Cooking at Home
Cooking At Home
don't miss out on THE chance to help your family thrive!
Hello, Cooking at Home!
Say Hello to Cooking at home in December!
We’re finishing out the year with one of the most wonderful, beneficial, and impactful things we can do for our family’s health and our own: cooking at home! This simple act is probably the most significant health change you can make in your diet, so this month we hope to motivate you by sharing some of our favorite easy recipes and discussing the impact of home cooking on your kids.
As a society, many of us have normalized eating out once or several times a week. Regularly whipping through a McDonald’s drive-thru is one of the easiest but unhealthiest decisions you can make for your family. A quick meal of organic pasta, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and fresh basil takes about the same time, yet the nutrient comparison is ten-fold. Plus there are no hidden seed oils, artificial ingredients, and sugar.
And it’s cheaper too. When you’re in a pinch, sometimes we have to do what we have to do, but if eating out is a regular habit, we hope to motivate you this month to kick it!
Being a caregiver is busy and can be filled with almost too much to fit in a day, especially if you are a working mama. Time is precious. But so is our health. Let’s rally our community and do this together. Easy yet nutrient-dense dinners, dinner prep, and cooking with our kids are the focus for #HelloCookingAtHome. It gives back not just in the moment but for many years as well. Cooking at home is a gift we can give to ourselves and our kids in quality time, and teaching our kids about the benefits of cooking at home may be something they carry into adulthood.
Join us this month to round out your best and healthiest self. It’s the core of all of the themes we’ve covered this year for #SuperHeroYOU2022!
Why is Eating Out Bad For Our Health?
Life gets busy, and there are restaurants and fast food joints on nearly every other corner waiting for us to pull in, pick up food and drive home to eat it. But even the “fanciest” or “healthiest” ones probably cook their food in inflammatory seed oils and cheaper ingredients.
Restaurants are businesses too. They need to make a profit, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by using cheaper ingredients. Grass-fed butter and extra virgin olive oil are full of nutrients and are considered healthy fats! However, your favorite restaurants are probably not using those quality ingredients.
Restaurants Use the Cheapest Oils Available
Even your fancy Mediterranean restaurant probably isn’t using 100% real extra virgin olive oil. The most commonly used oil in restaurants is canola or blended seed oils because they are cheaper to buy in bulk. You may order a side of roasted veggies and feel like you made a healthy choice, but seed oils are incredibly pro-inflammatory.
In some ways, you can say they negate some of the benefits of veggies. You are likely consuming this highly inflammatory and cheap oil every time you go out to eat. Not to mention, foods at restaurants, particularly fast food items, tend to have a lot more trans fats than meals you may prepare yourself. Trans fats are banned in the US. However, they are a common byproduct of repeatedly using the same cooking oil.
The Quality of Salt Matters
Salt is another ingredient to consider when eating out. We have nothing against salt, but the quality of salt really matters. At home, we can use high-quality mineral salt, but restaurants probably use whatever they can buy at the cheapest cost, usually super refined.
Unnecessary Harmful Ingredients
The bread basket delivered to your table before the meal is likely filled with processed wheat and contains glyphosate residue. Many types of bread are both healthy and delicious, but the one served by restaurants is not that.
Phthalates are another ingredient to monitor. Phthalates are defined as “a class of synthetic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, meaning they can affect hormones in the body.” It is suspected that foods in restaurants are coming in contact with these chemicals via plastic packaging, food handling gloves, food tubing, and other materials that contain phthalates and, therefore, likely contain phthalates themselves. A recent study demonstrated an association between eating out and your mortality. In October, we discussed #HelloToxicFreeHome and the dangers of repeated exposure to Phthalates. Cooking at home is one to reduce your family’s exposure.
Digestive Issues Begin to Develop
Do you ever wonder why you feel gassy after eating out, or your meal doesn’t seem to digest well? Maybe you break out the next day or feel sluggish. The combination of unnecessary ingredients and seed oils is likely causing this. Once you understand the harms of eating out, you realize it is easy to link many symptoms. Eating out for lots of meals is associated with a higher percentage of body fat and heavier weight than American adults who prepare foods at home. And when you put it that way, it doesn’t always seem worth it.
Cooking at Home Has Benefits Beyond Health
One of the best skills we can teach our children is cooking. It will serve them for the rest of their lives. Most popular childhood developmental psychology theories aim to get children involved in daily activities. It builds their confidence, motor skills, helps create healthy habits, and can teach them a brand new vocabulary.
When we cook at home, we are afforded the opportunity to teach daily. Start small; a nice children’s knife set allows your kids to chop veggies with you in the kitchen. It takes patience until they get it right, of course. They will likely make a mess and require help at first, but once they learn, they’ll be able to help you forever! Children can help mix, season, wash produce, measure, sort ingredients, and set the table.
One of the best ways to help make this process more fun for YOU is to take a few minutes to prepare the things you don’t want your kids to do in advance. It makes the entire process a lot more fun and enjoyable. Give your full attention to them. I promise, it’ll be worthwhile.
As you cook with your children, it’s a good idea to tell them what you’re doing out loud each step of the way or have the recipe printed out so they can follow along. This will help their language, listening skills, and ability to follow directions. They’ll learn simple math from adding, subtracting, and measuring. Cutting, breaking eggs, mixing ingredients, and cleaning will improve their fine motor skills. Plus, the whole process will help them focus their attention and get creative as they follow a recipe from start to finish.
The most significant benefit, we think, is that it adds so much confidence! Your children love having responsibilities and completing tasks. When they are done, they will be so proud to serve their food to the family and excited to eat it themselves. And if they make mistakes – that’s okay! That helps build their resilience as you teach them to correct themselves. There are so many lessons in the kitchen. Grandmothers and mothers have used this time to pass down knowledge for generations!
Does Cooking = Family Bonding? You Betcha!
One of my best childhood memories is cooking with my dad. On Friday night, we would make pizza. On Saturdays, we’d bake chocolate chip cookies, and on Sundays, we make pancakes. It was an excellent way to talk, laugh, and spend time together. Our kids will be out of the house before we know it. Don’t miss these opportunities to bond, create memories and spend time with your children.
When we cook, we do fun things like turn on the music and dance around. Other times we have meaningful conversations, and other times we are just silly. That time with our kids means way more to them than they can express. And that time is so limited.
Cooking together is our family’s favorite way to spend quality time together!
Home Cooking Recipes that are Faster and Better Than Takeout
Nutrient-dense meals don’t have to be hard! Some of our favorite meals are the simplest ones. We use quality ingredients that are filled with vibrant vitamins and minerals.
These are a few of our favorite easy to make “recipes,” and we share them with you in hopes that they’ll make it easier for you to start cooking at home more often. These recipes are completely adaptable and pretty hard to mess up. If you’re new to the kitchen, we encourage you to experiment!
Three-Step Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
You’ll need: organic pasta, sea salt, olive oil, & grass-fed meat.
Optional: Mushrooms or other veggies.
- Boil your organic pasta. Once cooked, add olive oil and sea salt.
- Saute your grass-fed meat.
- When your meat is cooked, add some pasta sauce from Thrive Market.
If you have extra time, chop some onions and mushrooms into small pieces and cook first before you cook the meat.
You can optionally include other veggies like onions, peas, carrots, whole tomatoes, or whatever your kids love! If you don’t eat gluten or wheat, use rice or an organic gluten free pasta to eat the meat with tomato sauce and mushrooms
Chicken Thighs and Veggies
You’ll need: pastured (or organic) bone-in chicken thighs, a large cast iron pan, and your favorite seasoning spices. We like rosemary and thyme, but we change it up often.
- Make sure to clean your chicken correctly. Once it’s clean, you can pat it dry and lather up your chicken with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices.
- Heat up some ghee in the pan and place the chicken into the hot cast iron pan.
- Place the chicken skin side down so it sizzles, and cook for 4 minutes until crisp.
- Flip and cook the other side for 4 min.
- Add your favorite veggies to the pan. We use whatever we have in the fridge, but the recipe is tasty with brussel sprouts, carrots, and turnips.
- Transfer to the oven, and cook for another 22-25 min at 400°F.
Chicken thighs are great served with a side of rice or roasted potatoes!
BOG – A Bowl of Goodness
You’ll need: 100% grass-fed ground beef and your favorite veggies.
Saute up onions and garlic first then add spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, or whatever veggies you have in the house. Then add ground beef. Once fully cooked, you can add a jar of spaghetti sauce (just look for one that’s organic and without seed oils).
Eat with rice!
This one is easy, cost-effective, and more delicious than you think.
You’ll need: Pastured (or organic) boneless & skinless chicken thighs, curry powder, other seasonings, garlic, ginger, chicken broth, a pepper.
- Season the organic chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) with salt, pepper, curry powder, and other spices you like.
- Allow the chicken to marinate for two hours so the seasonings can soak in.
- Heat a large pan on the stovetop.
- Add one can of coconut milk and an optional 1 cup of chicken bone broth to the pan, stir well, and cover with a lid.
- Add three garlic pieces cut in half, 5-6 chunks of natural ginger, and a small seeded pepper to the mix. Bring to a boil.
- Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 20-25 min or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Serve with a side of rice.
Bake at Home and Avoid Processed Sugar
Sugar has gotten a bad rap because of its negative health impacts when consumed too frequently, and that is easy to do nowadays because it’s hidden in everything. Here is our approach: we ditch the candy and store bought desserts.
But who doesn’t love baked goods? A good dessert can be a fantastic way for a family to sit together and enjoy something unique.
We bake all the time at our house, but with high quality ingredients like grass-fed butter and organic maple syrup. The kids love it, and I love that our desserts are also filled with quality, nutrient-dense ingredients. For example, chocolate chip cookies made with grass-fed butter, coconut sugar, pastured eggs, natural vanilla, dark chocolate, and spelt flour are delicious AND nutrient-dense.
Baking at home is a great way to teach your children how to have a healthy relationship with sugar. Why? There is nothing artificial in our baked goods! We use a high quality forms of sugar like fruit, maple syrup, and raw honey and we know how much is inside. A little bit of sugar goes a long way, and we can cut sugar in most recipes by half. Kids can naturally reach a satiation level because the nutrients naturally fill them up. It’s better than mindlessly eating store-bought candy that has zero nutrient density.
Find Your Rhythm and Start Slow
Every family is different, and it may take some time to figure out how to make cooking at home work for you. For some, it’s about budgeting time and resources; others may require easy step-by-step recipes to sharpen their cooking skills.
What’s important is that you start somewhere! Cook dinner tonight. Little by little, you’ll start cooking more often and use better ingredients as you go. Keep checking back here as we publish new blogs with recipes and health tips frequently!