In the United States, the birthplace of fast food, it seems like people are preparing and eating meals less and less every year.
Just consider this, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, back in 1900, only 2% of meals were eaten away from home. Fast forward to present time, and people are eating around 50% of their meals away from their homes.
What’s more, Hyman’s research also reveals that most families eat together only three times a week and that the meals only last for 20 minutes, give or take a few minutes.
The problem is many studies have shown that people today feel like family meals are inconvenient and at times rather stressful. In fact, new findings from North Carolina State University reveal that some even think that home cooking and family meals are actually impossible.
Why Are People Eating Less at Home?
So you actually want to spend more time eating with your family, but you just don’t have enough time to prepare your food. Well, at least you’re not alone on this. A recent study from the University of Minnesota revealed that working more than 40 hours per week has a negative impact on eating behaviors.
What’s more, even working between 19 and 93 hours per week negatively influences attitudes toward healthful eating and ability to have a strong, stable meal structure, the research concluded.
Ok, we’re not saying you need to quit your daily job in order to prepare more meals, just keep this in mind – new research from Professor Mark Wahlqvist has shown that people who cook at home at least five times a week are 47% more likely to live until the age of 75.
But if that’s not enough to change your mind, let’s take a look at five specific benefits of home cooking and maybe we’ll encourage you to start preparing more meals at home and start eating with your family on a regular occasion.
Four Benefits of Home Cooking
1. It Will Encourage Family Bonding
For starters, with more family meal times, your family dynamic will greatly improve in just a few short weeks – and your children will benefit the most. Home cooking is a great teaching tool for parents that will instill healthy habits in their kids.
And just how much will your kids benefit from regular family meals? Well, research from the University of Michigan found that kids who eat their meals at the dinner table surrounded by their family members have less psychological problems later in life and actually achieve more academic success than their peers.
2. You’ll Start Eating Appropriate Portions
You probably know that restaurants in the United States are notorious for their extremely large portion sizes (I’m sure you remember the “Super Size Me” documentary from a few years back). This unfortunately contributes to the obesity problem in the country and the vast overeating culture.
While some restaurants started including nutrition labels on their menus in order to combat the issue, research published in the International Journey of Obesity discovered that has little to no effect. But home-made meals give you a great opportunity to exercise portion control, and limit the temptation of overeating.
3. Your Health Will Definitely Improve
Most people these days are looking to improve their diets, but eating out (and visiting the local fast food joint) a couple times a week doesn’t help at all. If you’re looking to include more fruits, vegetables and healthy nutrients in your and your family’s diet, start spending more time in the kitchen as soon as possible.
According to research from the Johns Hopkins University, individuals who eat regularly at home actually consume less fat, carbs and sugars than the ones who don’t. And seeing how a healthy diet is closely connected with a healthy life, home cooking may also help you take the first step toward better overall wellness.
4. Your Food Will be Much Safer
Last but not least, let’s talk about foodborne lionesses – more commonly known as food poisoning. You see food poisoning affect more people than you think. According to CDC, nearly 1 in 6 US citizens are affected by it every year. This is mainly caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses that can seriously harm you and your loved ones, and in the worst case, even kill you.
By visiting cheap restaurants, you increase your possibility of consuming bad foods, prepared by inexperienced handlers, thus increasing your chance of food poisoning. On the other hand, preparing meals gives you an opportunity to buy food from reliable sources (who take care of their livestock and conduct proper soil testing) and properly prepare your food.
Ok, we understand that your schedule is probably jam-packed, that your to-do list is always too long and that making enough time to prepare a meal every night can be more than though.
But if you’re looking to improve your health, bond with your family and instill healthy habits into your kids, it’s definitely worth investing some time (and money of course) into home cooking.