Why home-cooked meals are key to healthier diet

Why home-cooked meals are key to healthier diet

People who eat home-cooked meals frequently consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Eating meals cooked at home ensures that you know exactly what is in your food.

Healthy home-cooked are an important part of a healthy living lifestyle.

When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all — even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.

The research also suggests that those who eat at home six to seven nights a week even consume fewer calories when they go out. The study was published in the Journal of Public Health.

Wolfson and co-author Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, analyzed the data from 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from more than 9,000 participants aged 20 and older.

The survey contained details including what partipants ate in a 24-hour period, as well as eating behaviors like fast food for 30 days. The research team found that 8 percent of adults cooked dinner once or less a week, and this group consumed about 2,300 calories, 84 grams of fat, and 135 grams of sugar on average per day.

On the other end of the spectrum, 48 percent of participants cooked dinner 6-7 times a week, and they consumed 2,164 calories, 81 grams of fat and 119 grams of sugar per day. The research team also found that those who cooked more at home relied on frozen foods when they went out rather than fast food.

Obesity is an escalating public health problem that contributes to other serious health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” says Wolfson.

The evidence shows people who cook at home eat a more healthy diet. Moving forward, it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of cooking at home, identify strategies that encourage and enable more cooking at home, and help everyone, regardless of how much they cook, make healthier choices when eating out,” she adds.

Wolfson believes that there are different solutions for each family. “Time and financial constraints are important barriers to healthy cooking and frequent cooking may not be feasible for everyone. But people who cook infrequently may benefit from cooking classes, menu preparation, coaching or even lessons in how to navigate the grocery store or read calorie counts on menus in restaurants.”

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Cooking at Home Frequently May Lead to Healthier Diet.” Newswise. Newswise, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

2. “Is Cooking at Home Associated with Better Diet Quality or Weight-loss Intention?Public Health Nutrition. Cambridge Journals Online, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

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