Every day we’re asking ourselves, “what’s for dinner?” If it's been a long workday or even a busy weekend, the answer is often, "let's just order takeout." Don't get me wrong, having food delivered to your home is a real lifesaver some days. But like most things, moderation is best for your wallet and your waistline. Here are just a few reasons why you should put down the ordering app and pick up your pots and pans.
Photo courtesy of Camden Cedar Hills
1. You’ll Save Money Cooking at Home
While cooking in your apartment home can take more time and effort, the results of producing a generally lower-cost and healthier meal are so worth it!
According to Money Under 30, the average cost of eating out is $13 (not including tips or drinks), whereas the average home-cooked meal costs approximately $4 in groceries. Based on these numbers, eating out is 325% more expensive! Consider this, too: your home-cooked meal can feed at least 2-4 people instead of spending $13 per person dining out.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
2. You’ll Eat Healthier Food
The health benefits to “eating in” are also important to consider. When you prepare the fresh ingredients yourself, you’re more mindful of what you’re eating and putting into your body. The average takeout meal contains higher fat and sodium levels, which in excess can lead to health problems in the future or worsen pre-existing conditions.
3. You’ll Learn a Skill You’ll Use for a Lifetime
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of making your own meals, you’re not alone. You don’t need to be an Instagram celebrity chef right away – take it easy on yourself and remember that cooking is like everything else; you just need to practice to get better at it!
Start with simple recipes with a small number of ingredients and go from there. You can even make an evening out of it and ask your roommate or family members to help you cook (this can work virtually, too!) The best reason to cook at home is the feeling of accomplishment you’ll have when you enjoy something you made yourself.
If you’re new to the area and need to know where your local grocery stores are located, just ask your leasing staff for recommendations or refer to your Camden Neighborhood Flyer that you got at move-in.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Getting Started in the Kitchen, My Approach
As an amateur home chef, I like to switch things up often so that I learn how to make different types of meals. If you have a creative side like myself, this style of cooking could work well for you!
I start by looking at everything I have in my pantry/fridge and evaluate what ingredients would work well for a meal. Next, I type the ingredients into a search engine and scroll through online recipes until I find one that works for me.
For example, I had leftover turkey sitting in my fridge. I didn’t want to eat it by itself, so I combed through leftover turkey recipes online until I found one for leftover turkey chili. I was able to combine some fridge leftovers, add in a few fresh ingredients and pantry staples, and ended up with a tasty meal.
Photo courtesy of Hope Rogers
If you like to plan meals further in advance, you might benefit from using cookbooks. The great thing about them is that you can flip through potential lunch/dinner meals in advance, bookmark what you want to make, then gather all of the ingredients when you’re ready to cook!
If you don’t own any cookbooks or are craving a new one, here are some cookbook recommendations that could help transform your Camden kitchen into a home cook’s paradise:
For family-style comfort food: Magnolia Table, Volume 2 (released April 2020)
For those who want to try their hand in baking: Everyone Can Bake: Simple Recipes to Master and Mix (released April 2020)
Lastly, for those who have or want to try a plant-based diet: Vegetable Kingdom (released February 2020)
I hope that I have convinced you to cook from home more often. I would love to see what recipes you try! For more on preparing your kitchen, check out these 3 kitchen maintenance tips or how to start organizing your Camden kitchen.