Home Cookin'

Welcome to Week 5 of 52 Healthy Habits 2021 Edition!  

How are you doing on your healthy habits? Don't worry if you aren't ready to move on to this week's habit. Stick with the habit that you really need to keep working on until it becomes a habit. 

This week we are going to focus on cooking the majority of your meals at home. I know for some of you that live really busy lives, it's much more convenient to eat out, but did you know that... “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.

If you're a terrible cook, maybe this is a good time to take up a cooking class (bonus for learning something new, which is part of living a healthy lifestyle.)

Not only is cooking at home healthier for you, but it's also healthier for your wallet. And if you need a few more reasons for cooking at home, here you go:

Research shows regularly eating home-cooked meals results in:

  1. Healthier and happier children
  2. A decreased chance of teens using alcohol and drugs
  3. Reduced consumption of sugar and processed foods
  4. A reduced carbon footprint
  5. A longer life (and healthier)
Here are some tips to help you with cooking healthy at home:
  1. Take a look at how much time you spend watching TV or on social media and use that time to cook healthy meals and prep your meals for the week.
  2. Invest in some basic cooking equipment to make cooking easy and efficient so it's not so stressful.
  3. Keep your pantry stocked of basic food items so you don't have to run to the store every time you want to cook a meal.
  4. Each weekend, set aside time to plan meals and make shopping lists for the week ahead. Take your weekly schedule into account: For example, if you know Tuesday will be busy, then plan for a meal that’s quick and easy to make. With a little forethought, you can tailor home cooking to even the busiest weeks.
  5. Eating home-cooked meals on a regular basis doesn’t mean you need to cook every night. Cut yourself a break by cooking large batches of every meal you make so you can reheat it throughout the week (or freeze it and eat it down the road). Also consider making items that can be reused in different ways – for example, cooked chicken breasts can be used in sandwiches, in pasta, or on top of salads to make multiple different meals over the course of a few days.
  6. If you’re completely new to home cooking, don’t feel like you need to be a gourmet chef every night of the week. Start small and commit to cooking one or two meals at home each week. Use simple ingredients (pasta and red sauce is a classic example), and give yourself time to get comfortable in the kitchen. (I love simple and easy meals, like chicken and sauteed spinach or ground turkey, sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs)
  7. Don’t feel pressured to get fancy just because you’re in charge of a meal. If you like chicken-stuffed duck breast coated in truffle oil, then go for it. But there’s no need to reinvent the meal. If pizza is more your style, then make yourself a homemade option. By preparing meals you like to eat, you’ll be more likely to stick with home cooking.
  8. Cooking doesn’t need to be a solo affair. Invite your partner, kids, or friends into the kitchen to cut down on the time and energy required to make a meal and to make it fun. Cooking together is a great way to solidify relationships, share food knowledge, and make new discoveries in the kitchen.
  9. Food is a cornerstone of culture. Reconnect to your family history by exploring recipes from your own cultural heritage. If you’re not sure where you come from, use this as an exciting opportunity to find out. (again...learn something new)
  10. Growing your own produce and herbs is a sure-fire way to feel more connected to the food you eat. There’s nothing more satisfying (or nutritious) than making a salad from greens and vegetables you grew yourself. While you’re at it, consider learning how to preserve food for the winter and compost leftovers. Kicking up your home cooking is just one benefit of investing in your land. (don't worry if you don't have a green thumb, or this just isn't your's not mine either...I buy fresh herbs from my grocery store and try and learn new ways to use them)
  11. Crock pots are a great investment for the wannabe home chef who doesn’t have a lot of time (or skills) to invest in making meals. Toss ingredients into the pot in the morning and come home to a flavorful meal.
  12. Seek out different cookbooks and recipe sites – or even invest in a few classes – to expose yourself to diverse cooking styles and discover ways of cooking that work best for you. (Pinterest is my favorite way to find new recipes and save them!...just watch how much time you spend on there)

Whether you’ve never cooked a meal in your life or you want to get back to the kitchen after a busy schedule drew you away, give a few of these tips a try, and commit to a few small lifestyle changes. You’ll be on your way to living a healthier, happier life. Bon appétit!

What's your favorite meal to cook at home? Reply to this email or share in our Facebook group! Can't wait to see what it is!

This week's email is sponsored by the following.**This email contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Carrie A Groff

Your Accountability Partner and 52 Healthy Habits Coach

P.S. Don't forget to share in our Facebook Group

P.S.S. Did you know that it actually takes an average of 66 days to form a habit (not the social media 21 days statistic) and some habits take even longer! There was a study done for 84 days and the quickest forming habit did only take 20 days, which was drinking a glass of water after getting up, but other habits like eating a piece of fruit with lunch took twice as long; and the habit of 50 sit-ups after morning coffee was a habit that one participant couldn't form even after 84 days. Walking for 10 minutes after breakfast turned into a habit for another participant after 50 days. 

Previous Healthy Habits:

Week 1: Drink Your Water!

Week 2: Half Your Plate=Veggies

Week 3: Move Your Body

Week 4: Sleep Deprivation
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