The decline in home food preparation and the increase in convenience products has become a recipe for poor rhealth.

Devaluing of home cooking

Several decades ago, the time it took to prepare family meals was considered to be more of an investment in one’s health than it was a hobby. Today, the availability of processed meal products and fast foods with their savvy marketing have devalued home cooking, unfortunately without regard for the negative consequences. If you’re serious about your health and well-being, it’s time to get back into the kitchen and start preparing your own healthy meals!

Why invest in your kitchen?

Several studies show that by cooking more, you will eat more fruits and vegetables and expose yourself less to fast food. In one analysis of two studies of United States health professionals published in the journal PLOS Medicine, those who enjoyed more meals prepared at home had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. And that is just one of the benefits of home cooking!

Teaching younger family members basic cooking skills and food literacy could be one of the most important things to help them eat better for life. In Australia, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program that was tested in public elementary schools showed that children taught to grow and prepare vegetables from scratch are more likely to eat them as well, and it increased the variety of such foods they ate.

But it isn’t just about a better quality of diet. Investing more time in your kitchen will also save you money. In the Seattle Obesity Study, eating home-cooked meals was associated with diets lower in calories, sugar, and fat—and it didn’t increase monthly food costs.

Tips to cook at home

  • You don’t have to cook every night. Just dedicate three regular times during the week to cook larger amounts of food, and use your fridge and freezer to store what you don’t use immediately.
  • Share the jobs, from procurement and preparation to cleaning up and garbage disposal duties, and everyone who participates will appreciate the food more.
  • Take advantage of the weekend to get ahead. Roast a tray of veggies, cut up lettuce, bake tofu, or boil some beans. With minimal additional effort, these can be turned into soups, sandwiches, risottos, pasta sauces, and salads during the week.

Food Matters: The Importance of Home Cooking

by Sue Radd
  
From the June 2018 Signs