Stress reduction has been a huge part of my life over the past few years. For a while, I let my nutrition goals take a back-burner in the name of stress-relief. But, guess what? I just wound up being more stressed about the crap food I was putting in my body and the unhealthy weight I was gaining. Now, I make it a priority to find stress-free ways to incorporate greater nutrition into my day-to-day life. The result was finding a creative way to reduce stress, by cooking at home.
As stress levels allow, homemade meals should always be the go-to plan for feeding yourself and your family.
You Have Control Over What Goes into Your Food
There’s a big difference between a home cook and a food scientist. By preparing your meals at home, you can control things like how much sugar goes into a sauce or a salad dressing (none!), eliminating allergens or adding a little more garlic than someone else might.
Not only do you get to make the meal to your own specifications and tastes, there’s no science involved. Packaged foods are prepared in labs, by people whose job it is to create food so delicious you can’t stop eating it and keep coming back for more.
That’s not the way we were meant to eat.
You Know for Sure Exactly What’s in It
The really scary thing about packaged and restaurant foods, is that you never really know what’s in them.
Food labels are full of confusing ingredients, designed to trick you by hiding ingredients you would otherwise avoid right in plain sight.
For example, barley malt, dextrin, galactose, maltodextrin, and treacle are all different names for sugar. And, those are only a small percentage of the full list. For someone trying to cut sugar from their diet, this can get really confusing, really fast.
Creative Way to Reduce Stress – The Internet is Full of Quick and Easy Recipes
The good news is, preparing snacks and meals at home has never been easier. A quick search on Pinterest will bring up literally thousands of recipes you can pull together quickly with minimal effort.
My go-to search term these days is “quick easy paleo” breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, whatever. I also have a tendency to search by the type of ingredients I already have in my kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect! Sometimes, life really is so busy that even the easiest of recipes is still too much to even think about, let alone prepare. It’s times like this when it’s so important to lean on family and friends who are willing to help.
I also trust brands like Methodology, who prepare and package fresh meals once or twice a week, then deliver right to your door. It’s not ideal, and it’s not as budget-friendly as home cooking. But, when cooking is only going to add to your stress, it’s a better alternative than a freezer dinner or fast food.
It’s Better for Your Family Dynamic
As my husband put it, “no one ever reminisces over the great TV dinners Grandma used to heat up for family dinner.”
Cooking together, and enjoying that home-cooked meal together will improve your relationships and bring you closer together as a family. And as an added bonus, it’s almost always easier to hear each other talking at home than it is in a restaurant!
Take Control of Your Health
I’m the first person to tell everyone who will listen that stress reduction is the number one most important thing you can do for your health. But, nourishing your body with whole foods, prepared in your home is way up there too.
In fact, focusing on nutritious, home-cooked meals has been an instrumental and creative way to reduce stress in my life.
Knowing and having control over what’s in my food, finding recipes that come together quickly with minimal effort, and sharing those meals with my family are better for lowering my stress levels than any yoga video I’ve ever tried to follow along with.
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