If you follow me on social media, you know how much I love to cook.
Not only is it fun—the anticipation of cooking a special dinner makes me giddy just thinking about it!—but when you cook your own meals, you have complete control over the ingredients.
And when you plan your meals ahead of time, it’s a bulletproof strategy for following a healthy, balanced diet.
Now, according to new research, you can add yet another amazing health benefit of cooking. (This one might surprise you!)
Let me explain…
Improve your mental health
According to a recent study, cooking is good for your mental health.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University utilized a mobile food kitchen that provided community cooking lessons to the university’s campuses between 2016 and 2018.
Nearly 700 people took part in a seven-week series.
During the classes, researchers measured the program’s effect on participants’ confidence in the kitchen and self-perceived mental health. They also surveyed participants on their overall satisfaction with cooking and their general eating habits.
Researchers found those who took the cooking classes displayed significant improvements in their mental health, overall health, and perceived health.
Notably, participants reported these feelings immediately after they finished the cooking classes—and for up to six months afterward.
But that’s not all. Participants also reported feeling more confident about their cooking abilities. And, in my view, that’s a key motivator to starting a healthy, balanced diet.
Reap the benefits of home-cooked meals
Of course, you don’t have to be a superstar chef to reap the benefits of cooking your own meals. You can make delicious, nutritious meals using simple, fresh ingredients—and often in just one pot!
The first step is carefully selecting each ingredient that goes into your meal.
(This is easier to do when you plan ahead. So, every weekend, try doing what I do: set aside some time to think about the week ahead, and what will pair well with the food you already have or want to have.)
If you’re in the mood for something new, browse through online recipes or download a free cooking app. You can also buy a copy of my A-List Diet book, which includes hundreds of healthy recipes you can try at home.
Just remember to keep things simple… especially if you’re just starting out in the kitchen. There’s no need to plan a four-course meal every night. Rotating key ingredients like lean protein and fresh produce vegetables is a great way to start.
For added inspiration, check out my very own cooking demos on Instagram and YouTube. Because while I’m definitely not a chef, I find joy in turning fresh ingredients into something delicious in a way that most everyone can follow.
“Culinary therapy: Feeling confident about your cooking actually boosts mental health.” Study Finds, 03/22/2022. (studyfinds.org/kitchen-confidence-mental-health/)