In the Age of Meal Delivery, Cooking Your Own Meals is Important

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Did you know there are almost 20 different meal prep and delivery services out there? From Blue Apron to Home Chef, Freshly to HelloFresh, you can take your pick of subscription models and get fresh ingredients delivered right to your door. There are even services that allow you to choose specific dietary options or select the types of meals you like in an ever-learning model that gets to know your tastes.

All these meal prep kits and subscription boxes signal an important shift in consumer culture: one everyone should start paying attention to. People are cooking their own meals, which means embracing the healthy benefits of fresh-made food that’s unprocessed and free of additives.

There are pros and cons to meal delivery subscriptions, and they’re worth considering if you’re not confident in your own cooking abilities. That said, the subscriptions themselves are less important than the trend they represent. If you’re not already, it’s time to start cooking your own meals. Every. Single. Day.

The case for meal subscription services

Meal subscription boxes have a number of benefits—namely, they simplify the entire process of cooking. You don’t need to measure our ingredients or go shopping to find them: everything you need is in the box, with step-by-step instructions for how to prepare a great meal. It’s hard to mess up these meals, and the delicious taste of a fresh-cooked meal leaves people feeling both accomplished and full.

Meal boxes also keep people honest in their eating habits. It’s hard to justify ordering $25 worth of food from a fast-food delivery service when you have a 30-minute meal box you’ve already paid for. Most of the meals in these boxes also require minimal effort to cook, which makes them a simple solution when hunger calls.

All these benefits add up to habit-forming behavior. If your first instinct is to cook a fresh meal when you’re hungry instead of ordering in, that’s a decision to put your health first.

Go beyond the box; explore fresh food

While meal subscription plans are a great foray into the world of making your own meals and eating fresh, they can get expensive and often, lack diversity. After a few months of cooking pre-made, pre-measured meals by box, many people find the confidence to branch out. They’re familiar with the likes of kale, arugula and zucchini, as well as spices like rosemary, cumin and paprika. This gives them confidence to look up their own recipes and gather their own ingredients.

Gaining this confidence is vital, because it’s the next stepping stone toward making your own meals every day of the week. As you branch out and discover your own recipes, you’ll start to become a more informed eater. Only have 20 minutes before you need to jump on a Zoom call? Better make a vegan power bowl that’s filling and only takes 10 minutes to make. In the mood for something with a little kick? Your favorite jalapeño fajitas recipe is much healthier than ordering Mexican from the nearby fast-food place. The confidence to explore fresh food means the more opportunities to make good eating decisions.

The benefits of cooking your own meals

So why go through all the trouble to cook your own meals? The obvious benefits are nutritional, but there’s more to it than just nourishing your body with fresh food. Here are some of the reasons every person should be cooking their own meals as often as possible:

  • Better nutritional health, contributing to holistic wellness
  • Learn a skill and grow the confidence to cook for yourself
  • Cooking is a mindful routine that keeps you present
  • Fresh-cooked food is good for the mind and body
  • Cooking has been proven to improve mental health
  • If you have a family, cooking can bring them together
  • Cooking unlocks creativity and can be stress relieving
  • It’s more affordable than eating out

The list of benefits goes on and on. Above all, choosing to cook your own meals is an empowering way to take control of a simple, yet powerful aspect of your life. What you eat affects everything from your health, to your mood, to your confidence. Choosing to cook for yourself and eat healthy has positive, expounding benefits across all these facets of your life.

Make more fresh meals in 2021

Whether you start with a subscription meal kit or dive right into the local farmers’ market with a list of ingredients and recipes, your goal for 2021 should be to cook fresh meals more often. Start with a couple of times each week—then, as you get more comfortable with your abilities, start cooking as often as possible. From leafy greens to seasoned chicken, Thai food to classic American favorites, discover your taste for fresh-made, delicious food and treat your mind, body and soul to the many benefits of a home-cooked meal.

Evan DeMarco

Evan DeMarco is a leading sports medicine and nutrition expert, published author, public speaker and frequent guest on television, radio, and digital platforms.

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