Sometimes after a long day at work or school, it can feel so tempting to order takeout and crash on the couch. While occasionally treating yourself with food from your favorite restaurant is delicious and fun, the benefits of cooking your own meals will nourish you far beyond one meal.
You absolutely don’t have to be a pro in the kitchen to feel the positive impact cooking can have on you and your family. Even cooking novices can create tasty, simple meals while enjoying the meditative nature of making wholesome food.
Here are four ways that making your own meals can support mental health.
Cooking is a structured creative outlet.
Working on a new recipe requires focus and flexibility, which gets your mind in a creative space. The steps of a recipe provide structure to ease you into the creative process without being overwhelming. For those new to cooking, simple recipes with clear instructions can open a door to the wide possibilities of cooking without generating anxiety.
Food builds connections between people.
Cooking is one of the oldest and most universal ways people show others they care about them. People cook together to bond, celebrate special events, support others in difficult times and much more. The act of making nourishment for other people strengthens relationships, and seeing others enjoy the food you create boosts self-esteem.
The effort of cooking has a tangible reward.
One of the best parts of cooking is getting to eat the yummy food you just worked so hard to make. That instant reward for hard work makes people feel fulfilled by giving them the satisfaction of doing something with concrete meaning. It can be extremely affirming and uplifting to know your efforts can create real, useful results, and cooking is a great way to get that affirmation.