier pasta options to choose from. Using well sourced cheese and ground beef. You can give that meal a complete nutritional boost by cooking it from scratch yourself.
Not to mention all 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
Understanding how to incorporate healthy fats into your meals can help improve overall health.
These books include information all about choosing good fats and knowing how to incorporate them into your meals.
5. Some studies show people who cook at home tend to have an overall healthier diet.
There are studies that suggest cooking meals at home produce healthier diets.
The more we stay away from fast food chains and cook quality meals from scratch we are giving our family an 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 a lot different now, opposed to 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 breads and sourdough recipes.
When it comes to meats, chicken, eggs and cheese I prefer buying local and organic 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.
During your grocery shopping, don’t be afraid to ask the butchers or farmers questions pertaining to your purchases.
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 to follow.
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 of the 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 are using 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 ahead 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 to cook with is exciting.
Learning tricks like how to improvise in the middle of a recipe is creative and boots 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 being used in places like long term care facilities to anxiety treatment for some patients.
Cooking and baking are showing to be effective in helping people simply feel better, according to studies and research.
Learning to cook from scratch has definitely helped to raise my self-esteem personally.
How rewarding it feels knowing that “I did this”!
By using an everyday skill such as cooking, is also a means of communication to your family that you are willing to go the extra mile at providing nutrient rich meals.
And somehow in the midst of 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 boosts low moods and ease stress.
AN ACT OF PATIENCE
The first time it took me almost 24hours 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 too may find yourself creating a slower paced life all together.
Giving you more to enjoy what matters most to you.
COOKING FROM SCRATCH BRINGS FAMILIES TOGETHER
There is something about sourdough waffles, chopping vegetable, and baking cookies that is 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 great conversation with my teenagers)
My husband and I usually find something about the evening’s meal to discuss.
From a new recipe I’m trying to a new health benefit I’ve learned about.
The smell of a bowl of sourdough on the counter, to a doubled yoke fresh farm organic egg sizzling is magnet that can pull a family together.
When you make meals from scratch you can teach your children how to eat healthy and make informed decisions about their choices.
Even at a young age.
Cooking from scratch teaches children that food is important and our choices about food is even more important.
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.
Being able to spend time together, even in the kitchen is such a blessing.
Cooking food, while building better relationships at home.
TIPS 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 taste better.
Mostly yes, but somethings taste different.
When making meals from scratch the real way, 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 brought teas off the shelf.
Yet it is refreshing and delicious.
But let’s say a homemade salad dressing.
Every homemade salad dressing that I’ve made taste 1000 times better than anything I’ve ever brought from the grocery store.
- When you begin making the switch to cooking from scratch you can save money on your grocery budget by getting multiple uses on 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 are loaded with tons of ingredients and can only be used for french fries.
When starting the journey of cooking from scratch connect with like minded cooks.
You will enjoy learning about cooking from scratch when you are able to share tips and recipes with people who have a similar perspective when it comes to preparing meals.
It’s easy to feel alone and as if no one else understands why you feel so strongly about organic produce or fermenting foods.
But there are tons of homemaker cooks just like you, who could talk about sourdough and free range chicken all day long.
OUR KID’S HEALTH SINCE COOKING FROM SCRATCH
First things first.
Yes, if I allowed my children (at lest 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 notice the children are are much more able to tolerate healthy home cooked meals with no stomach aches.
Cooking from scratch is one of my homemaking skills that I am extremely proud to be able to provided 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 a great 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.
Even if you’re not the gardener type, or ready to start canning your own fruits and vegetables.
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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