Great Savings #41 – Embrace Cooking From Scratch

 

 

Eggplant

When you cook from scratch, you can control what goes into your meals, like these beautiful, organic locally grown vegetables.

 

Would you like to save money while eating the healthiest food possible? Then embrace cooking from scratch. No one can argue the convenience of buying foods that are pre-processed or prepared to order. Yet the cost of these foods is higher, and they come with serious risks to your family’s long-term health.

 

Great Savings 14 - Embrace Cooking From Scratch is an original Javabird.com Great Savings Tip.Pricing It In

 

The price we pay for prepackaged food includes the cost of the ingredients, the labor to prepare the food, the cost to package it, the cost of marketing it, plus the manufacturer’s profit and overhead. True, if you get little pleasure from cooking or lack the time to prepare meals, paying these extra costs for pre-packaged and ready-to-eat foods may seem a veritable bargain. However, as food uses up roughly 9 to 25% of a typical household’s income, finding ways to spend less on the things we eat can really help a budget in distress. And as we learned in Great Savings 10: Spend Consciously To build Wealth, any expense we incur on a regular basis can make a significant impact when it comes to accumulating wealth.

 

Mixing up eggs in a bowl.

Cooking from scratch isn’t hard. There’s tons of help available.

To make meals more affordable it pays to make as much as you can from scratch. Sound hard? It’s really a matter of priorities. You can find dozens of free recipes on this website or find hundreds of websites, and cable programs aimed at showing people how to cook. Plus, YouTube™ offers an immense treasure trove of videos featuring real people demonstrating their favorite recipes and tips. If money is extremely tight or you just want to stretch your grocery dollar, see our posts on Survival Shopping: Click here to learn how and click here for a list of true bargain foods.

 

 

It’s Not Just About Money

 

If we told you many processed foods are loaded down with ingredients proven to harm health, would you believe it? It’s extremely troubling to learn processed foods often come loaded with far too much sugar (in all its forms), bad fats, and salt. For more info on these important topics read our posts: “Eating Healthy: Good And Bad Fats” and “Rules For Eating Healthy: Cutting Added Sugars.”

 

All you need are a few basic ingredients.

Make sure you know what’s in the food you eat. Stick to basics like this organic whole-grain brown rice.

If you picture a particular pre-processed item you enjoy, take a minute to check the ingredients. Chances are. the reason it tastes so good is because the company that manufactures it adds extra sugar, salt or fat to make it irresistible. And that’s no accident, either. Companies spend millions coming up with the perfect combination of ingredients designed to hook us on their products. Unfortunately, just because a particular food tastes great doesn’t mean it’s good for us.

 

Control What Goes In The Food You Eat

 

There’s yet another critically important reason to think about what goes into foods. Ask yourself this question: If you had a choice to add pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics to your food would you do it? Few people would consciously make this choice and yet manufacturers end up making it for us all the time because they don’t use organic ingredients. For example, many animals we consume are given high doses of antibiotics and/or hormones, and they eat food that’s been treated with pesticides. For more information on this topic, read, “Safer Food For A Healthier You” at WebMD.com.

 

Time to knead this dough and then we'll let it rise again.

Cooking is fun. Just try baking a loaf of home made bread. You’ll be surprised how good it can taste.

Ultimately, it’s hard to feel safe about the food we eat when it feels like we have so little control over it. And to make matters worse, companies like Monsanto and others are now dumping their patented and genetically modified (GMO) foods into the system. Though they claim these foods are totally safe for human consumption a number of countries have already banned them. It’s certainly something to think about as you go to buy and prepare the food you feed your family.

 

Besides the critically important issue of controlling what goes in the food you eat, we shouldn’t leave off without mentioning a few other benefits for cooking from scratch. For example, you can:

 

(1) Unwind from a hectic day by taking time to enjoy the step-by-step experience cooking provides.

(2) Spend more time with your family as nothing draws the kids or a significant other to the kitchen like the smell of home cooking.

(3) Teach your loved ones essential skills and values they’ll come to appreciate throughout their lives.

(4) Learn more about the art and science of cooking and what goes into good nutrition.

 

Let's saute some mushrooms and onions.

It’s hard to feel completely safe about the things we eat, but when I buy organic and cook it myself I know I’m doing my best.

Your Vote Counts

 

For some, just getting enough to eat or having enough money for any food is all that really matters. For others, avoiding every potential hazard can easily become an obsession. Ultimately, the choices we make as we spend our money on food are a little like casting a series of votes. Collectively, our votes add up and matter most to the companies that feed us. Why? Because these companies rely on profit, and that profit (or lack thereof) goes a long way in determining their practices. It’s worth thinking about the next time you go to the store and reach for that sugary snack or cereal box.

 

Action Item: Check your cupboard and look at the ingredients on some of the cans or boxes of prepared foods you frequently consume. Look specifically at the added sugar, salt and the overall amount of fat. Now, decide whether or not you’re willing to give up eating any of these foods in favor of others you make from scratch. Cooking from scratch does save money and it’s great to know the food you eat won’t put you or loved ones at risk. Why not make cooking from scratch a priority in your life? You can start today.

 

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