As I previously noted, cooking is not without it’s difficulties. Grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation and washing dishes come to mind. So what are the benefits that outweigh these challenges? The most important for many people is saving money. Compared to eating out, it’s a no-brainer. One blogger calculated a savings of more than $8000 in a decade by giving up 2 meals out per week. Of course, if college student staples like ramen noodles and pop-tarts are consumed at meal time, it may be hard to save money by cooking. But eating like that for long is seriously dangerous and is almost always interspersed with several trips for fast food. I recommend making an effort to buy local foods at a farmers market or a farm co-op which delivers periodically. The next best option is to buy seasonal foods at the grocery store keeping your eyes open for coupons and deals. I previously mentioned that my son made chili loaded with fresh vegetables for $1.50 per child even with many getting seconds! (i.e. It was healthy, cheap and they loved it.) The myth that meals cooked from scratch using real food are expensive needs to go. For many reasons, it’s the least expensive way to eat!
The second important issue is that meals prepared from whole ingredients taste better. At least they do after you break an addiction to sugar and learn how to prepare and savor delicious whole foods. This is especially true given our increasing understanding that saturated fat along with monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated fats are important components of a healthy diet. Fats are the essence of savory delicious meals along with herbs and spices and seasonal vegetables. The many chemicals included in processed foods which include flavor and texture enhancers as well as preservatives and the ever-present high fructose corn syrup simply cannot compare in taste with the foods we were designed to eat. So learning to cook will be easy on your budget and provide delicious meals for you and your family or friends. Next time, I’ll discuss the positive social aspects of home cooking and the fact that it’s virtually essential for good health.