What are you having for dinner tonight? If you haven’t planned, you’re probably like me and tempted to eat out. Get a burrito down the street…dress up and go somewhere nice downtown… Yet there are many reasons to resist temptation and cook your own meal: it’s cheaper, healthier, and it turns out it will also make you a happier person.
For one, when you’re the chef, you know all of the ingredients of a home-cooked meal. The amount of butter and salt used at restaurants is probably best left at “don’t ask, don’t tell”—understandable for businesses selling food based on taste rather than health. Distracted eating when out, on the go, or in front of the TV also leads to larger portions. A home-cooked meal also allows you to choose your portion size. When I’m served a 16-oz steak, “challenge accepted.” When I’ve prepared it myself, it could be a shared meal for two and the beginnings of tomorrow’s lunch!
Cooking at home takes longer, without a fleet of dedicated chefs. But with enthusiastic friends or family cooking is a group activity, and when you have time on a Sunday night, take time to prepare a special dish. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a meal around the dining table reduces stress, leads to healthier food choices, and builds relationships—ultimately making us happier!