As my stages in life change, I am always looking for ways to find my new groove. I love cooking healthy family meals at home and was delighted that Hampton’s Creek sponsored today’s post.
Let’s not pretend. Family life can be overwhelming, some days I feel like I am drowning. Dealing with demanding schedules on top of homeschool life can make it tempting grab something quickly for dinner. While it’s completely understandable to eat out occasionally, our families are so much better off when we are able to prepare healthy family meals at home. Here are just a few of the top reasons to make it a priority to meal plan and cook at home.
For most families, saving money is the biggest factor in choosing to make meals at home. If you’re like the average American, you’re probably spending more on eating out than you are on groceries. Just eating out for lunch on a regular basis adds up to more than $1,000 spent per year. If you’d like to save the money spent on eating out for fun things like a family vacation, it’s time to master the art of meal prep. Many people who meal prep like to set aside one day per week to prepare a few dishes that can be frozen and reheated throughout the week. This way, you won’t have to worry about cooking dinner when it’s time to relax after a busy day.
When you eat out at restaurants several times per week, it’s hard to control your portions. Restaurants have a reputation of serving generous portions, and most people are inclined to eat the majority of the meal in one sitting. By cooking at home, you can serve yourself small portions and go back for more if needed. Meat and sides like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese are best served in small portions if you’re hoping to reduce your calorie intake. Many Americans aren’t aware that a serving size of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. Most restaurant portions of meat are double, if not triple the recommended serving size.
Use Alternative Ingredients
At restaurants, there’s only a small degree of customization available. You might be able to ask for sauce or dressing on the side, but restaurants most likely won’t have alternative ingredients available. For example, if you love mayo on your sandwiches but you’re making an effort to eat healthy, you can try Hampton Creek mayo. This brand of mayo is lower in cholesterol, as it’s egg free, and it’s also sustainably produced so you can feel good about the products that you purchase. Mayo is delicious in a large variety of recipes, but if you’re looking for new ways to try this popular condiment, check out Hampton Creek’s website or Facebook page.
Bond With Your Family
Our lives are just getting busier, and it’s difficult to find time to spend with your family. With parents working long hours and kids committed to increasing amounts of homework, family time is hard to come by. When you decide to cook and eat your meals as a family, you’ll squeeze in a little extra time to catch up with each member of the family. Involving kids in meal prep is also an excellent way to introduce them to feeling comfortable in the kitchen, and you’ll provide them with the skills they need to do well once they’re on their own.
Put Thought Into Your Meals
Restaurant meals are delicious, but they’re usually not nutritionally dense. Even restaurant salads can be extremely high in calories, sugar, and fat. By picking out your own recipes and ingredients, you can be mindful about ingredients and your health. Try to choose recipes that are centered around lean meat like chicken breast and sides like sautéed spinach or broccoli. If you’re missing comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, opt for lightened up mac and cheese made with almond milk and reduced amounts of butter and salt.
How to Get Started with Healthy Family Meals
If you and your family are accustomed to eating out multiple times per week, it’s not realistic to jump right into cooking every day. Try to ease into it slowly, and start out by finding just a few recipes that you’d like to try. After a few weeks of preparing at least some of your meals at home, you’ll start to build the habit and become less dependent on eating out. In just a few months, you could notice a huge difference in both your physical and financial health.