Updated: Mar 19, 2022
Being a home cook has a number of benefits. One recent study suggests that those who cook at home typically eat healthier meals with fewer calories. This has double the impact when the findings reported that those same people often consume fewer #calories when they do occasionally eat out. This is likely because those at home are more mindful about what is in their foods and portion sizes.
In the recent past, Americans cook less often at home and eat out more. Beth, from Portland, finds her lure to eating out is the convenience. “It’s easier for me. I don’t have to do any preparation and there is no clean-up afterward. It also helps fulfill both mine and my husband’s cravings in one meal.”
Eating out can definitely be a luxury and break from your kitchen; however, when you cook yourself, you have more control. Kelsey Schuring, RD, and Manager of Nutrition Services at Western Michigan University note this is especially true for those that don’t pay attention to serving sizes and preparation techniques. “When an individual prepares a meal at home, they are more aware of what #ingredients are going into that dish and can better watch how much they eat.” There can be roadblocks that prevent someone from cooking at home. Some people don’t like being the only cook in the household, but that can be a great time to get the family involved and teach them how to cook.
Another common reason is the lack of time. #Cooking does take time, but tricks such as preparing a big meal to eat it throughout the week, or freezing leftovers for when time is tight, are helpful. Many people are still concerned about their health when they dine out. “I try and think about it both when I dine out and eat at home. It’s sometimes just not as clear when I’m away from home, but I try to avoid things deep-fried or those that are higher in calories”, says Beth. Schuring says it’s all about balance, especially if you are a frequent diner.
“If you never treat yourself, you may fall victim to overindulging at some point; however, if you overindulge all the time, that can be dangerous”. Going into the #restaurant prepared can help you stay on track. “Research the restaurant #online to get a plan of what you will order and try not to go to the restaurant starving”, says Schuring. This can help with impulse meal orders or eating too fast before realizing you are full. Most restaurants have numerous servings in each of their entrees, making it easy to eat a lot more than intended. “Consider splitting a meal with somebody or ask for a to-go box prior to eating so you don’t mindlessly eat the entire plate”, recommends Schuring.
While it can be a challenge for most people to cook at home on a daily basis, making small strides of just two to three times per week can be connected to a healthier lifestyle.