17 July 2020

9 Good Reasons to Eat at Home

Eating out of course out at the moment is not easy with most places either closed or only offering a take-away service at best. Lots of people may not feel safe eating away from home at all currently but after lockdown is lifted and things go back to so called normal, I thought I would give you some great reasons to cook at home.

Since becoming vegan we eat at home a good 90-95% of the time. Now I like to go out for a meal as much as the next person, but I also love to cook at home, and here is why:

I like to know exactly what I am eating:

When you cook at home, you control the ingredients. It is fresh, good quality foods that you know will taste amazing. I have lost count of the number of limp spinach and salad meals I have had whilst eating out. I really only like to eat good fresh vegetables and foods that give me the maximum nutrition. I refuse to pay for food, especially when it is not cheap, when its substandard. It’s a slight side effect of being Vegan I am afraid – we are used to buying good quality ingredients! The other thing you avoid when eating at home is preservatives, excess salt, oils and fats. I am never quite sure what I am eating when out, and what has been used in the meal. Sadly, this can also be the case with meat being put into a dish in error too. I have had that happen a few times and I just felt sick for days. The only way to 100% avoid that, is to eat at a vegan restaurant when dining out. Of course, depending on where you live and available shops and restaurants, that is not always possible. I do hope in the future we will see many more cafes and restaurants with purely healthy vegan food appearing, but for now it is a case of driving to somewhere (maybe quite a way) to experience this. So, with all that in mind cooking at home is a good plan when you can.

Green pan paella
Mashed potato

My mashed potatoes with lemon, and my Paella. Great dishes to make at home.

Allergies and Intolerances:

Allergies I know for some people are a nightmare when eating out. We are very lucky in our family and do not have any serious allergies such as nuts, but I have many friends who have. I cannot imagine how hard this is when eating out. If you have allergies or you are intolerant to some foods, eating at home is also far safer. Sadly, not all restaurants get it right all the time, so cooking at home where you know what goes in your dishes can be far less stressful. Finding good vegan restaurants where you live may also be difficult. We love Wagamama, and sometimes eat in Zizzi or in Vegan only restaurants in Brighton. We are only about 45mins from Brighton which is kind of the Vegan capital at the moment!

It's quite a bit cheaper:

As much as it is nice to go out, unless we are very lucky to get a babysitter, taking all 6 of us out is an expensive trip. We had 6 ”bacon” plant cheeseburgers and chips in Brighton the other day from Honest Burgers at £18 each. In itself that does not sound too bad, but for six of us that was £108. Now they were good burgers and the staff were lovely, but blimey! And we had to eat them in the car because of Covid of course, there is not any indoor seating. Eating in restaurants is always going to be more expensive, but if you are watching the pennies, eating in, is an easy saving.

IT IS PROVEN TO MAKE YOU HEALTHIER:

Lots of studies show that by eating at home we become healthier because we are so much more aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Swapping out fats for oils, or no salt dishes all help towards keeping us healthy and fitter. This reduces our chances of things such as diabetes and heart disease.

I can have what I want, when I want it:

I am not one for sticking to so called lunch foods at lunch, and I quite like to have scrambled tofu for dinner some nights. Porridge for lunch I often have if I’m lacking a bit in energy and need sustaining for the rest of the day. Be free to eat what you want and when actually makes us happier too. When you are eating out quite often the menu changes and you cannot have breakfast at teatime or a lunch choice in the evening. Feed your soul, listen to your body and giving it what it needs at that time is a choice we can have when cooking at home.

IT IS A CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING SPECTACULAR:

We often wing food. Making things from what we have in the fridge and pantry is a great chance to experiment. Some of my favourite recipes have been formed this way. Just get a load of fresh colourful things out of the fridge and make something amazing!

Scrambled Tofoo
Cream cheese

My scrambled tofoo and cream cheese – recipes can be found in my courses and ebook on my website.

Vegan ebook

Check out my e-book

Becoming Vegan

My ebook is full of my creations and at £8 it is easy to follow recipes with photos and instructions on your phone or tablet. Full of ideas - It also gives advice on what to stock in your pantry and the foods I buy with recommendations for you to try. Buy now and have instant access.

Purchase here

Family dining

BRINGS YOUR FAMILY CLOSER, AND TOGETHER:

I love our family chats over the breakfast bar. The boys often come and sit and watch me cook. My eldest son is the most amazing cook, he is 15. He really gets food. He, like me, enjoys chucking things in a Pan and seeing what we get. I am passing on a skill I know will help them all in later life. Plus, if they are brought up eating and seeing healthy whole foods being prepared, this will naturally be the way they go. By cooking together or letting them see you cook often they will be inspired, trust me. Plus the fact, I love our meals round the table. Even if it is around the coffee table as we watch a film, we are all together. We eat outside as much as we can too – love our garden dining area.

My boys dining in the garden, Sol my youngest with Asparagus fangs – as you do!

GIVES ME A CHANCE TO SLOW DOWN AND DO WHAT I LOVE:

Every day of my life is full with meetings, buying stock for our other business, checking in guests to our holiday accommodation and running the boys about. Cooking really gives me joy, and a chance to get my head back together when I cook. Much in the same way as ironing is therapeutic for some people (not me I have to say) cooking, does that for me. It is just the washing up I do not like – but that is what sons are for. ;)

LESS FOOD WASTE:

If there is one thing I cannot bear it is throwing away food. Any leftovers and food we cannot eat for any reason, Harley our pig very much enjoys, so nothing is completely wasted. But, by constantly being in the fridge and pantry I am using food before it has the chance to go off. When you eat out all the time you often waste food by not using it in time. I am always cleaning the fridge when I take things in and out too, and it keeps it fresh in your mind what you do have and do not have in stock. This way when you go shopping you know what you need to buy mainly without having to first make a list.

Spaghetti

My avocado cashew sauce spaghetti & garlic and coriander bread

Keeping to buying for just a few days is also key. I know it is tempting to just buy a whole week’s worth in one go but it often results in wasted food, or having to use wrinkly peppers – which by the way are not good for you! If you have not tried one – order one of our swag bags – for vegetables, mine last days longer in this. You just dampen it, add your veg and put it in your fridge. Makes sense really veg need water to grow, this keeps them fresh. It is great for fruit too and herbs. There are big ones and small ones, and even ones for sandwiches.

Buy a swag bag
Swag bag
Swag bag

The thing about cooking at home is, it should not be a stressful thing. It should be a joy. And with the proper planning and shopping choices, a well laid out kitchen and glorious colourful food, it should be easy.

Do remember to upload in the comments and your home-made dishes for everyone to see, and be inspired by. I cannot wait to see them.

Stay safe, eat well, be healthy.

SJ x