Why You Should Cook Dinner Midweek (Especially After A Stressful Day)

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Don’t Take(out) The Easy Way

After a hectic day, coming home and firing up the stove to cook dinner may be the last thing you want to do. While takeout and a glass of wine can be the perfect medicine, it’s certainly not the only option for melting tension. In fact, when it feels like we’ve been through the ringer, an evening of chopping and sautéing offers plenty of unexpected benefits. Did you know that preparing dinner can be a stress reducer?

5 Healthy Reasons We Like To Cook Dinner:

1. Cooking At Home Is (usually) Healthier

When we’re stressed we’re more likely reach for junk food. “Research has shown that chronic daily stress releases cortisol, and in studies this has been linked to increasing our appetite or drive for sweet, fatty foods,” says Dr. Susan Torres, a senior lecturer in nutrition for the School of Exercise and Nutrition at Deakin University in Geelong Australia. Unfortunately though, these foods do not help us cope with stress and actually exacerbate how we’re feeling. When you cook dinner at home you’re more likely to eat healthier since replicating the excess salt and fat that goes into takeout would be difficult.  Plus, if you eat foods high in Vitamin C you’ll actually reduce cortisol levels.

2. Meal Prep Can Help You De-Stress

Let’s face it, chopping vegetables can be a snooze fest, but when you’re overwhelmed, this simple task can be exactly what you need. Research shows that repetitive tasks (like chopping) can be quite meditative and actually help decrease stress since they focus the mind on something productive and help to mitigate anxious or de-motivating thoughts.

3. You’ll Save Money On Eating

Ordering out adds up quickly. Even when you splurge on a fancy ingredient, you’ll usually get more bang for your buck by cooking at home. Here’s a breakdown of costs comparing eating out with cooking at home.  You’re also likely to end up with more food when you cook dinner at home thus curtailing future meals out.

4. There’s No Worry About Mystery Meat

If eating organic and non-GMO is a priority for you, the best way to do that is to select your own ingredients. This way you know exactly what is (and most importantly is not) in the food you’re eating. While there are restaurants that serve only organic, options are often limited and expensive. Conversely, contrary to what many people believe, organic food at the grocery store does not cost much more than conventionally grown options.

5. You’ll Feel Accomplished With Your Weekday Meal

Having something to immediately show (and enjoy) for your efforts can be quite satisfying – especially if you do work that doesn’t always offer such immediate payoff. It would be hard to sit down to this and not feel like patting yourself on the back.