From creativity to connection to control, the holistic benefits of cooking at home are endless. This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.
Why I Prioritize Cooking At Home
KERF was founded on my love for eating and enjoying food. I wanted to share with others that good health is more about what you DO eat than what you don’t. Cooking real food means there are infinite ways to fuel your body – and your mind and mental health.
As I mentioned in this post on the pillars of holistic health, preparing my own food with a home cooked meal was the tipping point for my weight loss after college.
I always say the first step to optimal health is stocking the fridge.
The benefits of cooking at home all contribute to my real food mission of healthy eating and living.
My definition of real food is “food that is minimally processed and maintains its natural integrity.”
I believe that the best diet is one that includes a diverse rainbow of real food from a variety of food groups.
And I think cooking at home is one of the best ways to embrace a real food lifestyle!
The Benefits of Cooking At Home
1. Eat more real food
Eating real food has been important to me since the day I started this blog. So is eating delicious food!
I believe that a diet based on real food is the key to good health.
When you make your eating habits revolve around real food, you’ll save time, money, and reduce the risk of disease.
Experts agree that eating at home leads to healthier recipes. This article from Public Health Nutrition concluded “Cooking dinner frequently at home is associated with consumption of a healthier diet whether or not one is trying to lose weight.”
We all need more support in preparing meals at home so they feel easier and more routine.
2. You’ll save money
Of course if someone else is preparing your food, the cost of their labor is built in to the cost of the food.
Add in packaging, overhead, and portion size, and it’s no wonder dining out is a lot more expensive than dining in.
Sometimes we choose to pay the premiums of restaurants because we want the experience of dining out. But on regular nights, cooking in is much, much cheaper. (I know I’m preaching to the choir here!)
This Forbes article found that takeout was five times more expensive than cooking at home.
The more we all can cook at home, the better our budgets will fare.
And if you use a delivery service like Blue Apron, you’ll know exactly how much your dinner total for the week will be.
3. Connect with your family
From cooking together with a partner to sharing the highs and lows of your day with your kids around the dinner table, food as long been a source of connection.
Most nights Birch comes running to the kitchen saying “I will help you!” with his little stool in hand.
Cooking together is a win-win: entertainment for him and help for me!
I also believe that the meals Thomas and I cook together taste better. It’s great bonding for the relationship to divide and conquer together. Must be that pinch of love 😉
4. Control what goes into your recipes
When you cook for yourself, you literally see what goes into your food.
Whether you’re watching for a food allergy like tree nuts, dairy, or onions (!), you know exactly what you’re eating. Restaurants and fast food love to sneak in extra fat and sodium as well.
You also get to make any swaps you like and portion out your food.
So whether you want to double the veggies or halve the oil, you can make choices based on your own health and wellness goals.
You can also control how much you make – and I always recommend making more than you need! That way you can have healthy food for lunches and leftover nights.
5. Relaxing creativity
I love to try new recipes (which is why I don’t rely on myself to do all the meal planning!) and I enjoy the creative flow that comes with chopping ingredients, mixing sauces, and putting a dish together.
Cooking is an art! It’s also a confidence booster when you create something from raw ingredients that all come together to be enjoyed.
Cooking is a great time for quiet reflection (if you aren’t cooking with a toddler LOL) and many love the simple daily ritual of preparing a meal.
Cooking with Blue Apron
As you know, Blue Apron has been a lifesaver for us these past few years (!) as we’ve focused on a blend of home cooking and leaning into a service that takes meal planning off the table.
We all have a lot on our plate (ha!) and to be honest, meal planning is not something I get really excited about.
When I do meal plan, it’s a short and sweet list of simple meals – the ones I know the ingredients for and can whip up quickly.
Choosing new recipes takes time to make ingredient lists and shop. And that’s time that I’d rather be spending doing a lot of other things.
Try The Blue Apron Wellness Offerings
Blue Apron relaunched the Wellness meals with even more offerings than ever this year.
With more than 50 options each week across all recipe styles, there’s something for everyone’s taste.
The Wellness recipes are particularly focused on nutritionally dense ingredients like vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
The meals are a little bit lighter overall but never sacrifice flavor. Blue Apron also offers customization on select recipes, so you can swap out ingredients to suit your dietary preferences.
There are several different wellness offerings to choose from:
Wellness Recipes for 2 or 4 servings
Think whole ingredients that you prep and cook yourself, plus sauces and spices in perfect portions. We do the 4 servings so that we can have some leftovers. Read about my “cook once, eat twice” strategy here.
Wellness Heat & Eat Meals
These meals are already prepped and cooked – you just have to heat and eat like the name says. We’ve tried them and they will surprise you!
Wellness Meal Prep Bundle
There is also a Wellness Meal Prep Bundle available on the menu each week. The Meal Prep Bundles include food for the week intended to be cooked on a prep day. You can see the whole process photographed in this post: Meal Prep by Blue Apron.
Try Blue Apron during this week’s flash sale and get $130 off across your first 6 boxes + free shipping!