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The Value of Cooking Real Food (Recipe Included)

Crockpot Chili

Nutrition CPR’s friend and colleague,  Meredith Hill, RD,  is guest posting today and shares with us her thoughts on the value of cooking real food and a recipe for Crockpot Paleo Chili!

Here are three valuable reasons to cooking real food at home:

1. It saves you money. We all probably know that eating out isn’t cheap. The money you spent on that one meal for your family likely could’ve gone towards buying groceries for the week!  It always amazes me that some people think spending $5 on a dozen pastured eggs is outrageous but don’t think twice about spending that amount on one cup of coffee.  Time spent meal planning, shopping and prepping food at home really stretches your dollar in the long run.

2. It teaches family values and traditions. Recipes and traditional foods have been passed down from generation to generation.  Cooking can be a fun family activity! My young boys love to help out in the kitchen by stirring, setting the timer, and even menu planning. Of course I could get the job done quicker if I just did it myself, but in the process they’re learning and we’re spending valuable time together. Have fun with it and know that the time spent home cooking is a wise investment in your family.

3.  The most important reason is that it is healthier!  Control your food, control your health.  Start by purchasing quality food. For example, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, pastured eggs, organic produce and healthy  fats.   No MSG, no sneaky sugars, no preservatives or additives.  You control the portion sizes and you control the ingredients.

Don’t let the thought of cooking at home overwhelm you. One of my favorite sayings is “It’s only effort until it’s routine.” Like Michael Pollan said himself in his latest book, Cooked, “Cooking [from scratch] is the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health.”

Life is busy and there are  days that you simply don’t have the time to make a meal at home…or so you think. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you get familiar with using a crockpot. Ingredients can be added to the shell of it and placed in the fridge the night before so that just before rushing out the door the morning of, all you have to do is take it out of the fridge, place in the warming part, turn it on and hours later when you get home, viola…your healthy, home cooked meal is waiting for you. Here is a recipe to get you started!

Crockpot Paleo Chili

8 slices of organic, uncured bacon
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1  red, yellow, and green bell pepper EACH
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce organic
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, organic
2 T. Herbamare
1 T. chili powder
1 T. paprika
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1″ cubes

In a pan, cook bacon until crispy. Crumble and add to crockpot. In the same pan, cook ground beef and onion until browned and transfer to crockpot. Add all remaining ingredients to crockpot and stir, cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Garnish with  avocado, diced red onion, sliced green onions, and/or your favorite chili toppings.  If you are not following a paleo plan, you can also top  with plain full fat organic yogurt (instead of sour cream) and shredded cheddar cheese. As expected, this chii is even tastier served the next day, giving the flavors more time to develop.


Meredith is a Registered Dietitian, military wife and mother of two who believes in using real food to live life to it’s fullest. With real life experiences, she finds great joy in leading others towards optimal health and happiness.


The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.