Five Reasons to Cook at Home
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.