Cooking at Home: Your Common Excuses and How to Overcome Them


Written by Caitlin Schille

Everyone loves a good, home-cooked meal. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a fresh, warm stew on a winter evening after a long day of work and commuting. However, this desire for home-cooked food isn’t reflected in our habits. A recent poll showed that in 2015, Americans spent more money eating out than they did on groceries. People offer a bevy of excuses for why they don’t cook more, most of them weak. Here are some of the top excuses for not cooking at home, busted.

I don’t have time to cook.

This comes from the fallacy that home cooking always has to be an elaborate meal with many ingredients and components. In fact, preparing food at home can be as simple as making a quesadilla using a whole wheat tortilla and adding some chopped bell pepper or making scrambled eggs with some sautéed vegetables. Even a smoothie with banana, spinach, yogurt, and berries can replace a meal in a pinch. All of those meals take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That is less time than you would spend in the car driving to and from your local fast food joint. You can also save time by using prepare-ahead methods like a slow-cooker, or save time with ingredients by getting pre-washed or pre-cut produce, frozen fruits and vegetables, and frozen chicken that needs only be warmed.

Eating out isn’t any more expensive than buying ingredients.

False! In fact, according to a recent article in Business Insider, packing a lunch instead of eating out for lunch saves you $2,000 per year. That’s quite a hefty sum. Buying groceries as opposed to eating out may feel expensive at first, but compare it to what you actually spend on eating out every week in addition to your normal grocery bill, and you will almost always come out on top.

When I want to cook I don’t have the ingredients on hand.

This can be solved with a bit of planning. While it may feel too time consuming to sit down and plan, it will actually save you time and money in the long run. At the beginning of each week, take 10 minutes to plan a menu for each day of the upcoming week, make a corresponding grocery list, and then do the grocery shopping trip. As you find favorite meals to make and become familiar with the ingredients you most commonly use, you’ll find that this meal planning process becomes even quicker.

I don’t know how to cook.

No problem! You don’t need to be a culinary whiz to prepare some simple meals. There are so many resources to become a better cook. For example, if you’re not quite sure how to hard-boil an egg, a quick search will offer several YouTube videos that show, step-by-step, how to correctly hard-boil and egg. Not sure how to chop a certain vegetable? Do the same thing and search it on Google or YouTube! If you’re largely unfamiliar with cooking, start small; begin with simple, straight-forward meals with relatively easy techniques and few ingredients.

Cooking at home isn’t much healthier anyway.

While there are many restaurants that offer healthier options, cooking at home will benefit your health so much more. When you cook at home, you can know for sure that you’re getting fresh, whole ingredients. You control how much salt, fat, and sugar are added to your foods. A study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that “people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less.” If you’re looking to lose weight, improve your health, or just feel better, home cooking may be your best first step.


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Caitlin Schille
Caitlin Schille, MPH, is a writer and health expert for Healthy Magazine. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Public Health & Epidemiology and has a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is now a public health researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Caitlin Schille

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