This is how it works at my house. We spend the afternoon at the grocery store choosing all the ingredients we need to make all the meals we’ve planned for the next week. We take our beloved ingredients home and carefully put them away, some in the pantry, some in the freezer and some in the fridge. All the while, we’re happy in the knowledge that we have a great week of food planned and are blessed to have a full pantry. This is grocery shopping at its finest in our world.
Then, on to a blissful home cooked dinner with my youngest son and his family. He has however, worked all day and is too hungry to wait for dinner so I send him to the pantry. “Have a snack while you’re waiting,” I say. A few seconds later, he comes out with a clear look of dismay on his face. “You don’t have any food”, he says, “all you have is ingredients!” Thank goodness he found a wife that knows how to cook really well, I think to myself. Left to his own culinary skills, mac and cheese with a side of pizza pops would be the limit to his knowledge of cooking.
Know What You’re Eating
Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. You choose the ingredients, the level of quality and the amount of preservatives. You know who’s handled your food, you know where it was prepared and if it’s still fresh.
Convenience Versus Chemicals
Packaged and processed foods can be convenient and easy, especially if you’ve worked all day and just want to relax. Sometimes, if you’re really busy or just plain tired, this can be a good alternative but a better one would be to have something already prepared for those busy nights. If you’re preparing a meal from scratch, it’s really simple to make a bit more, put it aside and package it up for exactly those types of nights. This works really well in case you unexpected company too.
Saving Money and Time
It’s hard to say which is more important, money or time but most of us with hectic routines will say time and we’re right. Filling our bodies with expensive, poor quality foods won’t lead to savings of either money or time. These types of foods always cost more than cooking from scratch, and if we’re not fuelling ourselves with proper nutrients, we’re too tired to do anything well. It will take us longer to get anything done when we feel sluggish all the time.
A Little Goes a Long Way
If you can keep your cupboards stocked with some basic cooking ingredients that you use frequently and add in some new ingredients every week to create variety, you can make just about anything. Even if you’re not a great cook, having the right ingredients will go a long way towards creating great food.
You can easily create your own sauces, dressings, dips and gravies with just a few inexpensive ingredients. You can make small batches and use them fresh each time or create large batches to have on hand for those extra busy nights.
You’ll find that making food from scratch will save time in the long run, and that’s important. You’ll also save a ton of money when you don’t have to buy each item already prepared. Everything will be fresh and will taste way better.
There are so many benefits from cooking with fresh ingredients. You’ll save money, improve your health, gain cooking skills and be less likely to accept a low quality substitute. If you have a large family or cook a lot of food, bulk shopping for ingredients is the way to go. Whether you buy from the grocery store, bulk food stores, farmer’s markets or wherever your favourite place is, do look into bulk savings. If you have a small family and don’t go through a lot of food, you’ll have to be careful when shopping in bulk. Make sure that what you buy has a very long shelf life or you’ll be throwing your savings away. Be sure to always do the math and compare the prices before you purchase anything in bulk. Not everything is cheaper in bulk so make sure you learn the differences.
Do try to compare generic foods to your favourite brands before you make a purchase. Generic food companies are held to higher quality standards than name brands so check the nutrition labels when you shop. You might be surprised to find out that some so-called lesser quality foods are actually better for you. We’ve done extensive research on this and are still surprised much of the time when we look at the fat and sugar ratios compared to the more expensive brands. It’s worth checking.
What are some of your go-to ingredients? Have you replaced any processed foods with home-made versions?