You can dine out at a restaurant and have a great experience, but nothing quite compares to the feeling of preparing a meal for your children. Dining in is healthy, fun, and above all, rewarding. When you cook at home, you know exactly what goes in to your cooking, so you can be sure you are creating healthy and delicious plates that will nourish their growing minds and bodies. Still on the fence about using the chef’s hat at home? There are many more reasons to get cooking.
This one depends on what you’re cooking and where you like to go out to eat, but eating at home is generally a timesaver. When you don’t have to round up the kids, pack up the car, battle the weather, find parking, wait for your server, and request your bill, it’s easy to see why dining at home is more efficient time-wise. You will probably save a few minutes every day eating at home, which really adds up throughout the year. Practice makes perfect, and the more often you cook, the faster you’ll become.
It’s difficult to understand exactly what your kids are eating when there’s no nutrition label to help guide your choices. Sure, you could go to the restaurant’s website and look at how healthy certain items are, but that’s time-consuming, inconvenient, and sometimes impossible depending on the eatery. Most people do the next best thing – guess about how healthy each item is and hope for the best. While this approach sometimes works, many foods have hidden fats, salts, and sugars. Purchasing your own ingredients allows you to know exactly what is in the food you are eating. This ensures you can avoid ingredients like sodium benzoate, propylene glycol, and other things that are difficult to pronounce.
When you cook on your own, it’s easy to see exactly what you’re about to eat. At a restaurant, you don’t have any control over whether the server brings you a small helping or a bucket full of food.. It can be difficult for children to gauge how hungry they are as delicious plates pass by tables and they anticipate a great meal. When the giant plate of lasagna or tacos arrives at your table, it’s hard not to over-indulge – especially for children who haven’t learned to pace themselves. At home, portions are entirely in your control, so your child can enjoy food without binging.
It might be less common than before, but nightly family dinners are a great way to reconnect with your children. You can learn about what a typical day is like for them, and discover how they feel about things going on in their lives. Mental heath is as important in children as adults, and when you have regular conversations with your children, you begin to notice tendencies in their behavior that reflect their mental states. In addition, children who regularly speak with their parents are more likely to be communicative when problems arise. Family dinners can be like glue to hold your relationships together.
No matter what your reasons are for cooking at home, it’s important to know that trips to the grocery store, learning a few new recipes, and doing the dishes are worth the effort in the end. It’s the easiest way to ensure that your children are well nourished, because you’re the one doing the prep work before a meal. Keeping your family healthy should be a top priority, and we’re always here to help any way we can. One health concern you should never overlook is the flu. Check out our blog post, “Why Every Kid Deserves a Flu Shot” to see how the vaccine saves children’s lives every year.