In this article, we talk about the single, most powerful action you can take to eat healthier, slim down, and feel better.
You won’t find us promoting fad diets, deprivation-based eating plans, or weight loss pills/supplements/etc. There’s no magic bullet approach to getting and staying healthy. You also won’t find us suggesting that there is ONE thing that works for everyone. Except for . . .
. . . making more meals at home!
Americans eat around 32% of their meals outside of their homes. Food choices made away from home tend to be higher in fat and saturated fat (things we don’t need more of) and lower in the nutrients many of us struggle to get enough of, like calcium, fiber, and iron. Also, if you’ve got kids, research shows that eating meals with parents on a regular basis can reduce the risk of eating disorders and obesity and can even make kids less likely to abuse alcohol, or smoke cigarettes and marijuana.
Here are six other reasons to make more meals at home:
1. You know what’s going into your food. Our clients often say that after making more meals at home, meals out can seem especially oily and salty. Some fast food and sit-down restaurant items can have more than an entire day’s worth of sodium and saturated fat. When you make meals at home, you know exactly how much of each ingredient is going into what you’re eating. We’re not saying don’t use fats and salt in your homemade meals, but rather use them sparingly in the amounts that enhance your foods’ flavors rather than overpower them.
2. It’s easier to practice portion control. You likely don’t have measuring cups with you at a restaurant, and while “eye-balling” portions is a great tool, this sort of estimation night after night may lead to unintended weight gain. In addition, many restaurants use large dinner-sized plates and most fast food places offer “value” in the form of super-large sizes. At home, serve yourself a meal on a salad plate and pack the rest of the food up for leftovers.
3. You save time (We’re serious). Cooking at home doesn’t have to mean a 25-ingredient recipe and 3 hour process. We often make meals in 20 minutes or less. Check out our website and the Bumble Bee site for fast recipes. Keep items like frozen veggies and fruit, canned beans and fish, fast cooking grains like quinoa, and frozen pre-portions pieces of chicken and fish on hand. Bumble Bee’s new SuperFresh® line of premium seasoned fresh-frozen seafood is affordable, nutritious, and delicious. Also, did we mention leftovers? Pack up dinner leftovers for an amazingly satisfying lunch the next day. You’ll make your co-workers jealous (and inspired!) and make your stomach/energy level happy.
4. You create habits that will positively enhance your life…for the rest of your life. There is no time in your life where making more meals at home will not enhance your health and nourish a healthy weight. It’s like the saying “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
5. You’re not faced with (as much) temptation. At home, you aren’t bombarded with constant upsells. At restaurants you may be offered more wine, bread, and butter before your meal; extra French fries or a bigger burger when you’d planned on a smaller sandwich; or even giant desserts. These temptations don’t come into the equation at home. Sure, you’ll still need to take measures to make sure that you don’t buy loads of sweets and less nutritious foods at the grocery store each week and learn how to find ways to unwind after dinner that don’t involve snacking, but these are important habits to work on regardless of where you’re eating.
6. Savings. Another big-time motivator to make more food at home is cost. Dining out and ordering in can really add up. While it may seem like buying groceries is expensive, divide your total grocery costs by the number of meals and snacks you’ll make from those items and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised that it’s a lot less than you’ve been paying for food out (even fast food).
How often do you make food at home? Are you up for setting a goal to make more meals at home?