One of the reasons that we started the Dollop platform is to promote health and well-being through home cooking.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that homemade meals tend to be healthier than restaurant meals, which often contain higher fat, salt, and caloric content, not to mention large portion sizes. Similarly, premade meals at grocery stores often contain empty calories and ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, which are lacking in nutrients and increase inflammation in the body.
By cooking at home, you can learn how to use healthier ingredients like honey and coconut sugar to sweeten your dishes.
Home cooks benefit from the control that they have over the components of what they eat, especially when it comes to weight management. For example, excess sugar is a large contributor to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and restaurants often abuse it, since it enhances flavor. By cooking at home, you can learn how to use healthier ingredients like honey and coconut sugar to sweeten your dishes. By learning how to regularly cook food at home with quality, nutritious ingredients, you can live a healthier life, with more energy and resilience to stress, as well as a stabilized weight and mood.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
While cooking at home can seem like a daunting task, depending on your lifestyle, it can be easier than you think. Start by buying a basic cookbook and making simple meals that don’t take long to execute. When it comes to time saving strategies, buying pre-washed bags of vegetables and other produce can reduce the time it takes to prepare meals. Meal planning for the week ahead will also save you valuable time, which is where Weekly Menu by Dollop comes in handy. With easy-to-follow recipes and a comprehensive grocery list for the week, much of the hard work is done and you can focus fully on the joy of cooking and, hopefully, the health benefits that come along with it.
Start by buying a basic cookbook and making simple meals that don’t take long to execute.
One of the recipes in this week’s meal plan is for homemade pasta sauce. That’s because we wanted to highlight how much healthier and cheaper it is to make your own and it takes no time at all! The jarred sauces you can buy are convenient, but they tend to be loaded with salt and sugar as well as preservatives. Making your own pasta sauce is a much healthier option for the whole family and will freeze well for up to six months. The same goes for most soups and stews.
Speaking of saving money, you can save a lot when you cook from home. This savings starts at the grocery store. It might be tempting to indulge in prepared foods like grated cheese and sliced pineapple but they are always significantly higher in price, so we recommend avoiding them and doing a little bit of extra preparation in your home kitchen. Another suggestion is to stick to ‘no-name' or non-branded items, which are almost always lowest in price, with a few exceptions. No-name cereals, frozen vegetables and butter are almost always just as delicious as brand name versions, but you might want to spring for higher shelf cheese and chocolate.
No-name cereals, frozen vegetables and butter are almost always just as delicious as brand name versions.
Cooking in large batches also cuts costs. This way you can freeze extras and even repurpose ingredients. Fun fact: braised pork shoulder freezes really well! Has your bread gone stale? Why not make bread crumbs or croutons instead of chucking it in the trash? Sticking to that same principle, rather than throw out shrimp shells and chicken carcasses, use them to make delicious stocks. Not only are these ideas cost efficient, they help minimize food waste as well. So it’s a win-win! If you have more than two people in your household, then buying in bulk is definitely the way to go, especially when it comes to non-perishable food items like canned tomatoes, soups and grains. A final but important reminder that supermarkets conveniently display the highest priced items at eye level, so be sure to always scan the entire shelf in order to find the best deal!