There was a time in my life when hamburger helper, canned fruit and veg, and even prepared snacks could always be found in my pantry. We lived on convenience food. Of course, that was before met my husband, the chef. After we got married, he taught me how to cook the real way- from scratch- using fresh, real ingredients. Over the past eight years, I’ve seen the benefits of cooking from scratch first hand.
If you’re new to scratch cooking, don’t be intimidated. Cooking from scratch simply means to cook a meal without using a prepared mixture of ingredients.
See? Simple enough.
5 Benefits Of Cooking From Scratch
Here are just a few reasons to start cooking from scratch and ditch those premade foods . . .
Buying premade food and eating at a fast food joint can quickly add up to a fair amount of money, money that could be much better spent shopping the produce and meat aisles in the stores or buying from farmers markets.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve ended up hitting the dollar menu at Arby’s (hello, happy hour) because I failed to plan a supper or pack snacks in the car when I know we’ll be out all day. It may only end up being $15 or so but think about it . . .
Do you know what else you can get for $15?
- 5 pounds of ground chuck
- 8 pounds of chicken
- 50 pounds of potatoes
- 7 gallons of milk
- 180 eggs
- 15 pounds of apples
- 4 pounds of cheese
See? Each of those items can easily equal $15 as well. Look at how much further the money would go if we spent it on better quality food and took the time to plan ahead.
If you typically buy food during lunch at work, or while out running errands, start bringing leftovers from the night before or pack something fresh and see how much money you can save over time.
Although it may seem like food from restaurants or fast food chains taste good, the reality is that after the first few bites it quickly becomes dissatisfying. Nothing compares to the quality and flavor of food made from scratch, and this because of the quality of ingredients.
Restaurants, specifically fast food chains, manage to cut expenses with lower quality ingredients. Fresh, real food just tastes better. Period.
Most premade and packaged foods are loaded with nasty fats, sugar, salt, and chemicals. Fat, sugar and salt are cheap ways to make food taste good and the chemicals allow the food to have a longer shelf life.
When you cook food from scratch you have control of what goes into your food. This means you are free to use good fats and less sugar and salt. Not only that, but you get to hand pick the ingredients yourself so you know the quality before you ingest the food.
Make Enough to Share / Save for Another Day
To get the most out of these benefits it’s best to pair homemade meals with proper preserving methods. You can make a lot of recipes go farther by adding them to the freezer, in freezer safe containers. Fruits and vegetables can be canned or pickled to prevent spoilage thus saving you money over time.
Make your fresh herbs last longer by hanging them up in an area with lots of sunlight but no humidity.
It’s always nice to take extra food to neighbors or a family in need. Know anyone who had a baby or made a move lately? I’m sure they’d enjoy a lasagna or some banana bread to ease their transition into their new lifestyle.
Brings Family Together
My favorite benefit of cooking from scratch is the fact that we can do it together. Wednesday is baking day in our home. This means that the kids and I sit down on Wednesday mornings (or Tuesday nights if I’m really on top of things) and make a list of things we want to have in the freezer for the coming week.
We do some schoolwork, then get busy in the kitchen making all kinds of goodies.
Typically we’ll make a few quick breads, four pizzas, a couple batches of cinnamon rolls, any cakes for upcoming birthdays, and anything else we feel like making. Yes, it takes several hours, and yes it usually makes a mess (especially when the kids are really involved), but it’s worth it. I promise.