A silver lining in the COVID-19 crisis is a return to home cooking. When life as we knew it came to a standstill, our everyday routines like sending kids to school, dining out, socializing with friends and family, and picking up take-out on a busy night were all disrupted. Suddenly we were homeschooling, playing old board games, baking bread, planting gardens, and rediscovering that magical sensation of simple pastimes like preparing ingredients and cooking meals with our families.
More Than Just a Meal
We’ve known for a long time that home-cooked meals are associated with greater fruit and vegetable intakes, as well as greater adherence to diets like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) guidelines and Mediterranean-style diets, which are naturally lower in sodium, fat, and added sugar.* Simply preparing and cooking a meal at home might not appear to provide added benefit or value outside of the intended purpose of eating a healthier meal. However, a deeper observation reveals that cooking at home provides intangible comfort and connection that cannot be replicated by modern conveniences like take-out, delivery, microwaving, or “just adding water”.
A quick look in your pantry or on the shelves of the local grocery store reveals the variety of convenience foods that are available today…
- Mashed potatoes in a box: “Just add water”
- Frozen pizza: “Just slide in the oven for 30 minutes”
- Stir-fry kits: “No chopping required”
- Even in the produce section, pineapple, watermelon, and oranges can be purchased pre-peeled, pre-chopped, and ready-to-eat
My intention is not to dismiss the utility of these “home-cooked” convenience foods as they do provide nutrients. However, traditional home cooking, which includes all the chopping, peeling, zesting, measuring, and waiting, provides something more. Intangible value can be found in slowing down to appreciate simple actions like peeling the perfect orange, waiting for your scratch-made pizza dough to rise, or showing your grandkids how easily they can turn ripening bananas into a delicious homemade banana bread. This value cannot be packaged and purchased without losing the magical warmth and subtle therapeutic fulfilment imbedded in the cooking process. The simple process of cooking can nourish not only our bodies, but also our minds, our self-worth, and even our relationships.
Our busy lives may ebb and flow. Even though there is no replacement for the connections, bonding, and learning that happens while cooking a homemade meal, the simple, whole food ingredients and accompanying nutritional value can be preserved. Pritikin Foods provides the next best alternative to cooking your own home-cooked, heart-healthy meal. The chef-inspired meals Pritikin Foods provides are thoughtfully prepared with lower sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol than leading brand frozen foods. Stocking your freezer with heart healthy Pritikin meals for evenings when your family activities don’t involve cooking together can be the missing link to keeping your nutrition goals a priority.