We all know the phrase, “There is nothing like a home-cooked meal.” Many of us recognize that there is something more enjoyable about a meal after putting effort into preparing it. Others may think that it is worth spending a bit more money to save time for quick access to take out food. We currently live in an age where many people are turning away from home cooking due to increased women in the workforce or the stress of a nine to five. But is there be scientific and social evidence to suggest that a home cooked meal is more than just healthier?
A survey done by The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey compared 9,569 adults, 20 years and over, who cooked at home between 0-1 and 2-5 times a week. They classified them as low cooking frequency and medium cooking frequency. Not only did the subjects in the medium category eat fewer calories, but they also tended to eat fewer fats and less sugar. The study continues to look at other nutrients and dietary habits but concludes by saying,
“People living in households with higher cooking frequency generally follow a healthier diet than people living in households with low cooking frequency”.¹
While these findings may not be significant enough to suggest a total dietary revolution, they do have implications for reducing over-consumption. Many people don’t know how to cook a variety of quick, easy meals, so they turn to eating out and fast food. A greater education about cooking and food production can be a starting point for increased kitchen use and confidence.
Laura Newcomer created an article titled, “Kitchen Confidential: The Health and Social Benefits of Home-Cooked Meals.”² She highlights many of the social benefits of home cooking on the family and environment. These include being able to source locally, saving money, and supporting family/household values. Most importantly, she provides ways to incentivize ourselves to cook at home more. These include everything from making cooking social to even using home cooking to connect to your heritage. She is helping to educate society on ways to make cooking fit into our busy schedules.
In the past 50 years, there has been a drastic rise in the number of meals people eat out each day which many people are correlating to the current obesity epidemic. I believe that home cooking educates people into what goes into their diet. I enjoy cooking as a way of learning about and controlling the nutrients I consume. I also tend to cook a reasonable portion size and do not waste as much food. Personally, there is also a great value in the creativity that cooking affords.
While it is proven that eating at home is better for you, the more social benefits of cooking at home are what matters when trying to change our diets and create a more sustainable society. Being able to source and prepare locally grown food supports your community as well as help to decrease transportation emissions. I encourage everyone to read and follow Laura Newcomers advice as that article inspired me to start cooking and being healthy in my home.
- Wolfson, Julia A. and Sara N. Bleich. 2015. “Is Cooking at Home Associated with Better Diet Quality Or Weight-Loss Intention?” Public Health Nutrition 18 (8): 1397-1406. doi:http://dx.doi.org.colorado.idm.oclc.org/10.1017/S1368980014001943. https://colorado.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.colorado.idm.oclc.org/docview/1675032906?accountid=14503.
- Newcomer, Laura. “Kitchen Confidential: The Health and Social Benefits of Home-Cooked Meals.” Fix.com. Fix.com, 16 Dec. 2015. Web. url=https://www.fix.com/blog/perks-of-home-cooked-meals/.