Friday, May 20, 2011

Why I'll always make time to cook

Business school is supposed to be pretty busy with classes, speakers, clubs, networking, researching companies, socializing etc.  We also don't exactly lead stress-free lives now.  But regardless of how full my calendar gets, how many things I need to get done, or the social outings scheduled for the night I will make time to cook. These days nearly every meal I eat is prepared by me or my SO at home.  We eat out for about one meal a week and might attend a potluck for another. I expect this consistency to waver a bit while I'm in school, but to still mostly maintain home cooked meals as my primary food source.  Here's some reasons why:
  1. It saves money.  Shocker here, right?  Generally speaking, meals are $1 or less when we tupperware it or prepare it at home. It's hard to beat that.
  2.  It keeps me at a healthy weight.  I gained the freshman five, sophomore seven, junior five, and senior eight while in college.  That's 25lbs.  Once I graduated and starting cooking for myself instead of eating in a cafeteria all the weight just sort of disappeared naturally and I felt way better than before. I refuse to repeat this experience with business school.  Plus, on my last visit to campus I got the definite sense that students are a little bit porkier than prospective students.  Not surprising, but I don't want that to be to me.
  3. I eat healthier when I cook.  My home cooked meals have fewer calories than take out or cafeteria fare which keeps my weight under control, but when I cook I also incorporate healthier ingredients.  Our meals have more vegetables and whole grains and less cheese, meat, or partially hydrogenated oils than nearly anything you can buy for a reasonable price. 
  4. It gives me important time to connect with my SO.  Unfortunately business school is likely going to mean less time spent with my significant other.  What little time we will have we will have to make the most of.  Cooking accomplishes all of these other goals, we get fed, and it's something we really enjoy doing together.
  5. Cooking is excellent decompression time.  I'm thinking that it's precisely because my schedule will be so full during business school that I should take extra effort to make time for cooking.  Cooking relaxes me and allows me to transition from work to home.
  6. My salary coming out of business school may be higher.  People at a healthy weight make more money and I fully expect this to hold true graduating from business school.  One would also expect confident, healthy people to perform better in interviews.  There have been several studies linking weight gain to lower incomes, job prestige and accumulation of wealth.  For example, one found a 1% increase in BMI corresponded with a 0.6% reduction in income and a 0.4% reduction in job prestige.  I don't like those trends.  That's about $700 per year lost on a newly minted MBA's salary for only a pound of gained weight.  If I repeated my undergrad weight gain I'd be losing out on over $10,000 in salary and face an appreciable drop in job prestige.  No thank you.
Making time to cook is an investment in my long term health and well being.  It also helps my stress levels, self confidence and relationship with my significant other. Finally, there are major financial savings from my cooking habit.  In this light, the question almost becomes why wouldn't I cook.

Do you cook at home?

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  1. I would have to agree that cooking is the way to go. It not only saves money, but it allows you to control portions better than at a restaurant. I once bought a single order of nachos that was at least 4 servings and the restaurant didn't have a lunch portion! I spent 12 dollars and couldn't even eat 1/3 of the plate. Needless to say, I won't be going back. --LaTisha

  2. We also spend the time to cook after work; it's a good way to wind down though it does take some time. Still I much prefer home-cooked food anytime.

  3. Sometimes I'm so exhausted from work that I feel too tired to cook. I find that if I have a meal plan for the week, its much easier because I won't be so aimless.

  4. Good to eat at home. You know what you're ingesting, while you often don't when dining out. Over the long run, the habit of eating at home with fresh, nutritious foods can make a big difference in health over the long run.

    Plus, if you're not healthy, you can't make money! Or, at least your ability to do so might be impaired.

  5. LaTisha - I don't mind when they give me way too much food, I just bag it to go. It still doesn't compensate for the extra cost though.

    Invest it Wisely - I'm finding that I prefer my own cooking or my SO's more and more. I guess we're getting better! It's a nice feeling.

    Young and Thrifty - When we're going into a busy week I make ahead a large batch of brown rice or even whole meals to make things faster and easier. It helps that my SO cooks just as much as I do so we take turns or pitch in if the other is particularly tired or stressed. I've also found that going out to eat takes us more time than cooking and we have just as much trouble deciding what to eat!

    Squirrelers - I definitely feel less healthy when I eat out frequently.

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