Paul has been passionate about preparing, cooking, and eating healthy food for over 30 years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
Rather than seeing cooking as a chore, I am one of those people who loves to make my own meals. It's not just about the fun of overcoming the culinary challenges—making meals from scratch means that you get to control the quantity and quality of your food, and can enable a healthy and affordable diet. There is also something special about feeding family and friends that leads to stronger emotional bonds.
10 Pros of Making Meals Yourself
Here are my main advantages of homemade meals:
- Quality control
- More affordable
- Portion size control
- Fresh ingredients
- Personal dietary requirements can be met
- Brings people together
- Time efficiency
- Educational opportunities
- Flexibility and customization
I look at each of the above in more detail below.
1. Control the Quality
Homemade food mean that you have complete control of what goes into your meals. Eating pre-prepared products, or takeout food, can often mean consuming lower-quality ingredients, which have been used purely for reasons of cost or convenience for the manufacturer or provider. Making meals yourself also enables you to avoid the numerous additives and preservatives that can go into food nowadays and instead, consume highly nutritional meals.
2. It's More Affordable
Eating out all the time, ordering takeout food, or buying pre-prepared products can get expensive if you are doing it regularly. Buying the raw ingredients, such as vegetables, meat, pasta and rice, can work out much cheaper over time. This especially true if you are efficient in using the fresh food that you already have; for instance, if you have onions, mushrooms, and garlic in the fridge, you may want to find a recipe that includes these three ingredients.
3. Eat a Healthier Diet
You can plan your meals so that they provide a balanced diet. Healthier foods can be maximized, while unhealthy ingredients can be minimized or missed out. Many commercially prepared foods contain excessive amounts of fat, sugar and salt, as well as unwelcome additives. When you cook at home, you control what your meals have in them.
4. Control Portion Sizes
It's easy to overeat when you go to a restaurant, or have a takeaway delivered—big portions can make healthy restraint difficult. Homemade meals mean that you can make and serve an appropriate amount of food and there's no temptation to consume more than appropriate.
5. Enjoy Fresh Ingredients
Commercially prepared products are often transported and stored. They contain preservatives and other ingredients to slow down the rate of deterioration in quality and taste. Fast food restaurants often have readymade food shipped in, which is then heated up on site. Making your own meals from scratch means that you can always cook with fresh ingredients, which means that your food is usually both tastier and more nutritious.
6. Meet Your Dietary Requirements
Eating out in a restaurant, or buying commercially prepared food can be very challenging if you have special dietary needs; for example, if you have an allergy, an intolerance to something such as gluten, or a condition such as diabetes. A similar thing is true if you have chosen a diet on moral or health grounds, such as vegetarian or vegan. Having meals made from scratch means that you know exactly what is going into the recipe.
7. It Brings People Together
There is an emotional side to preparing, serving, and then eating food as a group. It deepens bonds between friends and family. The meal becomes part of something bigger. Ordering a takeout, or heating up a pre-prepared meal in the microwave just doesn't have the same effect. Likewise, there is something much more personal about preparing a meal with your own hands, rather than just eating in a restaurant.
8. It Saves Time
Many people think of cookery as a hassle, but in practice it can often be a big timesaver. There are many meals can be made in around twenty minutes, others that only need a little prep before they can be left to cook in an oven, pan, or slow cooker. It's often less effort and quicker than the alternatives.
9. It's Educational
Making homemade meals involves you much more deeply with food, and you end up learning a lot more about what you are eating. This can mean exploring the cuisines of other cultures, as well as discovering more about nutrition. Cookery is in essence a combination of art and science, the art is in how the food looks, smells, and tastes, the science comes from how the various ingredients react with each other, especially when exposed to heat.
10. It's Flexible and Creative
Making your own meals can enable you to explore a multitude of recipes and dishes that you may not have encountered if you'd stuck to buying commercially prepared food. Must of us can fall into a rut regarding what we buy at the supermarket, as well as which restaurants and takeaways we patronize. But making your own food enables you to access the wealth of recipes that are on the internet, in magazines, and on television. Once you master a recipe, you can then customize it. That's the beauty of homemade meals, you are always in control.
© 2020 Paul Goodman