Home prepared meals
Published: September 07, 2018
Maybe you’ve seen headlines, books, and articles that purport the health benefits of home cooking.
A variety of research studies suggest that meals which are prepared at home tend to be more nutritious and are associated with lower body mass index (BMI) when compared to meals prepared outside the home.
However, this is not always the case as the nutritional quality of food served in the home depends on a variety of factors.
Foods served at full service restaurant chains and fast food chains tend to be high in calories, saturated fat and sodium.
Therefore, nutritional knowledge and the availability of nutritious food are two factors which will help when preparing home cooked meals.
Food preparation and cooking skills, available food preparation and cooking equipment, and self-efficacy are also factors which contribute to the serving of home prepared meals that are nutritious.
Meals eaten with your family or other people also tend to be more nutritious than meals eaten alone.
Children who are involved in food preparation at home are more likely to have a better quality diet.
In addition, family meals that are prepared and consumed inside the home are associated with better quality diets, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased consumption of sugary beverages.
Perhaps your health conscious friends have tried to persuade you to cook your own meals at home and/or bring a packed lunch to work.
The alternative is perhaps food that is prepared by a variety of vendors such as brand foods in supermarkets, supermarket deli counters, fast food vendors, food carts, and restaurants.
But your own attempts to do the “healthy” option by preparing and cooking meals at home may not have been successful.
You may recall family meals from the past which were fraught with arguments, and directions not to leave the table until you had eaten every scrap of food on your plate regardless of whether you were hungry or not, or whether you liked the food placed in front of you.
This may have left you feeling averse to home prepared meals.
If you live alone the thought of “going to all that trouble” just for one person may be off-putting.
However, if you are determined to make better health choices around the food you eat by eating for health, preparing and cooking meals at home may be a place to start.
The major benefit of preparing and cooking your meals at home is that you know what you are putting into your meal: you are in control of the ingredients.
This can be especially helpful if you have allergies, food intolerances, digestive disorders such as GERD, IBD or IBS, high blood pressure, high blood-cholesterol levels, problems with controlling your blood-glucose levels and/or if you are trying to attain and maintain a healthy body weight.
Preparing and cooking food at home is often cheaper than buying meals prepared outside the home.
Home cooking also allows for a greater variety in food choice and although buying and preparing food for a home cooked meal can be time consuming...link to the full article to learn more.
Fulkerson et al. (2014) A review of associations between family or shared meals. Frequency and dietary and weight status outcomes across the life span. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46, 2-19.
Aucghincloss et al. (2014) Nutritional value of meals at full service restaurant chains. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46, (7) 75 -81
Boles et al (2013) Differences in home food and activity environments between obese and health weight families of preschool children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45, 222-233.
Sneider et al (2013) Do food blogs serves as a source of nutritionally balanced recipes? An analysis of 6 popular food blogs, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45 696 -700
Chu et al (2014). Involvement in meal preparation at home is associated with better diet quality among Canadian children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46, (4) 304-309
Fink et al (2014) Family meals and diet quality among children and adolescents in North Carolina. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46, (4) 418 – 422
Meade et al (2014) Influences on family meal experience (2014). Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46,(45) S102.