What and how we eat is of paramount importance. Everything else is secondary.
Unfortunately, today it is apparent that we are cooking much less, and consequently, we are ordering-in more. Or is it vice versa?
It’s been obvious for a while now that every successive generation is using the gas stove less and less, and the microwave (to reheat) more and more.
Plus more importantly, most of us feel that we are too busy to cook. Yes, that’s the response I hear from so many people around me.
If you really don’t have time to cook or sit down and have 'real food', maybe it’s time to take a good look at your lifestyle and revamp your priorities.
Home-Cooked Food & Obesity: Inversely Proportional?
From a nutritionist's perspective, less home-cooked food is bad news for our health. When we cook at home, we control the ingredients, portions, taste, satiety, and our health.
So, not eating home-cooked meals can be directly linked to ill health and an increased risk of lifestyle disorders. It’s that simple an equation.
That said, I do understand that cooking more seems easier said than done, as temptation and a lack of time can be big deterrents here.
So instead of abstinence from ready-to-eat foods, we should probably focus on achieving moderation.
Here, I feel a good equation to follow would be to eat home-cooked food about 60-75 percent of the time and (maybe) order in/eat out the rest of the time.
The other (easier) way can be to ensure at least two main meals every day are home-cooked. This way both nutrition can be ensured and calories can be kept tamed.
I also feel a decline in cooking is directly related to an increase in obesity and lifestyle diseases worldwide.
Start Cooking More At Home
That's easier said than done, especially for non-cooks. So, how does one get started?
The answer is simple. You need to skill up on preparedness. Just by being prepared and organized, this (seemingly) daunting task can become a breeze.
And trust me, besides massive health gain, you will save a lot of money too which you can use for other important things (like that vacation or a new car that you have been eyeing for a while).
So start cooking more and see the difference (both on your wallet and weight).
How To Be A Smart Cook
The best way for people who don't have time to cook is to switch to smart cooking. Some tips that help me:
Invest in Smart Health Gadgets: I find steamers, soup makers, sprout makers, rice cookers, and kitchen scissors very helpful. Stock up on these.
Prepare in Advance: Weekends or an evening spent planning the weekly menu and prepping for it goes a long way.
Plan and prepare a week's worth of healthy and tasty calorie controlled dinners. The same strategy works for other meals too as planning ahead helps you keep your eating on schedule (if you already know what you're having for lunch, you're less likely to eat something wrong).
Do Grocery Shopping for the Entire Week: Keep your pantry stocked with basic items, especially the things you enjoy that make meals easy to prepare, such as jars of tomato sauce, low-salt broth, and even low-salt canned vegetables. Similarly, your refrigerator should be stocked up with only healthy stuff.
Make a Recipe Book: Scout for easy-to-cook recipes for mouthwatering kormas, biryanis, soups, interesting dips, and sandwich/roti stuffings ,and more, and keep handy. These go a long way in helping you decide what to cook and eat.
One Pot Recipes: Put your ingredients in a slow cooker - most require hardly any preparation - and wrap up other work, or go watch a movie; it'll be ready when you are back.
Snack on Fruits: Buy them in small amounts and keep them handy. They act as healthy snacks and in between meals fillers.