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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Cooking from scratch: Improve nutrition and elevate flavor

Hand with oven mitt pulling food in pan out of oven

Most of us have a love for great tasting food. We can get tasty foods through a variety of ways: fast food and restaurant fare, convenience foods at the grocery store, or made-from-scratch meals at home.  Generally, the made-from-scratch foods have the greatest potential of offering the nutrients our body needs. 

What does it mean to cook from scratch? There is no standard definition, but “from scratch” generally means “from the very beginning.” So, starting with the basic ingredients (the kitchen staples like flour and sugar) to produce a dish can be considered “cooking from scratch.” To some people this may mean baking their own breads, creating their own chicken stock, and making their own jams. However, to others it’s more about not using commercial mixes or a prepared pie crust, for example. Whatever your definition is, cooking from scratch gives you more control of the nutritional value of the foods you prepare. 

Aside from better nutrition, scratch-cooked foods may have a better taste. While the convenience of placing a complete frozen meal in the microwave is nice, it doesn’t hold up to the delicious taste of a home cooked meal. Food costs are currently high, but even though it may seem more expensive when having to purchase many ingredients to make food from scratch, the price per serving is often cheaper than eating out or buying convenience food. Plus, the ingredients you buy may be used for other dishes later. Scratch-cooking doesn’t have to be a thing in the past; get back in the kitchen and make it a daily ritual!

About the Author


Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.