In the average American home, 50% of the budgeted food dollars are spent on meals prepared outside the home. These “out-sourced” meals end up being higher in fat, sodium, sugar, and overall calories while also containing fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Conversely, meals prepared at home are associated with better dietary quality, especially in regards to fruit and vegetable consumption.
So why aren’t we cooking at home? Of all the common barriers across all demographic groups, time is the biggest barrier contributing to the lack of cooking at home. In fact, the part of cooking that can feel the most overwhelming is in the details of planning; figuring out what you’re going to cook, making a grocery list, going to the store to find all the ingredients, and finally cleaning & prepping everything at home – all this before you ever get to the stove top! Additionally, the average person’s self-confidence in their ability to cook food at home has significantly decreased.
It should come as no surprise that we aren’t comfortable in the kitchen if we haven’t learned to cook from a family member or never took home economics. The good news is that times are changing and the trends are indicating people’s desire to learn the skills to cook at home more. If you are one of the many who wants to feel empowered in the kitchen, here are my tips on how to make cooking more FUN!
1. Find a motivator
A common motivator to cooking at home revolves around the positive bonding opportunities such as shared time working together or sharing a conversation about the day's events with someone. Food is social and conversations lead to meal time connectedness. If not for yourself, think about your kids – research has shown that children who experience shared family meals show increased performance on cognitive, emotional, and social activities.
2. Change your perspective
Overall, cooking skills and confidence vary widely. For those who have more confidence in their cooking skills, there is more enjoyment in the act of cooking. In comparison, those who lack cooking confidence see cooking as a chore and end up relying heavily on ready-made meals instead. Therefore, it is important to make cooking FUN if you want to cook at home more!
3. Do it often
Bottom line, we find the most enjoyment in activities we are good at. So if you want to enjoy cooking more – you’re going to need to put in the time to develop the skills so that you are unstoppable in the kitchen. Making the daily choice to cook at home will take repetition, but like any activity where you were once a beginner - your efforts will be rewarded by an increase in skill and confidence.
4. Plan Ahead
Having a plan in place ahead of time for WHAT you are going to cook/eat makes it easier to prep food ahead of time so it’s easy to grab n’ go. Take some time to pick out a couple of awesome recipes, write out a grocery list, then set time aside to go to the grocery store (just once instead of multiple trips) to get all the food items you need for the week.
5. Good Food = Good Health
It’s important to think about what you need to accomplish in the day or what is going on in the week; (work, travel, exercise). The meals we eat should make us feel healthier, stronger, and make our lives more vibrant in order to achieve ALL the activities we want that day and every day in our lives! Consider asking yourself, “how is this food going to make me feel today?”
Still struggling, let HelloFresh help!
HelloFresh wants to demystify cooking and help their customers break through some of the many cooking barriers. This meal-kit service all but eliminates the major hurdles to a nutritious lifestyle: lack of planning, limited time to grocery shop and the creativity of coming up with a variety of menus and ingredients each week. HelloFresh ensures that when their customers cook at home they have a wholesome meal kit full of everything they need, in exact portion size with recipe cards, and a full nutrition breakdown (including allergens) all in 30 minutes or less.
Bottom line, HelloFresh customers can feel like they are taken care of so they can enjoy the fun part of cooking a healthy meal – the actual cooking! Their customers can expect to be excited when they arrive home and find their HelloFresh box filled with gorgeous, colorful, and nutrient rich fresh foods. The chefs carefully curate recipes so that their customers can look forward to bringing food to life in their own kitchens. Most importantly, HelloFresh aspires to motivate their customers to overcome the challenges of cooking and empower customers to take control of their own health by making the conscious choice to cook at home more often.
-Rebecca Lewis MS RDN @rebeccalewisrd
To learn more about HelloFresh, visit their website at www.hellofresh.com - you can use the discount code “FRESHFANSRD35” to receive a $35 discount off your first HelloFresh box.
You can also visit the HelloFresh blog filled with content on deliciously simple recipes, inspiration and motivation, cooking tips and tricks, and nutrition information (from yours truly). Check out all the posts by clicking here.