May 16, 2014

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Cook at Home

It's already Friday again, which means it's time for a Friday Five link up. This week's topic, "Five reasons to..." which is a fill-in-the-blank topic. As a short discussion on Twitter went, it is nice because it can be anything and hard because it can be anything. It took until tonight, while cooking dinner to become inspired for my topic. Recently, some of my coworkers have been surprised at how often we cook dinner at home. Combine a pinch of that and a dash of this and you get:

Five Reasons to Cook at Home

Reason 1.

You control the ingredients.

One of the great things about cooking for yourself at home is you control the ingredients. You can get the freshest veggies, herbs and spices. You get your choice of meat cuts, can literally trim the fat and even chose options such as organic or free range, if that matters to you. You also can make the choices not used often when eating out: things like using partial (or full) skim cheeses, extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, egg whites instead of full egg or whole grains instead of white. There are plenty of substitute lists available (this is the internet of course) like this one from the Mayo Clinic.

Reason 2.

You control the portions.

I grew up in a "clean your plate" time. It was for a good reason, to not waste food, but had adverse sides to it, eating too much. When you cook at home, you control the portions. Yes, when you're out you always can, and should, only eat as much as fills you up, not all of it. However, when at home, you can take the proper, smaller portion sizes. You also can use the trick of a smaller plate makes the food seem like more. The same amount of food on a smaller plate makes it look like there is more food and can trick your brain. When having smaller portions, you get the added benefit of leftovers, also known as a quick and easy lunch to me. 

Bonus Reason 2.5.

If you do Weight Watchers like me, it's much easier to calculate the points when you know the exact amounts and ingredients (from #1) you're eating.

Reason 3.

Saving money.

Cooking at home is simply cheaper than eating out. Not only can you make healthier meals, but they will cost you less. At a base, buying the ingredients and putting them together yourself is cheaper. Simple fact. Restaurants obviously charge you for the convenience, and they need to pay for the labor, so that comes from you. You can also get the ingredients on sale, with coupons and even in bulk saving you even more.

Reason 4.

Being creative and having fun.

Cooking is an art. To be a great chef is to be a true artist. But that doesn't mean you can't cook without being a trained chef. Just like anyone can have some fun painting on a canvas and explore their creativity, you can do the same while cooking. You can find a simple recipe and then play with it. Try a different seasoning, add a new ingredient, cook it on the grill instead of a pan. Not all changes will make a masterpiece, but be open to trying it. You might surprise yourself.

Reason 5.

Impress your friends.

I love to cook and love to share the food. Think of the Princess and the Frog "Hey everybody, I made Gumbo!" You can make simple little recipes, that don't take much work, but can impress your friends. Try this: Season some chicken with fresh ground pepper, and grill it up. Cut it into small pieces, add some caesar dressing and a little parmesan cheese, throw it into a pan and cook it up a little. Take it out the pan, throw it in a wrap, sprinkle some extra fresh parmesan, add a little romaine lettuce and boom, chicken caesar wraps. Healthy, easy, yet impressive.

Linking Up

Check here for some links out to others sharing, staring with our three lovely hosts: Courtney, Cynthia and Mar. Check their posts (Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run to see the full set of links). I just listed a couple here early as I saw and read them.

Eat Pray Run DC
Five Reasons to Run Without Music
You Signed Up for What?!
Five Reasons to Try a Triathlon
Mar on the Run
Five Reasons to Run ZOOMA!
Yoga Hikes DC
Five Reasons to try Yoga Hikes
Confessions of a Mother Runner
Five Reasons to Add Kickboxing into Your Life
Divas Run For Bling
Five Reasons to Plan Your Meals
From Dancing to Running
Five Reasons to Blog
MCM Mama
A Reluctant Souther Girl's Five Tips for Hot Weather Running


  1. I prefer to cook at home for most of these reasons - I just feel so much better about what we are eating! Still, I like to go out once a week for a date night. ;-)

    1. Cant' forget date night out, and the occasional treat. My guilty pleasure is a Red Robin burger and sweet potato fries (with campfire sauce).

  2. I love this post! I prefer to cook at home over eating out for all the reasons you mentioned. I am always baffled by folks that say "I don't cook" and eat every meal out or take out! I couldn't imagine not cooking for myself or my family. Great post!

    1. Yeah. There are some people that are just baffled by that fact sometime, and how I bring a lunch almost every day to work.

  3. I love this! I feel so much better when I cook my own food and know exactly what's in it. Because I'm a vegetarian, I always have to be aware of what's in my food. I always eat so much when I'm out and it usually doesn't taste as good. I've really gotten into creating new recipes for my blog so that helps too! Happy Friday!

    1. Customizing to your own tastes is definitely an added benefits.

      I love trying to create my own. Been meaning to try and share recipes a little more often.

  4. Saving money and being creative are two biggest reasons why I cook at home. I find myself in the zone when I am cooking, preparing the food. I find it very relaxing.

    1. I love using the time cooking to also enjoy some music. I have a nice speaker in the kitchen to connect in my phone and double enjoy.

  5. Totally agree! I mostly cook at home for the health and money saving benefits, but it's definitely a great creative outlet as well!

  6. Great post! It is SUCH a money saver and I really need to do it more often. Way more often I'm just lazy after working and go out to dinner instead.

    It would also give me a chance to work on my cooking skills, which are sorely lacking. :)

  7. 100% agree with each of these. Especially with saving $$$ and usually it saves time as well instead of having to sit through service at a restaurant. Thanks for linking up again!

  8. yup, totally agree. I get so much mileage out of the most basic of ingredients! Now if only I could work more cooking time into my life!

  9. Agree with all of these, especially first point. I prefer knowing what is exactly in my food !

  10. I too prefer cooking at home for many of the same reasons. Since we're house hunting, we've been extra careful to eat almost all of our meals at home lately. Every penny counts!

  11. I agree with all of these! And luckily I married a guy who used to be a restaurant cook and who doesn't mind cooking dinner five nights a week!

  12. Cooking at home is my favorite. Going out to eat drives me crazy because it's always just so expensive and when I am done with my meal, I am still hungry!!