The Health of Cooking

The more you cook, the healthier you live. People who frequently cook dinner at home consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to a study of more than 9,000 people published by the Journal Public Health Nutrition. The findings also suggest that those who frequently cook at home—six to seven nights a week—also consume fewer calories on the occasions when they eat out.

Cooking can also expand your intake of healthy foods. For instance, people who live alone—who are less likely to cook on a regular basis—often have diets that lack core food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, and fish, according to a review of 41 studies. The report also found they have less diversity and lower overall consumption of these healthy foods.

Working Parents

For families making the time to eat at home can also be difficult – single parents and families with two working parents — say time is their enemy when it comes to preparing healthy meals. But you can keep the frozen pizza and other processed foods to a minimum with tips that are good for your heart and your wallet.

 

Start with A Plan

The best time to make a meal plan is not when you are hungry and need to eat right away. Make a list ahead of time and try hard to stick to it.

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

Let your children help while you prepare meals. This allows them to get interested in and pay attention to what they are eating.

I’m on a budget. What can I do?

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Rice, beans, potatoes, bananas and eggs can be budget-friendly staples. You can also stretch your grocery budget by planning for a couple meatless meals each week.

My child is home alone. How can I help her eat healthy?

If you plan ahead, it can easy to help your child make good choices without any difficulty or dangerous prep work.

  • Healthy leftovers — microwave them for a quick, easy meal
  • Peanut butter and jelly with no-sugar added jelly on whole-wheat bread
  • Grilled fish sandwich. Keep lettuce and tomatoes (sliced ahead of time) handy to add flavor and nutrients
  • Turkey sandwich — Don’t forget your favorite veggies
  • Whole-grain crackers and hummus
  • Fresh fruit

 

And the best way to avoid junk food? Don’t stock it in the house, because it is too easy to reach for it first.

 

Thanks to the AHA and Harvard Health Online for this useful information.