Some of my fondest memories from childhood are sitting in the kitchen, the radio on in the background, watching my mother or father chop, whisk and fry as they prepared the evening meal. And the memory of the first meal I prepared with my wife in our new home is as clear to me as though it were yesterday; a tender roast braised in the oven for several hours. Throughout my life it is these simple home cooked meals that I remember best. And yet, recently, I find myself eating out more, grabbing takeout, or having food delivered. And it turns out I’m not alone; as of 2015, Americans now spend more money eating out than they do on groceries.
Why should I bother changing this habit? It turns out there are very good reasons to cook meals at home, and host of modern conveniences is making it easier than ever to continue preparing food in your own kitchen! Compared with cooking at home, restaurant meals can be higher in fat, higher in sodium, higher in sugar, and ingredients are frequently frozen or prepared at industrial facilities. In addition, dining out usually costs significantly more than preparing food yourself. Many of us also miss the satisfaction of working in the kitchen while visiting with family or friends. In a nutshell, it is often healthier, more fun, better tasting, and more affordable to cook at home.
Some parts of food preparation can be more difficult as we age. For example, wrist mobility or hand strength might make chopping harder, or it might be difficult to get to the store to stock ingredients. Luckily there are many services and products available to help! For chopping, try a rocker knife or one with an ergonomic handle. An electric can opener is a huge improvement over wrangling a manual can opener. Oftentimes one of the biggest barriers to preparing home-cooked meals is procuring ingredients, but services like grocery delivery service PeaPod, or meal kit delivery options like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh dramatically simplify grocery shopping.
A lack of interest in cooking doesn’t preclude you from enjoying home cooked meals. Private cooking options can be surprisingly affordable. Services like Chefs for Seniors and Silver Cuisine are great for providing home cooked meals tailored to you.
Going out for dinner can be fun, and delicious. Even more so when its a special occasion. But with all the advantages of eating in, and the services available to help, why not make eating in a regular part of your lifestyle?