Raise your hand if you are tired of cooking. I know I am. When one homeschools, one could be at home most days, which means one does not have the excuse of eating out because of convenience. Putting two children in the car is a lot less convenient than boiling water for pasta and opening a jar of marinara sauce, know what I mean?
In my home cooking burnout, no pun intended, I reached for a simple solution: sandwiches. Nobody complains. Especially not the cook.
As I recover from my boredom and re-discover the joy of cooking, I have to keep in mind that home cooking does have advantages over eating out. In no particular order…
1. Home cooked food is healthier than restaurant food. Research has shown that home cooked meals contain less fat and sugar than their restaurant counterparts.
2. Lower fat and sugar content spells lower calories. I recently saw a study which encouraged people to cook at home more, as a way to lose weight. They also mentioned the large portion sizes one receives at a restaurant. However, overeating can happen at home, too. So keep in mind portion control.
3. Meals prepared at home are more natural. You don’t have to cook the whole meal from scratch. As long as you have some vegetable and fruit peelings in the trash can by the end of the day, you have made an effort to cook more naturally.
4. You gain the satisfaction of feeding your family a meal you prepared. Nothing makes me feel more like a mother than watching my children eat food I have prepared. Knowing that I nourish their bodies and help them grow takes me to new levels of motherly pride.
5. Eating at home is a lot less expensive than eating out. I have kept the best (and most obvious) advantage for last. Dave Ramsey estimates that a home cooked meal costs five times less than a restaurant meal. Sometimes more, depending on the restaurant and the meal, of course. And, for the record, fast food is not cheap. Breakfast at McDonald’s for a family of four can cost up to $18. Not to mention the long-term cost of lifestyle diseases you acquire by eating high-fat, low-fiber, deep-fried food.
We mothers get tired of preparing meals. If we can take a break now and then, by preparing sandwiches, or taking turns cooking, we can have our cake and eat it, too.
I also find it educational for the kids to help out. I let them help based on age level. There is so much to learn from fine motor skills to math.