While everyone wants to get in better shape, most people usually focus on their actual workout routine. Unfortunately, countless hours in the gym will only do so much if you stick with a diet that leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, if you just begin cooking for yourself, the quality of your diet will change almost overnight.
Reduced Levels of Salt and Trans Fat
Sodium is actually a necessary component of our diets, but too much of it is easy to come by when you leave your food preparation to others. You always want to avoid trans fat, but that’s another component that finds itself into far too many dishes at restaurants or products found at the grocery store.
While these ingredients are added in to make your food taste better, you’ll quickly find out they aren’t necessary when you’re cooking your own meals. You’ll be eating fresh foods that aren’t being stored or frozen for long periods of time and just don’t need them.
Another great benefit that comes from preparing your own meals is how easily you can make them balanced. When you eat out at restaurants, you’re rarely getting the ideal amount of protein, carbs and fat. The same even goes for the frozen food options you can purchase at grocery stores that bill themselves as being healthy choices.
However, when you actually prepare your own meals, you can make sure you’re getting the right amounts ideal for your body. Of course, you can also make sure they’re coming from the right sources, too.
Make Better Choices
As Oprah points out, something important happens when you begin making intentional, conscious decisions about what you want to eat, as opposed to simply making a flash decision at the counter or by throwing something in your cart.
You’re actually confronted by what you plan on eating and can’t simply pass off the blame on someone else. This involved process leads not just to less calories, but better choices where things like fiber, healthy fats and important nutrients are concerned.
Protein is essential for many reasons, not the least of which that it helps us build muscle. However, when we outsource our food preparation, we tend to receive our protein from less than ideal sources. When you start cooking for yourself, though, you can add in lean protein choices like:
- Round or Loin Beef
Notice none of those choices are deep-fried or otherwise soaked in chemicals to add flavor. You can still dress these options up; just choose healthier oils and spices.
Options throughout the Day
Once you give up your dependency on fast food and packaged meals, you’ll also get better at preparing yourself snacks that consist of fruits, nuts, yogurt, etc. This can go a long way to keeping your cravings at bay during the day while still fueling your body.
Preparing your own meals typically only takes an extra 10 minutes here and there, but the results you will receive in return can last you a lifetime. Instead of going for “quick and easy”, choose “intentional and informed.” You can still get “delicious” as a result and all the other benefits listed above.