The Many Benefits of Home Cooked Meals Vs. Fast Food
Molly Hitchens studied business for years before launching her career as a journalist and analyst specializing in original and innovative business planning. She shares her expertise through her work with The Idea Trader as well as through in-person speaking engagements at universities around the country.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, fast food restaurants were a novelty in many communities. They offered the convenient option to order entire meals on the spot and receive them in just a few minutes.
Even better, their prices were lower than those of bona fide restaurants. The food was simple but tasty, offering an easy dinner solution to busy families and working professionals.
And so it’s pretty easy to understand why fast food quickly became a major business opportunity in the United States.
At the same time, it became steadily popular with a large portion of the general population.
Even pop artist Andy Warhol famously released a short film in which he eats a McDonald’s hamburger, further cementing fast food as an integral part of American culture.
But a lot of time has passed, and we’ve learned things about fast food that should make us question our cravings for deep-fried foods.
We’ve outlined the major benefits of home cooked meals vs. fast food. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll remain convinced that cooking meals at home, at least the majority of the time, is a much healthier and fulfilling option.
The Healthy Option
Unless you’re cooking highly processed foods with a deep fryer in your home, we can more or less guarantee that anything you cook at home will be healthier than fast food.
There have been many movies and documentaries that have outlined the unhealthy qualities of fast food.
It’s also much easier to put together healthy meals when you have 100% control over the ingredients you’re using.
For as much as fast food restaurants try to be open about their ingredients and their cooking methods, it’s difficult to keep track of it all or verify their statements in any way.
But cooking at home allows you to decide whether your meals will be purposefully low-fat, sodium-free, or totally free of fatty cooking oils.
A Sense of Community
If you live with others or have a family, then cooking at home can easily become a communal activity.
Make an effort to eat meals together or even coordinate a cooking schedule so that you won’t have to cook every night.
Everyone can search out different recipes that they’d like to try, then present them to the group.
Cooking together can be fun, enlightening, and allows for different creative ideas and methods to be used.
And even if everyone doesn’t end up helping out with the cooking, it’s still a good idea to place importance on everyone eating dinner together, in the same place and at the same time.
Over time you’ll start to feel a deep sense of community and companionship. And once it’s been made a habit, everyone will start to look forward to a group dinner, where they can discuss their day and their upcoming schedule.
Fast food simply doesn’t offer the same opportunities and benefits.
Honing Your Cooking Skills
I think that, deep down, we’d all like to be skilled cooks one day. It’s a wonderful, practical skill to have, and it gives you the opportunity to cook special meals for your friends and loved ones.
However, many of us often lack the motivation or the free time to really dedicate to improving our cooking skills.
But opting to make home cooked meals rather than purchasing fast food will give you plenty of opportunities to build up your culinary skills over time.
If you don’t know quite where to start, then we highly recommend checking out some cooking channels on YouTube.
There, you’ll be able to find some great explanations of the basics of cooking and how to pair flavors properly.
The fast food industry tries its best to offer some variety in their offerings. But unfortunately, those offerings end up being inferior versions of the style of food they’re based on.
Fast food burgers and fries are an inferior version of American food. Fast food tacos are an inferior version of Mexican food. Pizza is an inferior version of Italian food.
So why not allow yourself high-quality food and greater variety? Cooking at home gives you the best of both worlds.
If you’re tired of cooking and eating the same kinds of meals again and again, then you should make an effort to plan many different meals ahead of time, exploring new recipes in the process.
If you or your loved ones have specific dietary restrictions, then making home cooked meals is the safest possible way to enjoy tasty dishes.
Restaurants will, of course, accommodate you if you make them aware of your dietary restrictions, but cooking on your own is a great opportunity to find recipes that avoid ingredients that you’re allergic to.
There are many websites that go out of their way to focus on recipes that don’t include meat, gluten, sugars, or other elements that many people simply can’t eat.
Cooking meals at home is also generally much less expensive than eating fast food on a regular basis.
While a single fast food meal may seem enticing in the moment because of its low price, it’s usually possible to make a similar meal at home for less than half that price.
Ultimately, fast food prices include upcharges for convenience and preparation.
Planning detailed home cooked meals ahead of time and buying certain ingredients in bulk can end up saving you a significant amount of money each week.
It does certainly take more effort to prepare and cook your own meals, but in the end, you’ll see that the effort is all worth it.
When it comes to health, finances, and general enjoyment, making home-cooked meals has a definitive advantage over eating fast food meals.
And once you’ve stepped away from fast food for a prolonged period of time, you’ll likely even stop having cravings for fast food or unhealthy foods in general.
Eating healthy is one of the best ways to feel good and maintain high energy levels throughout busy days.
Just try it for a few weeks. You’re bound to notice the benefits quickly.