Whether you’re looking to maintain your weight or lose weight, eating healthy is a struggle when you have access to fast food and takeout every day. Making the commitment to cook dinner at home every night allows you to cut calories and portions without much work. You don’t have to be a master chef to have a meal routine; all you have to do is choose a recipe and follow it every night for dinner. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a meal routine:
You’ll Be Mindful About Food
It’s easy to eat mindlessly when you’re bringing home fast food. How many times have you sat down with a large order of French fries or a 20-piece chicken nugget order and finished everything in front of you without really thinking about it? When you make the effort to prepare and cook your own dinner, you’re automatically more mindful and appreciative of the food that you put into your body. This leads to a healthier mental relationship with food and eating.
Fast food tends to have large amounts of fat, which is very calorie-dense. You don’t have to cook “diet food” for it to be healthier than fast food. A homemade burger with baked fries is better for you than a Whopper value meal. Just cooking at home is a good way to create a caloric deficit without needing to kill yourself at the gym or reduce yourself to eating nothing but Larabars.
More Portion Control
It isn’t a secret that fast food portions are huge. When you bring home an order of lo mein from the local Chinese joint, you could easily split that takeout container into three meals… but you don’t, because you bought it for one meal. Learn to grocery shop for appropriate serving sizes, and don’t cook more than you need to eat. As a general rule, an appropriate serving of protein is about the size of your palm, and your vegetable and carb servings can be about twice that size.
Less Snacking as a Habit
It’s easy to get into the habit of mindless snacking when you already don’t cook any of your meals. When you’re used to sitting down, cooking dinner, and eating at a certain time every night, you’ll find that you don’t feel like you need to snack as often. This is yet another way that a meal routine benefits your health. While snacking occasionally is fine, cooking your own meals will help you feel fuller and more fulfilled so you don’t need to snack because you’re bored.
Lack Time? Try Meal Delivery
Probably the biggest obstacle to cooking at home is time. Preparation time isn’t such a huge deal for a typical home meal, but shopping time can be an issue. Meal delivery services are convenient for busy people because you automatically receive the right ingredients in the right amounts, leaving only simple prep work like chopping vegetables and actually cooking the meal. Some good choices include Blue Apron, Sun Basket, and Plated.
Make the Leap
The hardest part of committing to healthy eating is making the decision to start. The sooner you start, the more second-nature your cooking routine will become. Soon, you won’t remember what life was like without cooking dinner every night, and your body will show it. Making the switch to appropriate portions, lower-calorie meals, and mindful eating helps you slim down without making much of an effort. The time to start is now.