#14 10 Reasons Cooking from Scratch is TOTALLY worth it!

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Compelling reasons cooking from scratch is better than ordering takeout from callmebetty.com

Compelling reasons cooking from scratch is better than ordering takeout from callmebetty.com

It’s 5:30 p.m.  Your daughter has probably just taken all of the dvds off the shelf for the fifteenth time today and is now kicking back with a handful of cheerios that she threw off the high chair at breakfast.  Your husband has yet to walk through the door, you forgot to thaw the chicken, you are exhausted (as usual) and you wonder, is making dinner really worth it?!?

This is the scenario at our house more than I like to admit (AKA: Every Night), but I want to share why most nights cooking dinner from scratch is totally worth the effort for our family. 

Now before you tune “this blogger on her high horse” out, listen for just a second.  We are definitely not perfect.  We definitely have our frozen pizza nights.  We have our nights where chocolate chip cookies are the only thing that will hit the spot, and sometimes we just NEED sushi, but most of the time the pros of cooking dinner from scratch far outweigh the cons.  

Compelling reasons cooking from scratch is better than ordering takeout from callmebetty.com

Here are the 10 reasons why cooking from scratch is totally worth it.  

  1. It tastes better! Okay, so this one is kind of a gimmie, but seriously.  While I do have a few favorite restaurants, I have found that 99.623% of the time I prefer the food I make at home to food I would eat in a restaurant.  Sure, it’s nice to be catered to and served at a restaurant, but most of the time the food isn’t worth the cost and calories! 
  2. It’s Cheaper. This is probably the biggest reason to get off your rear and put your apron on rather than heading out to a restaurant, or even the freezer aisle at your grocery store.  The cost of convenience foods adds up QUICK and, as aforementioned, it usually doesn’t taste good enough to warrant the additional cost.  I will often “splurge” on grocery store items like fancy seafood and specialty ingredients as a reward for cooking from scratch and skipping the convenience foods.  It’s a great motivator and can helps me bring 5-star restaurant quality dishes to the table. 
  3. It’s Fun. This was just the tiniest bit more true when I didn’t have a daughter who screamed as if she was being tortured when I put the baby gate up to keep her out of the kitchen, but it’s still a great motivator to get me in the kitchen. I love the creativity involved in cooking from scratch and I love trying new things.  It’s a good thing my husband and daughter are both adventurous eaters and humor me as I play in my adult playground.  I will also mention that cooking is a CHEAP hobby.  You have to eat anyway, right?  Might as well have as much fun and be as creative as possible when you put meals on the table. 
  4. It gives you greater control of what you put into your body. This is one of the most important reasons to cook from scratch.  While I studied nutrition in school, I absolutely hate label reading and I find that trying to eat a balanced and healthy diet can be really disheartening and sometimes downright depressing.  I really don’t like thinking too much about what I eat, and I prefer to just trust my taste buds and my body.  When I am cooking from scratch, I know every single thing that I am eating.  Those things aren’t always the best for me, BUT I am aware that I am eating them.  I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten something only to look at the label and be disgusted at the amount of sugar, trans fat, or sodium that I have ingested.  When I make my own meals, and even my own desserts, there is a mindfulness of eating that comes from having seen the ingredients come together into a finished product and that knowledge changes the way that I eat.
  5. It connects you to the planet. So I recognize that this reason makes me sound a little like a hippie, but it’s totally true, and a totally awesome benefit of cooking from scratch.  Since I’m already being a little philosophical here I might as well keep going.  I believe that one of the BIGGEST problems with our generation is that we have been handed EVERYTHING.  Food is always in the refrigerator.  Water is always in the tap.  Anywhere you might want to go is a car or a plane ride away.  This creates a disconnect and a lack of gratitude for all of the amazing things we have been given.  When you cook from scratch you are one step closer to where food came from.  Bonus points if you buy your food from a local farmer at a farmer’s market who can tell you the story behind the food you are eating.  DOUBLE bonus points if you grow the food yourself and can truly see it come full circle, from seed, to plant, to table, and most importantly  TO BELLY! πŸ˜‰
  6. It takes work and time. Right now you are thinking to yourself, wait a second, I thought this article was about the PLUS SIDES to cooking from scratch, not the downsides.  No, I am not crazy.  To me, the work and time required to cook from scratch is a POSITIVE thing.  Especially when it comes to indulgences.  It takes significantly longer to make a batch of homemade cookies than it does to open a package of oreos.  Because of that, if you commit to cooking from scratch, cookie nights will be allowable whenever you choose, but will probably happen significantly less often that popping open the bag of oreos would happen.  The time and effort required to cook from scratch helps you to make a treat what it’s supposed to be, a pleasurable but out of the ordinary experience. 
  7. It is {usually} healthier.  Nine times out of 10 if you make a homemade version of something you could buy at the store you will be saving yourself calories, fat, sodium, and sugar simply by cooking instead of buying.  On the off-chance that your homemade version is less healthy than a storebought version that can be easily remedied by adding veggies, cutting down on salt or sugar, or using less fat.  You are the boss when you cook, thus what you make can be as healthy as you want it to be. 
  8. It is empowering.  When I was counseling patients in a hospital setting, many of them were very discouraged and felt unable to make the dietary changes they knew were necessary for them to manage their diseases and lead a healthy lifestyle.  The biggest reason I saw for this was a lack of the necessary knowledge to implement changes and suggestions.  Most of these people were subsisting on a high volume of processed foods.  If you eat canned soup every day for lunch, it is very disheartening to learn that you need to eat a low sodium diet to manage your hypertension and canned soup is very high in sodium.  Suddenly you feel like you are not in control of your life and a simple of question of what to eat for lunch becomes difficult and draining.  Now let’s change this scenario a little and say that you make a big pot of homemade soup once a week and eat the leftovers every day for lunch.  Because you have a lot of experience cooking you know that all you need to do is add less salt, and maybe add vinegars, herbs/spices, or lemon/lime juice to add flavor.  This change seems manageable and you feel very much in control of your life.  I wish I could have talked to all of my patients 20 years prior to when they were my patients and told them how grateful they would be for culinary skills in the coming years, so that’s what I am doing with you now.  If you learn to cook well now, when the time comes to make dietary changes you will have the necessary skills to do so and it won’t seem so difficult.  
  9. It gives you flexibility. Cooking from scratch can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.  You can make everything from a simple garlic and butter pasta dish that takes ten minutes, to a full 10 course Thanksgiving Dinner.  You can even change up the very same recipe to be appropriate for different occasions.  Maybe on Christmas you add extra butter and cream to your mashed potatoes so they are an extra special treat, but when you serve them for Sunday dinner you keep the butter to a minimum and use skim milk instead of cream for a still delicious, but less indulgent dish.
  10. It’s Impressive to your friends and family. There’s no sense in lying here.  I love attention.  It’s something I’ve been cursed with essentially since birth.  I have family home videos of my parents trying to film my baby sister in her bouncer seat and I am constantly in the way putting on a show for the camera.  In high school I somehow found myself literally in the very center of people having a conversation where everyone could see me.  I like to think I’ve grown to like attention in a slightly less annoying way, but I still like it.  Now that I like to cook, it becomes the perfect way for me “show off” a little to friends and family.  I am not trying to sound totally conceited here, but I absolutely love to hold dinner parties and treat the people I care about to a fabulous meal, and that is made possible by cooking fabulous dishes from scratch!

So now I want you to bookmark this list, and the next time you are contemplating picking up the phone to order takeout, read it!  If you still want to order takeout after you read it, you probably should go ahead and do it because it’s one of “those days” but hopefully instead you are inspired to GET IN THE KITCHEN! 

If you liked this article pin it, share it, like it, comment on it.  Remember what I said, I love attention, bring on the love πŸ™‚ What motivates you to get in the kitchen even when it’s hard?


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