How often do you cook from scratch at home? And be honest!
If you’re anything like us, our number of homemade culinary escapades can vary heavily from week to week.
We all love and appreciate a thoughtfully prepared, made-from-scratch meal shared with family and friends.
But on the other hand…
We’ve bought countless orders on our favorite food delivery apps, gone out to eat multiple times a week, and rely on takeout and fast food when we’re ravenous on the commute home after a long day at work.
And with just a quick tour of our freezers and cupboards, you’ll soon discover our stashes of boxed meals, frozen flatbreads, ramen packs, jarred sauces, prepackaged cookies, and mac and cheese boxes.
There is no denying the ease and convenience of a drive-through meal, or a quick pit stop to pick something up at a favorite restaurant.
Sometimes – ahem, many times – it doesn’t seem worth it to cook or bake at home when the swift removal of a little plastic wrapping from a frozen pizza before plopping it in the oven is so simple.
For others who don’t cook often at home, you might be afraid to make mistakes, or don’t think you’re experienced enough to be a confident home chef.
The daily temptation is there for us to live 24/7 in a plastic-wrapped, dine-in-or-take-out world. And it’s as tasty and tantalizing as that 12-piece bucket of deep-fried fast food chicken.
We’re not telling you to totally transform your lifestyle here – we are all busy, and absolutely need to rely on convenient options to get good food in our growling bellies, at least from time to time!
But we are determined to inspire you to maybe tip the scale in the other direction just a bit, and begin to cook at home more often.
Even starting with a simple goal of preparing from scratch just one additional meal each week is a big change in a more healthful and creative direction.
Not entirely convinced?
Take a break from side-eyeing that bag of chips and container of dip – we challenge you to thrive on the many benefits of preparing food from scratch, starting with these seven big advantages!
7 Benefits of Cooking from Scratch at Home
1. Adapt to Healthy Lifestyles
Don’t be surprised – home cooking can be healthier for you, as long as you make disciplined decisions regarding the foods you prepare from scratch.
By taking 100% ownership of your ingredients, you can choose the best ones to add or eliminate from a recipe that will help you follow a specific healthy diet.
This is particularly helpful for those with allergies or other food restrictions, such as those who consume gluten-free or low FODMAP diets.
Are you looking for something low in cholesterol, or that has no cholesterol at all? Choose plant-based ingredients that fit a vegan or vegetarian diet plan.
Trying to increase your daily dose of fiber? Decide to bake recipes that are abundant in whole wheat and grains, like whole grain breads and muffins.
You can also choose dinner dishes with fiber-rich ingredients, like beans and greens or chili lime chicken with black beans and rice – being sure to use brown rice rather than white varieties!
Determined to minimize your intake of sweets or dairy products? Make alternative recipes with healthier ingredients, like date-based chocolate truffles, raw brownies, or a raw chocolate cheesecake.
Once you decide exactly what you want to keep or discard from your diet plan, you’ll have further clarity to choose the best ingredients to cultivate a healthy lifestyle.
You’ll see how easy every grocery trip will be, and how much less stressful the cooking process is, once you have your game plan mapped out with a clear list of ingredients to buy for specific recipes.
2. Cater to Tastes and Preferences
The finicky kid. The picky adult.
We know them all too well, and you might have some living in your household.
Or you could be one of them.
Unless you go to the same favorite restaurant or fast food chain every single day for every single meal, you have to cook for yourself and the family eventually at home.
And who knows your tastes and preferences better than… you?
Preparing food from scratch at home is an easy solution to cater to your own specific list of demands, and it will keep you organized, controlled, and prepared for what others in the family prefer to eat.
If you know your fussy young one loves apples and PB&J sandwiches – great! Keep your crisper drawer stashed with fresh fruit, and your pantry cupboards full of bulk containers of peanut butter and grape jelly.
In a flash, you know exactly what to prepare ahead of time and bring with you when you and the kids are invited to a family event with questionable items on the menu.
And for the picky adult, it can also be helpful in various work situations – rather than accepting the limited options you have during your lunch break, make and bring your own lunch that you’ll actually enjoy eating!
Collect an arsenal of recipes that feature the ingredients you and the other members of your family like, from hearty sandwiches to comforting soups and bright salads.
And throw in a freshly baked cookie or two for a little treat at the end – we know a crowd pleaser when we smell one!
When you cook and bake from scratch, you can put the best of everything you want into your meal, without leaving it up to chance!
3. Gain Creative Freedom
The kitchen is more than just that room with a fridge and stove – it’s a warm and welcoming creative space!
Preparing food from scratch gives you the fun and energizing opportunity to be artistic, imaginative, and playful.
Allow yourself to look forward to researching new recipes, or learning about ingredients that you never used before, such as a new spice or vegetable!
For an additional boost of motivation, consider coordinating this food exploration with your partner – each week, assign each other one recipe to try from a new cookbook, website, or video.
Another idea is to make something in different formats to have some fun with meal prepping – one example is making meatloaf in muffin pans for individual personal servings instead of a larger family-sized option.
Your creative side will flourish as you look for pleasing presentations for your made-from-scratch efforts.
Many restaurants and bakeries present food in specific ways – why not be inspired by your favorite businesses you typically frequent?
Purchase some new decorating supplies and learn how to add some flair to cakes and cookies, or open up a bottle of wine and try a new pasta technique like homemade ravioli!
Our humble request for you here is simple – just have fun!
4. Hone Your Cooking Skills
When you’re cooking from home, there is so much to gain and nothing to really lose!
If the main reason why you don’t want to cook is because you’re afraid to make mistakes – we are more than happy to help you boost your confidence.
Our list of 21 common cooking mistakes reviews some of the most basic errors, and we’ll teach you what the solutions are for smarter cooking.
The mistakes you make in the kitchen are perfect opportunities for personal growth. And the more time you spend in the kitchen, the more experience you will gain, and the more able you will be to manage and fix any mistakes or problems you encounter.
The results won’t be instant – so have some patience! You’ll gradually start to develop your skills and confidence with every homemade recipe you prepare, especially after you review these three steps for beginner home cooks.
You’ll start to see improvements, especially when you make the same recipe more than once – your knife skills will become more swift, your dough kneading more powerful, and your tasting abilities more discerning.
You simply have to accept that developing your culinary and baking skills is a process honed and perfected over time – becoming a great home chef won’t happen overnight while you’re waiting for your pork to marinate or your bread dough to rise!
But honing your cooking skills will continue at a faster pace the more you spend time preparing a meal and baking in the kitchen.
With every onion you slice or chop, with every steak you sear to browned perfection, with every batch of gnocchi you roll by hand, and with every chocolate tart you craft, you’re continually growing as a home cook and baker.
5. Improve Quality Time with Others
When friends and family enjoy a homecooked meal, more time is spent at home together, from prepping and cooking to eating and cleaning!
The rest of the family might become curious enough to join you in the kitchen – you can consider those heavenly aromas wafting from the kitchen into the living room to be free marketing!
After a while, they might be interested enough to help make the entire meal with you.
Natural curiosity aside, you can also intentionally encourage your family members to help you cook, or bake together.
Decide to make dinner at home for your next date night, and cook together as a couple.
Or host a fun family gathering or party centered around the kitchen by choosing recipes that help to get the kids involved. Making personal pizzas, creating a DIY taco buffet, or rolling pasta together are all fun dinner options.
Dessert is even easier – a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe is an easy, introductory start to simple baking techniques.
This is your chance to share these skills with others. It is always fun when a whole family prepares a meal together, and it’s particularly meaningful when you introduce your friends and family to recipes passed down through the generations.
When you’re not eating fast food on the run between school and soccer practice, or work and more work, try to plan at least one meal when the family sits down at the table together each week.
Break bread, talk, and share this often short but significant time together!
6. Minimize Spending
Constantly going out to restaurants, as well as ordering takeout and delivery multiple times each week, can become quite expensive!
When it’s not managed well, this type of spending can make a serious dent in your budget, giving you less disposable income for other household needs.
While we choose to pay for restaurant dining and the experience surrounding that kind of atmosphere, this may not be the most sustainable option for many as a daily form of spending.
Food and labor shortages, utility bills and rent, and maintenance of equipment are just a few among the many reasons why you might see inflated costs and serious markups at food-related businesses.
And even though a trip to the grocery store also comes with its monetary punches, there are still ways to save by preparing food from scratch at home.
Buying in bulk is a smart way to save money – if you know there are a handful of essentials that you and the family eat regularly, switch to the bulk options rather than individual sizes. This can apply to a range of items like produce, drinks, frozen foods, and dry goods.
If you enjoy ordering drinks out, learn how to make a few favorite alcoholic beverages at home, or purchase bottles of wine and beer! By purchasing bottles of a few key spirits, liquors, and liqueurs, you can craft many cocktails right at home.
You’ll gain some bartending skills without dedicating a chunk of each check to individual drinks that you would have purchased at a bar or restaurant.
Although you will need some basic pieces of kitchen gear to get started when making meals and other food from scratch – like a stand mixer, food processor, or blender, these purchases are designed to last for years.
And the initial costs will certainly be worth every penny in a very short time, based on how often you use these essential appliances!
7. Relieve Stress in Multiple Ways
Once you learn how to cook from scratch, you will look forward to it as a pleasurable and relaxing event – most of the time!
There are many people who find repeated and routine kitchen tasks like prepping simple ingredients to be quite soothing, especially when you ease into a rhythmic motion of expertly using your knife or mandoline.
And this time presents the perfect opportunity to listen to your favorite music, or catch up on any podcasts you’ve been seriously behind on for the past few weeks!
If you really want to see how much of a stress reliever it can be, make some bread completely from scratch. But don’t use your stand mixer for kneading – use your own hands!
The breadmaking process includes kneading and punching, a physical way to unwind and release any tension.
Cooking and cleaning both involve a little manual labor, and we know that it’s not always fun. Find ways to divide these tasks in your household – you don’t always have to do everything!
If you live in a household where multiple people can cook, alternate cooking and cleaning responsibilities each week or month.
And take advantage of the benefits of meal prepping, an incredibly useful strategy that can significantly reduce stress in busy households.
If you have enough freezer space, prepare meals and other ingredients in bulk, divide them in airtight bags or containers, and relax knowing that you have backups available when you need them.
Scared? Simply Start Small!
The whole idea of cooking from scratch does not need to be scary or overwhelming.
You are not required to completely change your current way of life in just one day – continue buying your favorite burger and fries combo, and simply introduce home cooking techniques a little at a time!
Not every single item you prepare has to be made entirely from scratch. We understand that you may not be willing or won’t have the time for all that work.
You don’t need to churn homemade butter, make your own chicken or vegetable stocks, grind whole coffee beans, or break down a whole butternut squash – accept that there are some prep steps you shouldn’t have to worry about completing all on your own.
Rely upon a few store-bought convenience products you know you’ll need to get you through the week, and continue enjoying a weekly restaurant outing with friends and loved ones.
We only hope that you take a shot at preparing more food from scratch, and see the benefits for yourself!
And our advice doesn’t end here – we have even more helpful tips for when you’re in the kitchen. Read these articles next:
- 15 of the Best Ways to Use Overripe Bananas (Besides Bread!)
- How to Use Each Side of a Box Grater
- Potential Downsides of Sous Vide Cooking
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 13, 2014. Last updated on February 16, 2023. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
63 thoughts on “7 Benefits of Cooking from Scratch at Home”
There is nothing better than controlling exactly what goes into the meal that you are about to eat. Everything is so over processed these days, that some of it doesn’t even resemble food anymore. Plus, cooking is fun! I love cooking with my mom during the holidays. We not only create delicious meals, but we create wonderful memories as well.
As someone that needs to watch what I eat due to health concerns, the ability to control what goes in to the food is paramount for me.
When cooking for friends and family, it helps to be able to cater to any possible allergies or preferences when it comes to your ingredients. You might not have the same opportunities to when you eat out, or at the very least will need to ensure that you properly communicate your preferences to the server or chef.
Aside from that, it’s nice to be able to add a personal touch with a signature herb or spice that really lets you own a particular dish. Adds something more to the meal than just “food”.
I totally agree on the sub-topic; Taste, awhile back, i indulged so much in fast food, i actually thought i was doing myself a favor, for starters my weight plummeted, i was sluggish most of the time, then i became sick, fast food was to blame, my digestive system had enough, so i decided to change the course and started cooking my own meals; taste- wise, awesome, amazing, scrumptious…fast food doesn’t even come any close and on a positive note, i am shedding a considerable amount of weight, my chicken cooked at home and one cooked at a fast food franchise?…yeah, mine tastes much much better thank you very much 🙂
What a wonderful article! So true in all aspects. Home cooked food just tastes better, I have so many memories of my grandmothers’ cooking, and even when I cook from scratch it doesn’t taste the same! I have been trying to get my kids into the kitchen with me more, but I need to make a larger effort. I wasn’t even thinking about them learning the “craft” just about having fun with food. I think letting them each pick a recipe once a week and then helping however they can (they are 2 and 4 ) would be something I could commit to, particularly on weekends when I have more time.
I agree with this whole article! I want to learn to cook from scratch from my grandma, because it has many, many benefits, like those specified above. My grandma always says to cook your food yourself, because then you know what your meal has been made of and in what conditions. When you buy packaged or fast foods, you never exactly know who was making them, from what ingredients (who knows if they weren’t expired), etc. It sure is also a lot more healthy and better for your wallet!
I came top in my Home Economics class and loved to learn how to cook at school. I think it should be taught in all schools or at least nutrition. Maybe they should do field trips to the grocery store to learn how to shop?
Not all adults know how to shop wisely and is a skill we all need especially with labels and deciphering what is what. I am vegetarian, so i keep a close eye on ingredients all the time.
To relax, I like to bake and end up with a fridge full of food to keep. I enjoy it, especially cakes!
I like your idea that students learn to shop at the grocery store. However, as a person in education, I can see many reasons why this most likely won’t happen. The largest difficulty is that in many districts students are only allowed one field trip a year, which typically needs to relate to a core subject in some way. However, I have seen teachers taking efforts to teach students about nutrition, food groups, and gardening. Hopefully this type of instruction will help kids who don’t have exposure at home how to be more mindful about their food. Otherwise, I think as a parent it is my responsibility to teach my children how to shop, from making a list to paying at checkout and making sure you fit a budget.
When I was in school, we did have a subsection of a career planning program that involved things like basic finance skills, home economics, tool usage and nutrition. We also had some general nutrition and well-being material attached to our PE program.
Aside from that, most students were on their own to learn their life skills from their parental figures. Something as integral to your day to day life as food shopping really needs to be taught by someone that shares the same social and cultural values as you do. In this case, I think the school system should provide a relatively hands-off approach.
Health and Stress relieving are the two most important for me. Cooking should be relaxing, fun, and healthier than buying pre-packed, processed stuff. If you are not achieving these three things you are doing something wrong.
The stress relief that comes from cooking is something to truly appreciate. When I’m in the kitchen I can forget about all the other little things that bother me throughout the day and just focus on the task at hand. Sure, sometimes cooking can present its own stresses, but at the end of the session you have a product to show for it. The stress melts away as you get to tuck in to your creation.
Cooking is definitely a cathartic activity and a great way to unwind after a long day’s work.
I totally agree with the article! I would appreciate if the food I’ll be eating is home cooked for me rather than one was bought in fast food.
Home cooking gives opportunity to show love to your family. Not only because it is less expensive, but an effort to prepare so, is a sweet accomplishment. It always feels good to have something like this to your family or love ones especially when you gave your best shot!
I love cooking, and I’m blessed to come from a family where there was always importance attached to fresh and wholesome food, and knowing the provenance of your food too. When I left home and lived by myself, boy did I suffer! Even though I knew how to cook, and loved home cooked food, it seemed like too much effort to cook for just myself. How wrong I was. After a period of feeling ill, I began making batches of home cooked meals and freezing portions for later in the week/month. I felt better after only a few weeks.
Now that I’m married I still like to batch cook, and I’ve bought a slow cooker. The slow cooker is my best friend in the kitchen, and I love preparing huge batches of food and being prepared so well in advance. Of course I still like to spend time cooking from scratch for that evening, but I could never turn to ready meals and processed foods in general, as a lifestyle choice. As you say in your post, the family time is really important, as well as the creativity involved in cooking, and getting the whole family spending time putting the meal together. All that and saving money too – what more could you want?
Another great post, Lynne!
Making your own food is a great way to be in total control of your diet. You can totally control what your adding based on your own needs. I lost a lot of weight over the past year when I started cooking after college. Granted, I was not very good at it at first. But my wallet was singing my praises. And you begin to learn tricks and tips that make you feel so awesome when you can cook for other people and impress them with you skills.
As much as I enjoy dining out, I have to admit- there is nothing like home cooked food. And the savings, health benefits, and uhm, let’s face it- we don’t know what’s being done to our food in the back- safety reasons are all the more reasons to cook your own.
My Mom always says that cooking from scratch is much healthier for proper digestion. I worked in the food service industry for 6 years and I learned how to fake the fresh taste. But, I enjoy eating a dish that is homemade and filled with love. An old friend gave me a sandwich before we started our vacation and I could taste the warmth of love and the freshness that bloomed from the sandwich with every bite. It was her Grandmother made a amazing sack lunch for us girls that I still remember vividly.
My favorite from this list: health! I love the peace of mind that I know what exactly is going into my food. No hidden additives, flavors, or preservatives. If a recipe is too heavy in fats I can make substitutions to my liking. It gives me a good peace of mind. My second favorite from the list: creativity! After work it’s easy to feel brain dead sometimes but cooking makes me feel interested in what I’m doing again. I can tailor a recipe to my family or friends’ tastes by taking a recipe or idea and changing it to make something new 🙂
I have friends and families with allergies so cooking from scratch is an essential requirement. Eating out is just far too difficult and many of the processed foods have the wrong ingredients in them. It is annoying sometimes that I can’t just grab a bottle of pasta sauce or a roast chicken, but the benefit is that I’m a better cook and know what different ingredients are suppose to taste like and how to combine them. When I do eat out, I can taste the flavors in the food I’m eating. This is a great benefit as I can go home and try to recreate those meals without a recipe and I’m getting better at it the more I experiment.
I prefer to cook from scratch. It not only allows me to customize a meal but I also have control of how healthy or unhealthy it is. It allows me to control my diet and make sure that I don’t go off what I’m trying to cut out/etc. I have to say that after working in both fast food and a grocery store, what you make a meal with makes a difference.
All of those are reasons I cook nearly everything I eat from scratch. I was also taught to shop the perimeter of the store and avoid the isles as much as possible to avoid regularly consuming unhealthy packaged foods. I am so grateful I was taught how to cook my food at home from scratch as it has saved me from many financial and nutritional woes over the years.
I love cooking from scratch. I even like the way it sounds. When I was in high school I used to love to eat at fast food places, hamburgers, fries. My mom was an excellent cook, so I kind of took good, home-cooked meals for granted. Now as an adult, I love to make my own food from scratch so that I can control- first of all the cleanliness of everything, and next, I can control what goes into my food.
I like to cook, and I like good food, two of life’s pleasures.
While I do agree that cooking at home often results in a cheaper meal than going out, it isn’t always the thriftiest option when you’re experimenting with something new. I recently have been dabbling with learning East Indian cuisine and ended up spending a small fortune on a bunch of different herbs and spices.
Ultimately it is worthwhile, since it’ll last for a while, but if cost is the only concern, then a situation like mine may not be the best for you.
Aside from that, the health benefits of being able to tweak your recipes to your exact specifications can be very helpful.
I cannot tell you how good it feels when your kid tells you he would rather stay home than go out to eat. I have very fond memories of my grandmother’s cooking, but not so much my mother’s. My mother worked very hard, and long hours. She provided us with everything that we needed, but I do regret that she had to spend so much of her time working that she didn’t get to spend much time just being a mom. These are the simple things that we take for granted, but they hold tremendous power. Cooking is not just cooking. It is so many things.
As a young adult, I am definitely in the minority in that I love to cook! Most of my friends don’t cook and one of the reasons is everyone is so busy in our ‘go-go-go’ world. One way to overcome this, is to identify what is really important in your life. If health is a priority, or saving money or spending time with family, home cooking should be made an important part of your life. When something is identified as important, people tend to make time in their schedules for it.
Theres just something about cooking from scratch. The feeling that you have achieved a complete meal that is both healthy and takes great too. Stop relying on those microwave meals and processed foods when you can do it all yourself!
I much prefer to cook from scratch. I prefer the control over what goes in my meals. It’s also good to know that there are no chemical nasties like preservatives and colorings in there. Here in the UK, there has been recent scandal over what is actually used in ready meals (horsemeat anyone?), so I trust pre-packaged food even less now.
I watched my mother cook all the time when I was younger but never learned much. I am quite limited to what I can cook. For example I can cook hamburger, pork chops but other meats I need my boyfriends help with like chicken and fish. I can cook a home cooked meal with potatoes and veggies and one of the meats mentioned above. I can make salads and sandwiches but beyond that it gets confusing. I started getting into rice recently so I am always looking for new rice recipes. Its true though to many young people are living on that processed junk. I find eating at home saves us a lot compared to take out.
I love cooking from scratch, love knowing exactly what’s gone into my food, and love the feeling when my little girl tells me she much prefers my version of a meal than the one she gets at school/at a friend’s house. When she was tiny, we used to get (very expensive) baby & toddler ready meals, but one day she just refused to eat them any more, though we never had any problem getting her to eat the home cooking. With the younger two, we never even bothered trying the ready meals.
Having said all that, there’s a place for some pre-made ingredients. After a long day at work, then getting the kids into bed, often neither I nor my husband can face the hassle of proper cooking. A jar of ready-made sauce may not be quite the same as a meal cooked from scratch, but it can be on the table a lot quicker and with a lot less effort for an exhausted parent.
But then, as you say at the beginning of the post, there’s a big difference between choosing a few select ingredients to speed up your cooking than buying the complete meal in ready-packaged form.
Honestly? Besides the multitude of health benefits of heating meals cooked from scratch made from whole foods, the COST is what keeps me coming back to my own kitchen for meals. Eating out is insanely expensive but so is processed food when you start really focusing on the cost. Sure, it’s easier to just buy a frozen pizza and pop it in the oven but healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive OR a lot of work. I cook 2-3 days a week max and the rest of the time I just heat up the food I’ve already made. Set aside a few days a week to cook and then store everything in the fridge til its time to eat. I can’t think of any food that I make that doesn’t refridgerate well for at least 3-4 days. Even meat!
The cost of eating out is one of the reasons I cook at home. Another reason is I know what is in the food I cook you are not always sure when you eat out.
I worked in a restaurant and would have people come in request special preparation of their food due to food issues, if you are concerned about how the food is cooked don’t eat out. I would not put my health in the hands of some one I don’t know. I was at a restaurant, the lady next to our table had a reaction to something in her food. She had to be taken to the hospital.
Teaching the kids to cook while they are young should be started as soon as possible. Even taking cooking classes in school helps to teach the younger people to be self sufficient.
I don’t get why people are so reluctant to cook from scratch. You get to be creative AND get a good meal. I’d suggest starting off with something easy like eggs, then work your way up to crockpot/pressure cooker recipes which are nearly impossible to mess up. Then, after mastering the basics, you get to have some real fun. There’s baking, making all sorts of fancy sauces.
Whenever my friends come over, I just make them some nem or pho (I’m Vietnamese currently studying in the US) and they’re ALWAYS impressed.
I agree with everything stated HOWEVER McDonald’s sells 2 burger patties with cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, & pickles on a bun where I am for 99 cents. I’m sorry that cannot be beat in price. It just cannot. I hate to admit it but it’s true. Unless you have the money to invest in the making of more than one, you could not possibly buy one homemade at that price.
What I CAN say is there is no possible way I will choose something solely because it is cheap. Good things can be cheap too! I would rather pay what I must to get the most nutritional value out of something than to purchase a floppy, flavourless, nutrition-less burger.
I think health is one major factor in my love of cooking from scratch. What’s weird is that’s not how it started. I just loved cooking! But as I grew older I realized how much sodium and other things are in processed food. I still buy my fair share of pre packaged grocery items but cook more from scratch for health reasons than ever before. Great article.
MKC, thanks for the compliment. Cheers! Lynne.
This a great article and I agree to all the benefits given! Eating meals prepared by hand leads to a healthier life. The benefits of cooking from scratch go far beyond mere physical health. By cooking on your own, you serve the best for your family and it is a great relief to see everyone else eating clean and healthy.
Three out of four of my kids are grown and moved out. One had no interest in learning to cook when she was younger, but I have to give her credit. She has become quite a good, and healthy cook. My other kids dabbled and can make some staples, but now I get calls (or more often, texts) asking me how to make something.
My youngest, the only one still at home, isn’t much into cooking. She says, “but you make it better,” to try to talk me into making it for her. Sometimes, it even works.
Cannot agree more with the cost benefits. A previous commenter stated that McDonalds sells two patties for 99 cents. You are pretty much paying companies to stick chemicals and saturated fats into your system. Yuck. Cooking from natural ingredients and from scratch will allow you to reap the most benefits.
It is definitely a big stress reliever to cook from scratch and it has such a great reward. I was a foster mom to a young teen for a year before she turned 18 and was on her own. She still tells me that one of the greatest things she learned from my husband & me is how to cook. Food cooked from scratch has so much more nutritional value & leaves you feeling so much better afterwards than processed foods. Teaching my foster daughter how to cook from scratch has also helped her keep control over her diabetes.
One thing my entire family agrees on is that cooking from scratch is better. I save a lot of money this way! I make my own EVERYTHING, from peanut butter, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce to taco seasoning, Chilli seasoning, hamburger helper, and everything else in between. It’s amazing how much my grocery bill has gone down since I started! And I really do love knowing EXACTLY what’s in everything I feed my family.
February 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm
Cannot agree more with the cost benefits. A previous commenter stated that McDonalds sells two patties for 99 cents. You are pretty much paying companies to stick chemicals and saturated fats into your system. Yuck. Cooking from natural ingredients and from scratch will allow you to reap the most benefits.”
Yes, that was my comment & I wasn’t speaking to the quality of what you’re eating. I never spoke to whether or not it was the BETTER choice. What I was speaking to was directly addressing the monetary weight of the purchases. If you have a dollar & 15 cents to your name you are surely not going to buy a bag of potatoes from the store or veggies. You’re likely buying that double cheeseburger. Good for you or not.
Cooking is definitely a lot better at home. I used to go out a lot and it was a lot more expensive than cooking a dinner at home.
I am now cooking all my food at home and eat at restaurants only on special occasions.
I love the idea of cooking from scratch but it’s just so hard to find the time and energy when you work 8:30-6 days! The last thing I want to do is come home and have to deal with an hour of preparation time before I can finally relax with my meal. On the weekend it’s a different story, but I do feel like I’m missing out a bit when I see some of the amazing things people are cooking. Because of course, it’s not just the fact that the cooking takes a bit of time, the time and energy required to make sure you have all the ingredients before you want to start cooking requires a level of preparation the work schedule just does not acommodate for a lot of the time.
I love to cook. However now that I live alone and on a ”I can’t afford to eat out” budget I am forced to cook. What was once something that I used to love and enjoy doing is now becoming such a task at the end of a ten hour shift at work. As much as I love to cook but with only one stovetop and a small oven most meals take three times as long to make with half of the meal ending up cold while waiting for the other things to cook. I konw I am quite unfortunate at the moment but if there are certain things that I can buy to speed up the process I will take it.
I love to cook from scratch. It does make you feel good because you can say I made this all by myself. I am great with baking but I need to work on everything else. It is also cheaper when you make it yourself. If I go to a restaurant I try to get something that I can not make at home. I do like to spend all that money when I do not have to. I have also been disappointed at fast food restaurants like McDonald so I have not been there as much either. The taste is not the same anymore because of all the corner that they cut.
I think it was the wife of the author of the book “The pH Miracle” who admitted that she used to dread grocery shopping and cooking. She felt as if she were missing out on other things in life by taking the time to do these things.
It wasn’t until her and her husband discovered the massive health benefits of eating certain types of foods, and avoiding others, that she began to develop a passion for grocery shopping and cooking. She loves to go to the market, pick out healthy foods, and prepare creative dishes for her family, because she now understands the health benefits such an investment will afford her family. She has even managed to get her husband and children excited about the process for the same reasons.
But, health benefits aside, it’s actually FUN to cook. My family and I pop on our favorite cooking music, and we churn out freshly made dishes at a pace and intensity that would make Gordon Ramsay blush! We absolutely love spending that time together. And like the article mentions, it’s a wonderful stress reliever. Great article Lynne!
I agree with almost all of these! Taste for me depends. I worked in the food & hospitality business for 14 years before getting married and having my baby. I’ve dined at some amazing restaurants, and often crave items from some of our favorite spots. However, we’ve been trying to save for a few big things so cooking at home has become the norm. I’m glad I grew up around so many great cooks. I really learned a lot, and I do enjoy making food for my family. At times, I wish we could just dine out every night. It is very time consuming to cook from scratch while taking care of a home and baby, but the money savings trump all right now!
I like how these fast food restaurants will show how juicy the food looks but won’t tell you how many preservatives and chemicals they use. People complain that McDonald’s french fries won’t mold and will stay looking the same for weeks. I have tried learning how to cook at least the basics. Cooking fried chicken with spaghetti and garlic bread is about as fancy as I get. There are lots of cooking shows on TV and I like to watch different dishes but I have to start from somewhere.
I like cooking from scratch also because I like to know exactly what I’m putting in my food. I find I also save money when I make my own food as opposed to buying it pre made. I prefer to make things such as hummus and pizza dough from start to finish. I find food also tastes better then store bought.
I love this post because it is so true. I have a friend who is a cook (strictly whole, healthy foods) and she has always said that the number one way to start getting healthy is cooking for yourself. I’ve been amazed, in my efforts to begin doing just that, how much better I feel and how much fatter my wallet is staying. It’s just fun! I’m only just now discovering my love of cooking, but I want to get better at it- one day, when I have kids, I will be teaching them to cook. Eating out is fun, but it needs to be a real treat; when you do it all the time, it just gets old and you wish you were at home cooking anyways.
Some of my favorite memories are of helping my mom or grandmothers in the kitchen. They taught me recipes their mothers and grandmothers taught them, and I will pass these to my children. These are things that cannot be lost, stolen, or broken. A permanent connection to our past.
I am never more happy than when I am creating something, so cooking from scratch is definitely a stress reliever/mood enhancer. I made homemade cherry and pumpkin pies for thanksgiving and everyone kept asking where I bought them. The look on their faces when I told them they were homemade was priceless!
I hope home cooking does not completely die out. We know how kids and even adults complain about vegetables. If you are able to take something and make it tasty that is great. There is a TV show I watch call Master Chef Junior and you have these kids making amazing dishes. If these kids could learn to make amazing then so can I. I don’t always bake from scratch but when I do its worth it.
I do enjoy making my own food, and I do so as much as possible, so I agree with the main gist of this article. However, some of this is a little reactionary, mostly in regards to the chemical alterations of food that is prepackaged. Sure, no one should be eating these chemicals every day, but there are people who do that get by just as well as those of us who don’t. And while I wouldn’t recommend someone eat preservatives like nitrates on a daily basis, they are just fine in moderation. Let’s also not forget that there are some people in this world who are just not gifted in the kitchen, and don’t care to be.
Other than that criticism, I’d say this article is great. There’s something awesome about putting a great meal together, and knowing that it’s great because you know exactly where the ingredients came from, and how time consuming it was. I’ve always loved tangible (and edible) rewards for hard work.
Our household has saved so much money since I’ve started cooking from scratch every night. We used to get takeout or go out to a restaurants at least four of five times a week, and we were spending probably double or more than we are now for groceries. And honestly, we got to the point where we weren’t even enjoying it.
Now I’m cooking five or six time a week, and besides being more affordable, it’s definitely healthier for us. My boyfriend and I have both lost a little weight, and I’ve been having a lot of fun learning how to cook vegetarian meals. I work from home so I’m lucky enough to be able to take lots of time to cook when I want to though…that’s one of the difficult things about getting used to cooking every night; it saves money but it definitely takes some extra time.
Before I got married I rarely cooked. My meals consisted of prepacked microwave meals or throw together packet sides. I rarely took more than ten minutes to cook my dinner. After being married however, my mentality changed, it wasn’t just my own body that I was shoveling junk into. I’ve found that as I’ve cooked more and more I’ve begun to enjoy it. Now I rarely eat out, as there isn’t much I can’t just make myself within my own specifications. This allows me to, as you’ve mentioned, put the best of everything I like into it. There’s no having to waste time waiting for someone else to cook something I could make in half the time with half the cost.
Although I enjoy a good burger or fine dining meal, I am a big lover of home cooking. Growing up in a European home we rarely ate out. My parents always made home cooked meals and thanks to them I too enjoy making my own meals at home. I try to get my daughters involved and explain to them what each ingredient is. They are still young but it’s never too early to educate children. Although it is more convenient to purchase baby food already prepared, I only resorted to those little jars in desperate times (i.e. we are out longer than expected). Otherwise, I always prepared baby food at home. My mind frame was “I have to cook for myself and hubby, why not add more for my girls and puree their portions.” It makes me feel good when I know what my family is ingesting and it adds a sense of relaxation.
Hi Lynne! I totally agree with your article. Making food from scratch does bring a lot more benefits than packaged meals or dining out. Most of the time we don’t even know what ingredients are put into the meals, or the state of the ingredients that are added to the foods. In a way I think that more and more people are eating out, and eating packaged foods, first because people lead fast lives now, we are always on the move, and second because they are in a way addictive due to the high amounts of carbohydrates in the meals. I read an article about a research study regarding sugars and carbohydrates and scientists concluded how highly addictive they are to us.
I grew up in a home where everything came out of a box or bag. My mom never really learned to cook from her mom, and so I think she just did was was easier and (in her mind) cheaper. So when I was first living on my own, I cooked the same way. A big “home-cooked meal” in my mind was opening a bunch of cans and putting them together to make a soup. But, as I started learning more about how terrible canned and boxed foods are for you and started cooking things from scratch, I learned just how easy it actually is to cook from scratch, and how much more delicious, nutritious, and thrifty it is.
This article has really helped encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing and to work at cooking even more things from scratch! (Tomato sauce, anyone? I’ve got Roma tomatoes planted in the garden that I’m SO excited to play with!)
I’ve always done some cooking from scratch, but I do even more now that I’m trying to eat healthier. It is certainly easier on the wallet as well.
The junk that is called food is all sugar and salt and chemicals. While I do have to admit that I like some of this stuff that is terrible for me, I’m getting away from it more and more.
I even cook with less seasoning than I used to. People can add their own salt to taste.
My favourite benefit of cooking from scratch is definitely the quality I am able to build into a meal. It tastes better than most of the restaurant food, it contains as many organic ingredients as possible, and conforms to the strictures of our eating style. We tend to spend a little more in the winter months when we don’t have a garden or cheaper local fresh produce, but this year I intend to expand our freezable garden vegetables section of the garden. I think that when people cook from scratch they are also attracted to gardening because they find out how delightful it is to cook with fresh produce and want to have the experience of cooking and eating their own vegetables in their own from-scratch dinners.
I love cooking from scratch! The quality of the food is a million times better. You aren’t eating such junk. You also know exactly what is in your food.
I love to make things from scratch. While I rather bake from scratch than cook I enjoy both either way. My daughter also loves to help me make things. Since I do not really like traditional American food that much I like to venture out to other ethnicity dishes. I mostly like to make desserts from scratch. Also it is way cheaper to make food from scratch than to buy it from a restaurant or prepacked. Not only do you have to buy more when it is prepacked but it does not taste the same.
Single guy here living in his own bachelor pad; I can attest to what you are saying. Living alone, there are times that I experience monetary problems, and having the option to cook my own food, rather than going outside to eat, is very helpful when tightening the belt on the budget. There have been countless times where I contemplated getting cooking classes so I could be self-reliant when it comes to my food, but alas, I never really had the time (and honestly, the effort) to make it a reality.
Also, to all the guys out there, I have been tons of dates where the lady would admit that a good cooking skill is a huge plus when choosing someone, and maybe, just maybe, learning how to cook is a huge investment in more than one topic.
I agree with this post completely, I think that scratch food is 100% better in all the aspects than just fast or already cooked food. But let’s face it, there’s a lot of people nowadays that don’t really have the time to just sit down and cook, sadly, we live in a world and in a society that likes, and sometimes even needs to have everything fast, and food is not an exception for that. Still, I still hope that when I live on my own I can prepare the food that I’m eating, cooking is a really good activity.
We cook everything in our house from scratch. I notice when we do eat processed, prepackaged foods we are always groggy, bloated due to the sodium content and it taste like cardboard. Since we started making everything from scratch, our food actually has great and diverse flavors, and we don’t feel ill afterwards, not to mention the amount of money it saves.