You have no idea how beneficial it is for your health when you’re cooking light Mediterranean diet. When you cook your favorite Mediterranean meals at home you’re actually having fun and that’s a plus for your mental health. If friends or family are around, you also share the cooking experience with them and you get the added benefit of bonding at a personal level which is also good for you. Cooking light meals at home also ensures that you double down on reducing carb intake and consume the daily recommended allowance of nutrients every time you prepare the right servings or portions of your food.
When you cook light homemade meals, you get the option to buy fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market. Fresh ingredients have a higher content of the necessary nutrients to fuel your Mediterranean diet and give you the right amount of energy to stay active all day and maintain a healthy lifestyle. All the ingredients combined to create the great tasting dishes that are also filled with life-giving nutrients readily available.
Why it’s Important Cooking Light Mediterranean Diet?
In the United States it’s becoming alarming how Americans reject home-cooked meals more and more each day, but once upon a time this wasn’t the case. In the 1900s, it was estimated that only about 2% of the meals consumed were eaten outside the home. Fast forward to 2010 and 110 years later that figure has dramatically increased to 50%! Couple that with another saddening statistics that says less than 33% of American families prefer to have a meal together at their homes about more than 2 times each week. Cooking light Mediterranean diet could change all this.
In contrast, about 46% of Americans eat their meals alone. I can only imagine the staggering mental health issues that the people belonging to this 46% are going through right now. It’s no wonder the USA has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Connecting at a personal level is no longer the aspiration of most people, as they prefer to sit in front of the tv when they get the chance to eat at home, or worse, is that we prefer to do the next itinerary on the calendar instead of sincere conversation in the living room or the porch. The disadvantage of this kind of lifestyle is that we miss out on what could have made make everyone healthier, happier, and more connected.
Why Home Cooking?
There are a ton of great reasons why you should be cooking light Mediterranean diet at home. It baffles me sometimes that we aren’t making enough time to actually do it since we have spare time in our daily activities – heck, even just once a week would mean something. It is now a known fact that a family who enjoys eating home-cooked meals regularly produces happier and healthier children. Research also shows that when these children reaches adolescent stage, they have a lower chance of using alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, or be delinquent in school or society in general because they have a good upbringing and respect other people.
But these benefits are not exclusive to children only, because research finds that adults also benefit from eating home-cooked meals as a family. In fact, a similar effect can be found in the behavior of adults in the family and they tend to be happier and healthier. They also prefer farm-fresh foods over processed foods and consume less sugar, which essentially increase their energy levels and they exhibit optimal mental health. There are plenty of scientific studies that prove eating home-cooked meals at least 5 days a week (especially if it’s the Mediterranean diet) enhances longevity.
The mental health benefits that were mentioned above are further increased when you sit down and eat home-cooked meals with family and friends. In fact, communal meals can make us feel happier even long after our meal times. This due to the fact that humans are social creatures and we socialize the most when we’re having meals at the table with other people. Each time we sit and dine with the people we relate to social connections is reinforced and it can help cultivate a sense of belongingness. It can even reduce the risk of developing depression and it preserves culture, tradition and history orally.
Cooking light Mediterranean diet has one more trick up its sleeves and if you think the above mentioned is already too much, you’ll love to hear about this one more benefit. It helps us save money and even reduce our carbon footprint. When you cook your meals at home, you get to choose what kind of ingredients to put in your food which is usually farm-fresh. This automatically makes you reject processed foods which also disregard packaging (packaging uses energy which produces CO2 that pollutes the environment. Buying food from local farmers also reduces the transportation needed to bring the food to your table – again reducing the amount of fuel burned and chokes our atmosphere with more carbon dioxide.
Benefits of Homemade Meals
Surprisingly there are more benefits about cooking light Mediterranean diet than what has been previously discussed. In fact, the benefits of home-cooked meals are so advantageous you will never want to eat processed foods ever again! Find out why.
Farm-fresh produce is a lot cheaper than eating out at a restaurant or processed foods that you purchase from the grocery. The problem with buying processed foods and dining at a local restaurant is that you’re not only paying for the food but you’re also paying for the costs required to keep that business running (e.g. lights, water, staff, building facilities, etc.), or in the case of processed foods – the total cost of creating each packed food product in the factory.
It may seem that grabbing something to eat on the drive thru of a fast food saves you time and effort, but it just seems that way. Even buying ready-to-eat processed foods from your local supermarket is more time-consuming than cooking light Mediterranean diet at home. In fact, you can do an experiment and use a timer to track the time for when you’ll cook meals at home vs. buying food from a restaurant or supermarket. I will show you later on that there are plenty of Mediterranean recipes that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less.
You Eat Fewer Calories without even Realizing It
Chefs usually cook food in the restaurant with a lot of butter and salt, while processed food also contains a substantial amount of sodium and other preservatives, which can be bad for your health. On the other hand, home-cooked meals are more nutritious and have lesser calories because you control what goes into your food and, especially the quantity of them that ought to be added to the dishes.
You also get to control the portion size and avoid being overfed with restaurant-sized portions (which are enough for 2 – 3 people to consume), or get a dessert or cocktail which adds more calories than what you need. We instinctively have a different mindset when cooking meals at home vs. when we order it at a restaurant or a fast food store. Because we know what we put in our food we tend to avoid adding unnecessary items that should be consumed in moderation.
Cooking light Mediterranean diet reduces the chances of us polluting our food with high amounts of fat, salt, and sugar, which is present in commercially prepared foods. We tend to cook healthier foods at home than dine at a restaurant, because we adhere to strict dietary regulations and prepare our food in a more delicious, nutritious and fun way.
It is a Good Stress Reliever
Your 9-5 job will almost always put you in some kind of mental stress and it can feel draining where you’ll often be in a bad mood. At times it can also put a strain in your relationship with your family making you say or do things that you didn’t mean to. What you need is something to clear your head and de-stress yourself from all the pressure at work. Normally you’d go hang out with friends, or do some fun activities to mitigate this problem, but did you know that cooking is a fun activity that boosts your mental health too?
When you get your hands dirty preparing the ingredients, when you do physical activity and keeping your mind preoccupied with all the cooking rituals, it actually helps you to break up your daily routine and make you forget all the things that had upset you at work. Your focus will now be on making sure that you’ll cook the dishes right – and that can be so much fun.
It Brings your Family Together
Families come together doing something they love that is the determining factor of their closeness (i.e. family reunions, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, someone’s graduation and often times cooking). Isn’t it funny that all the things I’ve mentioned above involves cooking and eating. Typically the scene of a family gathering looks like this: some are watching their favorite tv shows or movies, the kids are playing in the backyard, while the women (mostly) are enjoying their time at the kitchen preparing meals while also gossiping some hot and intriguing topics.
5 Mediterranean Recipes that Take 20 Minutes or Less to Prepare
The amazing health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are world renown, but did you know that there are Mediterranean recipes that are not very complicated to prepare? Find the best recipes that you can cook in 20 minutes or less and enjoy preparing your food fast, while you eat slow.
Lemony Greek Chicken Soup
Cooking light Mediterranean diet gives you this delicious traditional Greek recipe. It takes approximately 20 minutes to prepare this dish and it will give you 32 grams of protein and a meager 261 calories per serving, which should give you enough energy to survive the day but won’t make you fat.
Kale and Chickpea Grain Bowl with Avocado Dressing
Have you ever eaten Koko Crunch? Well this dish is similar to that, crunchy and tasty, except that the Kale and Chickpea Grain Bowl with Avocado Dressing is a lot more nutritious and delicious that that famous kiddie breakfast meal. Thanks to crispy carrots and chickpeas, fresh kale, and a vibrant avocado dressing, you’ll get more than half of the recommended daily allowance of fiber which is good for losing weight, enough vitamin B complex to supplant the energy that your body needs, and healthy digestion.
Quick Chicken Marsala
A variation of traditional Italian scaloppina dishes, this 19th century dish actually originated from English families living in western Sicily, where Marsala wine is produced. The chicken is cooked with the Marsala wine, butter, whipped cream, chicken broth, olive oil, flour, black pepper, mushrooms, thyme and a few other ingredients. It has a dry and sweet taste without being overpowering, and can cut through the richness of cream or chicken stock. It’s the perfect meal for lunch and supper.
Lamb and Beet Meatballs
The perks of cooking light Mediterranean diet at home is that you get to cook a great dish like this one, where the meat is used as a secondary food item with preference to more veggies and whole grains into your diet. Ground lamb meat with beet and bulgur makes for an excellent tasty treat!
Shrimp and Leek Spaghetti
Shrimp and leek pasta is easy and elegant and can be served in under 20 minutes. Boil the shrimp and peel it, then prepare the ribbons such as tagliatelle or fettuccine, and Pecorino Romano cheese with the leek and peas drizzle it over with lemon slices and it will make your day. Pair it with white wine to balance the edge of the tangy taste of lemon.
Consult your Nutrition and Dietitian about Cooking Light Mediterranean Diet at Home
The Mediterranean diet is very popular across the world and is highly regarded and recommended by chefs, food experts, medical professionals and scientists. But in case you’re having doubts, you can visit your local nutrition and dietitian to understand how your body can benefit from the highly nutritious food selection that the Mediterranean diet has. You will feel a lot better the moment you leave the nutrition and dietitian’s office and be on your way to cooking light Mediterranean diet.