The Benefits of a Home Cooked Meal: 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Eating Them More Often

Updated: Nov 23, 2021



You might have heard of the term "Family Meal" or "Home Cooked Meal". In these instances, a family is cooking an entire meal together at home and gathering. It's great for kids because they get to learn new skills from a parent and it sets positive examples for them to follow out in life. From an economic standpoint, it can also save money as households consume less food. Additionally, home-cooked meals are way healthier than pre-made processed meals you find in stores.


Home cooked meal
Home cooked meals have been linked with fewer harmful chemicals

There are a number of reasons why you should eat at home.


Here are the top 5 reasons why eating at home is beneficial to everyone and the entire economy:


1) Home-cooked meals are healthier than processed factory foods. The American diet has suffered due to the drive for efficiency in production and more food on the shelves at a lower cost. The result has been an increase in cheap, highly processed ready-made foods with little nutritional value. These low-quality foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. As a result, many people suffer from obesity, diabetes, and a bunch of other food-related diseases.


Home-cooked meals are the best way to ensure a healthy diet. Fresh ingredients, vegetables, and fruits are easily available in almost every store at relatively affordable prices. By eating fresh produce and meat you're ensuring that your body will get all of the nutrients it needs to function properly.


2) Home-cooked meals are environmentally friendly. The increase in global warming has been partly caused by the increase in factory farming and its associated carbon dioxide emissions as animals are kept indoors.


By eating at home, you're saving the planet. You're not driving your vehicle to a restaurant to get your food, and you're not using as much energy packing boxes and refrigerating them. It's easy to stay away from factory food by shopping at the local farmers' market. Thus, you can help reduce your carbon footprint by eating home-cooked meals.


3) Home-cooked meals are cheaper than eating out. You might be thinking: "But I can get a large pizza and soda for $9.99. Surely I can't make that much food at home." But you would be wrong. Take a look at this video where Philip Olson and Julia Lorenz-Olson where they explain how much damage eating out does to your long-term financial goals.


4) Home-cooked meals teach children valuable skills. Children learn by example, so if you want them to know how to cook one day, you need to be the one cooking now. In addition, cooking can give children math skills as they measure ingredients and place them into a recipe. It builds up their motor skills as well as their creativity when they use different ingredients in a dish.


Family eating a healthy home cooked meal
The benefits and end results are totally worth it!

What would happen if we ate out all the time? How would the world be different if our diets changed? We would be fatter. We'd be less healthy. We'd have a more difficult time getting through tough economic times. And we would be eating lots of low-quality food that were bad for the environment and our children's future.


Why Home Cooked Meals Are Better


1) Your Family is Going to Eat It. If you're eating at a restaurant, chances are that a significant number of seats around yours are empty. That's because people don't like to eat out. Even if they are hungry and want to eat, they prefer a home-cooked meal. They want the experience of sitting down as a family to enjoy the meal.


2) The Food is Tasty. Most people like food that tastes good. When you cook at home, you have the chance to use your favorite recipes to create a tasty dish that your family will love. This means less time spent shopping and less time spent in restaurants getting food for the whole family.


3) It's More Affordable. There are fewer expenses involved in cooking at home as compared to eating out. For example, you can use ingredients that you already have in the kitchen and don't have to buy expensive spices and condiments. You also don't need to pay for gas or heating your home or electricity costs that are incurred when the oven is used often.


4) It's More Hygienic. If you want to eat out, one of the first things you need to do is find a restaurant. Then you need to find transportation for yourself and your whole family. The next step is to find a place to park and then wait in line to be seated. The whole time that you're there, you have no idea what's going on with your food. It could be sitting out for hours or it could have yesterday's coffee spilled on it.


5) It's Better for the Environment. When you eat out, you're not just contributing to greenhouse gasses, but you're also contributing to deforestation and a loss of biodiversity. By eating at home, you're helping reduce the number of resources that are used to create food and transport it around the world.



Couple cooking a meal at home
Home-cooking always beats take-outs!

Eating at home can do wonders for your wallet and your waistline. It saves money on gas, parking, and overpriced food whilst also keeping families together in one place for healthy mealtimes.


So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start cooking!


Do you know what would be even more fun and also educational? Getting your kids involved in cooking home meals with you! Imagine the joy on their faces as they watch a roast get cooked in your oven. That's fun, exciting, and stimulating for the whole family!


When kids eat meals with their families, they're just better off


They eat more vegetables and fewer trans fats. They're less likely to dabble in drugs and alcohol and more likely to do well in school. And they have a lower risk of eating disorders and depression. But where your family eats those meals matters too—and it turns out, staying home rules. Here's why:


1) Studies show that eating out has an effect on how kids and adults feel about their bodies. Outings in which the focus is what you eat can lead to a poor body image and even eating disorders. Eating at home, however, creates a better environment for families to bond around food—and for kids to develop their appetites naturally.


2) Home-cooked meals allow parents and children to bond. Family meals are an opportunity to talk, socialize and share ideas. And they're also a chance to discuss more serious topics, like eating disorders and drugs. Studies show that kids who eat meals with their parents have fewer behavior problems and better communication skills.


3) Home-cooked meals allow you to teach healthy eating habits from the start. If you live in a big city, it might be hard to teach kids healthy eating habits at a restaurant. Instead of letting your children pick out food off the menu or choose from the menu based on the least healthy options, it's better to teach them about nutrition at home—where they can see and taste what they're eating.


4) You'll have more time to play with your kids. Studies show that hungry children are far less likely to sit still and listen to their parents talk than when they're full. If you cook a family meal rather than grab a quick bite at the nearest restaurant, you'll wind up with more time to chat with your kids and play with them.


5) You'll eat healthier at home. Studies show that people who eat meals with their families are better about following healthy eating plans—whether they're trying to lose weight, reduce their risk of certain kinds of cancer, or eat less meat. These families also have a lower risk of having diabetes and heart disease.


Friends cooking and eating a home made meal
Make your home a better one by cooking in it!

And now the fun part: getting your kids involved in cooking!


Kids love making food. You can get them involved in creating their own recipes and getting excited about cooking.


My kids are VERY interested in learning to cook right now! I thought it's fun to incorporate some of my favorite recipes from around the web as well as using our Disneyland cookbook so we have a variety of "recipes" to learn from.



Happy family eating home cooked meal
Happy meals, happy family!

Here are some fun recipes you can try to cook at home with your family!


Meatball Subs with Cheese and Marinara Sauce:


Ingredients:


1lb. ground beef mixture (add more or less beef depending on how much meat you want)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon dried basil (or to taste)

2 cups marinara sauce (more or less to taste)

1 cup cheese (any cheese you like, add more or less if you want more or less of the flavoring of the cheese)


Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.



Meatball Subs
Absolutely delicious!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip:


Ingredients:


2 (10 ounces) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well before measuring. (If using fresh spinach, only use 1/4 cup for the sautéed spinach and 3/4 cup for the dip.)

1 (14 ounces) can artichoke hearts, drained well before measuring. (If using canned artichokes, only use 1/4 cup for the sautéed artichokes and 3/4 cup for the dip. You can also use marinated artichokes.)

2 cups grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, divided (I used shredded Italian flavor cheese blend)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (use light mayo if you would like to cut the fat in half)

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Directions: In a large bowl, mix together spinach and artichokes. In a small bowl, mix together half of the cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt. Fold the dip into the spinach/artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve (approximately 4 hours).


Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Just try it out!


Corn on the Cob:

Ingredients:


6 ears fresh corn

2 Tablespoons butter


Directions: Place the corn on the grill over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Turn the corn over several times with a knife. Keep turning and brushing with butter until the corn is cooked through and tender (about 15 minutes). Serve hot.


Pizza Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Peppers, and Mozzarella Cheese:


Ingredients:


8 chicken cutlets (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)

1/2 cup pizza sauce

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup spinach, chopped and sautéed in olive oil (add more or less spinach depending on how much you want)

1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped and sautéed in olive oil (add more or less pepper depending on how much you want)


Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cutlets into a greased baking pan, cover completely with pizza sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with spinach, pepper, and additional mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until both the spinach and pepper are thoroughly cooked.


Cinnamon Apple Butter:


Ingredients:


4 pounds apples, peeled and cored

2 cups brown sugar (I used granulated sugar because that's what we had on hand)

1/4 cup water (use more if needed to slice apples thinly)

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (add more or less to taste)


Directions: Core and cut the apples into thin slices. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with brown sugar. Drizzle liberally with water to prevent the brown sugar from getting too sticky. Let stand for 2 hours.


Spaghetti Squash:


Ingredients:


1 spaghetti squash, peeled and cut in half (use more or less depending on how large you want your portions to be)

1/2 cup butter (I used salted butter because our family likes the salt in it. You can use unsalted as well)


Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cut squash in a greased baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut in half. Scoop out the insides of each spaghetti squash half with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl. Add butter to taste (we like ours super buttery so I added 1/2 cup). Mix well.


Spaghetti Squash
Simple and tasty!

Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe for a Crowd:


Ingredients:


12 cups pasta (we use penne)

2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use homemade spaghetti sauce when we make this. You can also use a jar of spaghetti sauce)

1 (28 ounces) can tomato sauce

1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, shredded (We use big block mozzarella because that's what I had on hand.)

12 ounces uncooked sausage (We used hot Italian sausage so we only used about 1/2 pound for the recipe. If you use regular sausage, you can add your preference of hot or mild.)


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Alternatively, You can cook your own by following these directions: Drain the water from the pasta and pour in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup water, and a pinch of salt. Stir until combined. Stir in the onions and garlic then add another 2 cups of water and stir until well combined.


Chicken and Rice Recipe with Broccoli and Green Beans


Ingredients:


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used about 8 pieces)

2 cups of uncooked rice (We use brown rice because that's what we have on hand. You can use white rice if you prefer. If you use brown, use 3 cups of uncooked rice.)

2 cups of broccoli, chopped (I used frozen broccoli. You can also use fresh broccoli if you prefer.)

1 medium onion, chopped (use more or less to taste)

1 cup green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces (we used fresh green beans on hand so I only needed 1/2 cup)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking oil and set aside (I use olive oil cooking spray).

Directions:

In a frying pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, broccoli, green beans, and chicken. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the chicken is fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over 1/2 cup of uncooked rice then spread out evenly into a single layer in your casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the rice.


Pizza with Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes:


Ingredients:


1 (10 ounces) package pizza dough (We used the frozen store brand we have on hand. You can use your favorite dough if you prefer. I would suggest going to your local pizzeria and asking them for their extra dough if they make their own. Or you can purchase pizza dough at your local grocery store.)

1 cup spaghetti sauce (I used homemade spaghetti sauce. You can also use a jar of spaghetti sauce.)

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (We like lots of cheese so I used 1/2 cup)

3 to 4 ounces canned fried chicken, chopped and drained (I used the canned fried chicken found on the salad bar at my local grocery store. It's already cooked so all I had to do was chop it and drain it. You can also use leftover chicken or freshly cooked chicken)

1 cup spinach, chopped and sautéed in olive oil (add more or less spinach depending on how much you want)

1/2 cup tomatoes, cubed (add more or fewer tomatoes depending on how much you want)


Directions: Place the pizza dough into a greased casserole dish. Spread the spaghetti sauce over the top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza sauce. Top with spinach, chicken, and tomatoes. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dough is browned.

Directions:

Toss the cabbage with vegetable oil (you can also use olive oil for this recipe if you prefer) until coated well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees on a rack placed on top of a greased baking sheet for 15 minutes.


Eating at home has many benefits for both you and your family. It improves your health, saves you money, and helps the environment. The cost to cook at home is often less than what you'll pay at a restaurant. You can also enjoy meals that are made fresh just for you.


If you would like to learn more about home-cooked meals, visit our website today and check out these articles:


Hydroponic Home Garden: The Most Efficient Way To Grow Your Own Food

5 more simple dishes to cook at home (with products from your own garden)



I hope you found these reasons to be as interesting, motivating, and convincing as I did. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about the state of America's diet? Do you think we could all benefit from a shift in consciousness towards home-cooked meals?