Eating home prepared food means that each meal is slightly different and allows you to create variety in otherwise mechanically created repeat meals. Variety in your food triggers different positive responses in your body and your brain.
Seth Roberts, in his Shangri-La diet, talks about eating new flavours and cooking more to combat the creation of strong taste to calorie associations. Avoiding ‘ditto’ foods, the packages or processed foods which appear and taste exactly the same on your plate time after time, helps break thes calorie associations, which help lower your body’s set point and lead to less hunger and weigth loss. For more details on the science and diet, see http://www.sethroberts.net/
The simple differences in food texture, smell, taste and appearance can stimulate your brain’s activity and forge new connections & links in your neural pathways (which is good…). Combine this with eating food out of a normal order, in a different environment or with different people and you can give your brain a good work out while eating dinner. Read ‘Keeping Your Brain Alive’ by Lawrence C. Katz and Manning Rubin for more information, see http://www.keepyourbrainalive.com/
A farm box of seasonal fruit and veg is a great way to encourage you to experiment with produce you might not ordinarily buy. A bread machine changes your daily bread from a ditto food to something unique, try adding spices or dried fruit to your breads. Look to world foods for inspiration.