By Julia Luna

We’ve all been there: after a crazy day at work, putting out fires left and right, the LAST thing you want to do is to even think about cooking. The idea of pulling out the cutting board and a pan (and possibly putting out a literal fire) is just too much to bear. All of that coupled with the fact that many young adults don’t exactly consider themselves savvy chefs, cooking after work can seem downright intimidating. But how many of us wish we could be Ina Garten? I mean, she makes it look so easy! And since she says #StoreBoughtIsFine — here are five reasons why you should go full-blown Barefoot Contessa on a Tuesday.

It’s (Potentially) Healthier

Let’s be real, the age of Uber Eats makes it reaaalll easy to order food from your favorite Thai restaurant or from that amazing old-fashioned burger joint a few blocks from your apartment (guilty as charged). And while it’s definitely necessary to treat yo self Tom and Donna style, cooking at home for yourself can help you stay on track with your personal health goals, whatever they may be. Cooking for yourself also puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to what’s in your food (i.e. no hidden salt, sugar, and preservatives).

It’s Budget-Friendly

If after a long day at work your first thought is to order something or buy something “ready-made” — resist the urge! Your wallet will thank you later. Tip: research some of your favorite takeout meals and see what it would take to create it at home — chances are that you’ll be able to make it for a fraction of the cost!

It’s Therapeutic

One of the things I enjoy most about cooking for myself after work is how relaxing and centering it can be. Going through the rhythms of chopping, sauteing, and mixing help to wash away the stresses of the workday. Feel like cooking is stressful no matter what? Try this simple recipe on for size: Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta.

It’s Fun

Don’t get it twisted, going out for happy hour with the girls overrules most other weeknight plans — but why go out when you can host your besties at your place? Artisanal cheeses? Rosé? Fancy crackers? Maybe a lil prosciutto?! What’s not to love about that? BONUS: de-stressing with girlfriends over some vino is always a good time, am I right??

Plus, if you are someone who loves to play host to your friends, this is a great chance to try out some new recipes instead of winging it on the night of a big dinner party.

It’s a Creative Outlet

Let’s face it: even if we love our jobs, some days we leave feeling so drained. Concocting a culinary creation (yay for alliteration!) during your precious downtime can help get those creative juices flowing! Especially if you’re like me and your fridge is sometimes filled with the most random ingredients. Giving yourself creative license to have fun and make mistakes can lead to some seriously tasty eats!

Now I hope you feel empowered to get in the kitchen and make some magic!

Sign up to receive daily news, inspiration, and advice on how to master work and life from Ladders.

Originally published at