Cooking meals at home using whole ingredients offer many benefits to your physical and mental well being. Here are a few ways to improve your healthiness and happiness and find out what foods actually taste good and are good for you.

Cooking at home

There is something to be said for a sit down meal with friends or family. Studies have shown that when we eat together, kids and families are much healthier and is linked to less obesity, kids performing better in school and less substance abuse within the family. Cooking and preparing meals at home gives kids an opportunity to learn about nutrition and develop healthy habits at a young age.

Whole vs processed foods

So what’s the difference anyways? Whole foods are nutrient dense, and processed foods are energy dense. Nutrient dense foods are just as they sound and provide your body with nutrients like calcium, fiber, vitamin B, magnesium, protein, vitamin D, essential fatty acids and potassium and usually have low added sugar and fat. Think fruits and veggies, grains, beans and legumes and non-salted nuts and seeds. Processed foods have more than one ingredient, are higher in calories and typically have additional preservatives, sugars, dyes, bad fat and come in a bag or box.

Controlling food portions

Often times when eating at a restaurant or ordering take-out, the portions are bigger than one might normally consume and use more fattening ingredients that one would normally use. But when the food is in front of you, it’s tempting and you’ll probably eat it. Cooking at home allows you to control how much you cook and how you prepare the ingredients.