Millennials get a bad rap. Older generations have accused them of everything from reducing the country’s demand for napkins to closing chain restaurants to cutting the number of potential employees for the oil industry because of its bad image. People have even told them to stop eating avocado toast so they can save up to buy a home instead — seriously.
So, with all this negative press, it might come as a shock that millennials are revolutionizing one area in a real and positive way: cooking at home. Yes, more and more millennials are turning to their kitchens for sustenance instead of heading out to restaurants. And there are plenty of good reasons for that choice.
They Like to Eat Healthily
When going out to eat at a restaurant, gluttony is almost a given. You might start your meal with a cheese-laden appetizer, or wait until the super-sized main course arrives. After that, you could finish off the evening with a sugary dessert or grab another high-calorie alcoholic beverage to finish off the night. No matter how your night goes, one thing is for sure: It’s going to be indulgent.
And that’s precisely why millennials have made a point to eat at home. For starters, they don’t want all the calories and fat content that hide in restaurant meals. Millennials also strive to stay away from artificial ingredients and food additives. Instead, they tend to favor whole, natural foods like fresh produce, full-fat dairy and responsibly sourced meats.
They Like to Save Time
It might seem counterintuitive: Dining out saves time, right? But millennials have found ways to streamline their cooking process, so they can eat whole foods at home without slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end.
Their trick? Meal-prepping. This process requires a few steps, but the payoff is convenient, hearty meals all week long. After figuring out a week’s menu, you’ll break down the exact ingredients you need to make your foodie dreams a reality. Then, you’ll spend Sunday afternoon prepping your meals for the week ahead. You can also plan to pick up semi-homemade elements, such as a rotisserie chicken you can serve with home-cooked veggies. It’s still healthy, filling and quick, without coming from a fast-food chain or restaurant kitchen.
They Like to Cut Costs
For all the aforementioned flack millennials receive about their spending habits, the truth is, they are pretty cost-conscious. They have student loans to worry about, plus, many are saving up to buy a place or renovate a property into their dream home. Their tactics are working, too, as recent reports show millennials are saving twice as much as the baby boom generation.
Dining at home fits well into that cost-cutting narrative. Take, for example, a millennial who lives solo and cooks for one. Dinner and a drink at a restaurant can easily cost upwards of $20 — which could be enough for a week’s worth of groceries and meal-prep materials. Rather than spending their disposable income on meals out, then, millennials are trading dinner dates for home cooking to put their money to what they see as better use.
They Like to Try New Things
Finally, millennials are super-adventurous. Of course, this seems to fit more with a generation that loves to go out and try new restaurants. This is the case for some. But, for others, adventurousness takes root differently: Instead, they prefer to experiment with new food preparation methods and new cuisines at home.
On top of that, millennials love watching celebrity chefs, and they tend to follow food bloggers online and on apps like Instagram. All this inspiration entices them to whip up a new recipe for themselves or to impress friends and family. They may even share their creations on social media.
They can certainly do this while visiting a restaurant, and many a millennial’s online presence includes pictures of food or artsy cups of coffee. But because this generation wants to prove they’re trying new things, it makes the adventure all the more authentic if they put together different dinners with their own two hands.
They Like to Eat Well
Whether they’re smartly meal-prepping, choosing body-bettering recipes, saving costs by cooking in bulk or trying a new cuisine at home, one thing is for sure: Millennials like to eat well. And, in their 20-something years of life, they’ve already the mastered the art of doing so.
Despite the negative press coverage of this generation, everyone could learn a thing or two from millennials’ love of life. They enjoy every moment to the fullest, but in the smartest way possible. And it appears all that joy stems from the kitchen — which means it’s easy for everyone to replicate.