ONCE YOU MASTER A FEW BASIC COOKING SKILLS (OR MAYBE 81 OF THEM), the next step is picking up a some of the classic cookbooks—try How to Cook Everything, for starters—and browsing the web for recipes from excellent cooking sites like Serious Eats, Epicurious, and (shameless plug) the Men’s Fitness recipes section. With those prodigious resources and a little practice, you can become an impressive chef (even if only to your frat bro friends). And here’s our bet: As you progress, you’ll notice that cooking at home is more enjoyable and healthier than going out all the time.
New research backs that up, too.
The more you prepare food at home, the healthier—and cheaper—you’ll eat, according to research from the University of Washington School of Public Health. The study featured a supervised questionnaire with detailed queries on what and where 437 adults in Seattle ate over the course of a week.
The results: People who ate a majority of home-cooked meals more closely adhered to the federal nutrition guidelines, and people who enjoyed meals at home three times a week got a 67 on the Healthy Eating Index scale, while those who cooked in their house six times a week hit 74 on the scale.
And though the healthier home chefs hit better markers for lower-calorie diets with less sugar and fat, they didn’t show any increase in cost.
“By cooking more often at home, you have a better diet at no significant cost increase, while if you go out more, you have a less healthy diet at a higher cost,” said Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., lead author and professor of epidemiology. “The differences were significant, even with a relatively small study sample.”
If you’d like to try out more home cooking, check out these easy-to-master recipes from the Men’s Fitness 21-Day Shred Cookbook.