Does that surprise you? Did you think I was going to say “eat your vegetables” or “exercise daily” or even “get a good night’s rest”? Although I am a fan of these good health tips, the single most important thing that we are not doing for our health is cooking our own food. I get it. As Trevor Noah would say on The Daily Show, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”, but really it is something we should make time for. I am not going to say you need Top Chef level skills to keep it interesting. Some basic cooking skills that can be acquired through youtube or a google search of “how to make the perfect ‘fill in the blank’” would suffice. We are living in the golden age of free content. The world is or web wide oyster, why not take advantage of that?

I am sure you are thinking again, “ain’t nobody got time for that”, but really, it doesn’t have to take that much time. Just think of it as a rearrangement of your time. Instead of having to ask yourself 3 times a day “what I am going to have at my next meal?” you decide all these things ahead of time. You make a list and batch cook for the whole week, hell you can even do this for the whole month if you have a freezer deep enough. How much easier is it to defrost something that you made awhile back versus having to wait for food each time you want it or having to take extra market trips during the week?

It’s not all about time though, this is really about your health. When you cook you can control what goes into your food. If you are trying to watch your waist line, you can always use less high calorie ingredients. A restaurant doesn’t care about keeping you at a healthy weight. They care about you coming back and an easy way to do that is to hook you on copious amounts of sugar and fat that can be unnecessary to a dish. With a basic understanding of food chemistry, or internet availability, I promise you can make your favorite dishes in healthier, lower calorie versions, saving you not only cash but potential health problems in the future.

I don’t want you to think I hate restaurants though. I love me some date night where I can go to the nearest hot spot and order something I might be too intimidated to cook on my own. I live the San Francisco Bay Area for peet’s sake and I definitely take advantage of that. However, a Tuesday night is not a typical date night for us. A Wednesday lunch doesn’t have to come with a blooming onion. If every day you have your favorite “cheat” food that what makes that day special? Think about this and the next time you see a cooking segment on TV maybe you will pay more attention and your health care budget will thank you.

Stay healthy my friends,