Overindulged over Christmas? Is a life of takeaways and eating out contributing to a rounder belly and emptier wallet? There’s an easy solution that can help you with both of these problems – cooking from scratch. Hardly a revolution in terms of healthy living, but it could make a big difference to your wellbeing and finances. Here’s the case for cooking from scratch, with plenty of tips to help you get started.
Why cooking from scratch is… healthier
Cut out all of those added nasties
When you buy ready made food in a supermarket or shop, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in it. A quick look on the label will tell you that there’s more salt, sugar and fat than you probably need, which could be contributing to weight gain, high cholesterol and more. When you cook from scratch, you lessen the effects of too much sugar in your diet and have more control over what you put in your food.
Make lower calorie versions of your favourite dishes
At this time of year, when the weather is cold and the nights are still dark – it’s normal to want a bit of comfort food. However, the problem with many types of comfort food is that it is laden with calories, making any hope of losing your Christmas weight almost impossible. However, if you’re up to the challenge, cooking up healthier versions of your favourite comfort foods can mean that you still get to enjoy your favourites, but with some lower calorie ingredients that can make them healthier.
You’ll be able to track what you’re eating
Calorie counting apps can be an easy way for you to improve your health and achieve your weight loss goals. However, it’s difficult to input accurate information when you’re unsure what’s in your food. The best calorie counting apps will let you input your own recipes and ingredients so that you can get a more accurate look at what you’re eating. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it all adds up, making you think twice about the foods you’re eating.
Eat more natural, wholesome products
Another issue with buying ready-made food off the shelf is that you never really know how fresh it is and what preservatives are in it. However, cooking from scratch enables you to know exactly what is in your food, and you’ll know that it’s completely fresh. With no artificial colours or ingredients, you can feel happy knowing that the food you’re cooking is entirely natural.
Better portion control
When you buy takeaways or you pick up a ready meal from the supermarket, you’re more likely to eat it all because you don’t want to waste food. However, cooking from scratch allows you to take charge of your portion control, especially when you’re only cooking for one. Freeze any additional portions you make while your food is fresh and you’ll have your own set of ready meals that are good to go when you need them!
Why cooking from scratch is… cheaper
You’ll waste less food
Food waste is a growing concern that not only affects your finances, but the environment too. It’s easy to throw away food because of uneaten portions and expiry dates. But cooking from scratch enables you to use more of what you have, add in leftover vegetables to bulk things and make soups, stews and other dishes with the leftover ingredients in your fridge and cupboards. If you plan out your meals too, you’ll have a better indication of what to buy and won’t just buy foods on a whim.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are convenient, and they last
One of the biggest things that puts people off cooking from scratch is having to chop up and peel ingredients. However, supermarkets have made it easier than ever by offering a growing list of pre-prepared frozen fruit and vegetables that require no chopping or peeling. You can get everything from chopped onions and garlic to butternut squash and avocados, saving you a lot of hassle, and best of all, waste. Frozen foods are often more affordable than their shelf counterparts, with more product for the weight because you’re cutting out the elements you don’t need.
Takeaways soon add up
How much would your takeaway cost if you made it at home? A fraction, no doubt! Takeaways are expensive, and the popularity of companies like Uber Eats and Deliveroo means there’s more choice than ever – making you spend more money. Takeaways are becoming less of a treat and more of a regular expense, so why not learn to make your favourite dishes at home and save some money instead?
Save money on your lunch every day
If you’re used to grabbing a sandwich or take away lunch from somewhere near your work, you might not pay much attention to how much that costs you each week. However, if you spend £5-7 a day, that’s £140-196 a month just on your lunch! Could that money be put to better use, like your savings? Start cooking your lunch from scratch the night before and you’ll get to enjoy a tastier, more nutritious lunch without spending a fortune.
BYOB when you dine at home
One of the biggest costs of eating out comes from the alcohol that gets added on to your bill. In restaurants and pubs you’ll pay £20+ for a bottle of wine with your meal, yet you can enjoy nice wine at home for a fraction of that cost. Make yourself some tasty dinners, enjoy dining at home and save a lot of money on your wine bill.
Cooking from scratch certainly has its benefits, for both your physical health and your financial health. Taking care of both is important, and having life and critical illness insurance as well as sick cover to cope with the unexpected will help give you the peace of mind you need for you and your family’s future. Get a quote and take a positive step for your health with ESMI.