We don’t remember the things we buy, but we remember the food we eat, and whom we eat it with. This is especially true of family meals. Unfortunately, in the United States we have gotten away from cooking meals at home and now tend to eat more for flavor and convenience. The United States actually cooks less than any other nation and studies show that when rates of home cooking go down, obesity rates go up.
There is so much more to cooking at home to lose weight or be healthy. Food is an experience and it’s the story of food that is so powerful—where it comes from, what’s involved in the process, how it makes us feel, and how it connects us with the people we love.
Family meals make more time for conversation and are a great way to set an example for your kids and their future. Cooking more family meals at home can help you to eat more nutrient rich foods and build stronger relationships with the people you love. Cooking at home not only allows you to control your own health, but also the health of your family. Physically and mentally, home cooked family meals can make you healthier and happier.
Cooking at home also creates a comforting and pleasing aroma that can naturally get the family gathered around the table. Did you know that our sense of smell is our most powerful sense of all? The sense of smell is closely linked to memory and emotions, which can trigger feelings and bring us back to special times in our lives. Think of holiday smells like cinnamon, cloves, that Christmas tree smell, or freshly baked cookies. These smells instantly flood us with memories and can bring us to that special holiday time full of fun and family.
Are you interested in cooking more meals at home but don’t know where to start? Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you cook or if you have little to no cooking experience. Your first step is to upgrade the quality of everything you are buying by looking at the ingredient lists of any packaged, canned, jarred, or boxed food you purchase. Your goal is to be able to pronounce each ingredient and know what it is. Ask yourself, is this ingredient real food and do I know where it comes from? Also, the shorter the ingredient list, typically the healthier it will be.
Ideally, cooking with one-ingredient foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and potatoes will be an easy way to make your meals healthier and more flavorful. You really can’t mess it up when you combine these macronutrients. Start with the basics like grilled chicken, baked potato, and steamed vegetables. As you start to cook more meals at home you will learn how to make the meals you love healthier and more flavorful. Instead of pre-pattied burgers from the meat counter, buy grass-fed ground beef or try using ground bison or lamb to make your own patties. Instead of sour cream, try non- fat plain Greek Yogurt. Instead of butter, use virgin coconut oil. Plus, you can make the cooking process more fun by getting the family involved or create ethic themed dinners like Mexican, Italian, or Asian.
Overall, family meals contribute to better health and happier relationships. So no matter how busy you are, try to organize more family meals during the week. Once you start spending more time eating together, you’ll understand what you have been missing–quality time with the family.
Remember that eating should be an experience. Food is social and it is a delicious way to connect with loved ones. In my opinion, food is the greatest way to show love and is the best gift to share. Get your family around the table by making meals that are healthy, delicious, and smell fabulous! Here are some recipes to get you started.
*Always look at the ingredients when buying packaged/boxed foods
(Use a healthier pre-made crust or naan bread if you don’t want to make your own)
*Top with organic grilled chicken breast if preferred.