This article is the first in a series that is aimed towards promoting home cooking. Stay tuned as we lay out the introduction and then in later installments we’ll get into specifics about how to improve and progress in your own cooking adventures. There will be recipes, tips and tricks, and plenty of resources for further learning.
Can home cooking really result in positive body composition changes?
We’re trying to eat less food when we diet, aren’t we?
Very few people I know want to eat less food. We are trying to eat the right combination and amount of foods, a mix that can provide us with energy, nutrition, and satiation.
We are trying to control the calories we eat, balanced against the activity we do. We are trying to optimize our protein intake, have a good ratio of fats, get ample fiber, and include carbohydrates for energy.
We want to be full and happy, without overdoing it, without feeling guilty. We want tasty, healthy, fun and satisfying food.
Why can’t it be someone else’s job?
When tracking calories and macros something many people realize early on is that eating out and ordering delivery food make it much more difficult to achieve your nutritional goals.
Restaurants simply aren’t catering to people trying to eat for a specific goal, they are in the business of selling delicious food that will make you want to eat lots of it. They produce hyper-palatable food that will entice you to order it, and hopefully still leave you hungry enough to order a dessert afterwards.
Serving sizes at restaurants aren’t based on how much you weigh or what your activity level is, often they are based on how impressive they can make a plate look in a photo.
When we are tracking macros we generally want more protein, we want more vegetables, we want to be able to control the ratio and amounts of fats and carbs we eat. We want delicious, nutritious food that we control.
What does #science say about cooking, weight loss, and health?
Studies have repeatedly shown that cooking your own food and controlling the ingredients going into your meals can result in spontaneously eating less calories in general, and also in a more balanced, varied and health-promoting diet.
Having someone in the household cook dinner more frequently is associated with lower consumption of total kilojoules, carbohydrates, fat, sugar and fast food. The benefits of cooking are present regardless of whether or not an individual is trying to lose weight.Wolfson, J. A., & Bleich, S. N. (2014). Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition, 18(08), 1397–1406. doi:10.1017/s1368980014001943
Eating home cooked meals more frequently was associated with better dietary quality and lower adiposity. […] More frequent consumption of home cooked meals was associated with greater likelihood of having normal range BMI and normal percentage body fat.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561571/
Any other points to chew on?
Cooking for yourself means control over your food quality, taste, nutrition and calories, and allows you to put your love into the food you make.
Eating, and by association, cooking, is a part of fitness, you can eat great food and actually improve the process of reaching your fitness goals. Food isn’t just fuel, but it is giving you the energy and health to do the activities you want.
The knowledge of what is in the food we eat can allow people to enjoy food and the cultural and social aspects of eating without fear or guilt. Cooking is also a great hobby and you’ll learn constantly as you progress with it.
Learning to treat ingredients properly, and thereby serve beautiful food to your loved ones and yourself is one of the oldest and most venerated ways of showing you care. You care not only about their enjoyment, but their health as well.
Cooking is valuable time being spent, so it is something worth doing properly, with regards to food quality. You can choose to avoid foods that trigger allergies and intolerances. If you control the food production, you control what goes in and what stays out.
As you get more experienced in the kitchen, you quickly realize how you can save time. Not everything has to be hand prepped, there are lots of great shortcuts. The truth is, going out or ordering in can easily take more time than cooking or reheating something at home.
You can save money, lots of it. Once you learn to plan and shop wisely, cooking can be much less expensive than eating out, or buying pre-made meals.
It can be a family activity and a learning experience for everyone involved. Learning to cook is a life skill that will be useful to anyone. Many people look back fondly on the time they spent cooking with their parents as they grow older, and they are more likely to pass that knowledge to their children.
Where do we go from here?
We hope that the rationale for cooking for yourself is clear. The many benefits are undeniable, and just smelling and tasting food that you made and planned is a reward all by itself.
In the upcoming installments we will talk more about planning and executing meals, how to find recipes, how to calculate nutrition for them and how to modify and adjust them successfully. We’ll provide resources for further learning, and give you some of our favorite tips and tricks to be successful in your cooking endeavors, not to mention lots of macro-friendly and delicious recipes of our own.
Thanks for reading – and remember – the more you cook, the better you look.
Written by Jer Chapman. Food photos Copyright 2020 Jer Chapman.
Please visit https://themoreyoucookthebetteryoulook.com to follow and participate in the home cooking movement!