By becoming more active in the kitchen, you can cook up these major health benefits!
Cooking and Baking Health Benefits
Promotes Healthier Eating
From skipping out on drive thru runs to tighter ingredient control, people who cook more at home are more likely to eat healthier.
In fact, research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found eating home cooked meals more frequently was associated with better dietary quality and lower adiposity, or a condition of being severely overweight or obese.
Think eating healthier meals is expensive, though? Think again. Titled "Cooking at Home: A Strategy to Comply with U.S. Dietary Guidelines at No Extra Cost" and issued in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, evidence supported home-cooked dinners were associated with greater dietary guideline compliance without significant increase in food cost.
Boosts Mental Health
In addition to cooking at home for financial and physical vigor, it extends to the health of your brain!
Published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers followed 658 people over an approximate two-week timespan, in which the participants reported how much time they spent on creative activities, daily positive and negative affect, and daily flourishing.
The researchers found doing small, everyday tasks such as cooking and baking made the group feel more excited about their pursuits the next day, ultimately supporting the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.
Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment and baking and cooking is a way to do encourage it!
Think about it: From measuring ingredients to following step-by-step instructions to concentrating on smells and tastes, all tasks involved for baking enforce you to be in the present moment.
So along with the direct benefits of cooking itself, being more mindful has a significant impact on overall health, including lowering feelings of depression and anxiety, improving sleep, promoting longevity, and enhancing quality of life.
Cooking and baking is a good approach to get everyone in the kitchen and socialize, as connecting with one another sparks conversation over the food itself and small talk about everyone’s day.
Furthermore, cooking with your spouse can strengthen your relationship, as it encourages communication and compromise regarding which recipe to prepare, who will do the dishes, etc. As an added benefit… Since couples start conjoining health outcomes and behaviors after marriage, cooking more at home and nutritious dishes can lower the risk of obesity and support a healthy body weight for each.
And not to mention, how satisfying and selfless is it to bake a cake for your coworker’s birthday or a batch of "just because" cookies for your spouse?
Emboldens Food Appreciation
From ambitiously preparing your own pasta noodles to whipping up a batch of homemade brownies, cooking and baking in the kitchen emboldens your relationship to foods.
Because think about it: Just how impressive is to find your ingredients at a local market (or grow them in your very own garden), assemble the chosen ones carefully in the kitchen, and serve up a homemade meal enriched in fresh flavors?
Getting your kids in the kitchen also helps form a healthier relationship to food at an early age, thus instilling healthy habits for years to come.
How to Cook and Bake More
Whether an eager newbie or simply wanting to deepen your repertoire in the kitchen, cook and bake more by:
Making Your Kitchen More Welcoming
If your kitchen is cluttered, messy, and, well, unfriendly, you are less likely to want to spend your time in it. So evaluate your kitchen and revamp it to a more welcoming environment with these tips.
Preparing A Game Plan
Especially if new to the world of cooking and baking, preparing a game plan can lower stress in the kitchen. That being said, formulate your ingredients list in advance to ensure you have what you need, along with verifying the right equipment is available to use.
Signing Up for Cooking Classes
Cooking classes are a fun, social way to increase exposure in the kitchen at all experience levels. Signup for classes in your local area to socialize, define your skills, and increase your confidence.
While cooking classes are valuable to increase kitchen experience, regularly taking them might not always fit in your financial plan or busy schedule. Fortunately, watching videos on YouTube and food-based websites is a free and convenient method to learn countless cooking techniques and tips.
Searching for New Recipes
Like videos, recipes are also right at your fingertips. That being said, search for fun recipes to prepare. You and your family members can take turns selecting a new one to try each week!
Having trouble getting your kids in the kitchen? Increase their interest and excitement by playing cooking and baking food games! Get creative and make a kitchen scavenger, in which they must gather the appliances and ingredients to make a cookie recipe. Also give them a few common ingredients and have them come up with a creative technique to prepare them. (Winner gets to pick the next recipe or after-dinner activity!)