If you're working on a new year, new you plan, and looking to pack more nutrition into every calorie and every dollar of your food budget consider the many benefits of fresh baked goodness.

I love baking and making things from scratch. To me it's so satisfying to put ingredients together and watch them take shape. It's also a great feeling knowing you're eating something you made yourself. It's fresh, it smells delicious and you know exactly what's in it.

Baking from scratch is also budget friendly and the simplest ingredients can come together to make basic biscuits, cakes, and breads.You can also add ingredients to your baking and build in as much nutrition and flavor as you want.

This is all pretty basic and I wanted to dig for some research to support the value of good old fashioned baking and what I found supported all of this and then some. Apparently there are some proven mental health benefits. It's been deemed a stress reliever for a variety of reasons according to several sources.

Baking is relaxing and 'meditative', it wakes up your senses with delicious aromas and this reportedly releases our feel-good endorphins. Pus it connects you with your creativity and brings joy when you share it with others.

So next time you need a pick-me-up do a little baking and bring some fresh baked goodness into your New Year!