A recent study from John Hopkins University concluded that people who cook meals at home are generally slimmer than those who don't.
The research found that those who make dinner in their own kitchen typically consumed less sugar and fat - in fact, they roughly ate 140 fewer calories a day than those who ate out most of the time. Even when portion sizes were similar, the sugar and fat content still tended to be lower in the home-cooked dinners.
The problem with restaurant meals and packaged foods are that you have no control when it comes to what goes into them. But if you cook at home, you can pick fresh ingredients and monitor how much salt you use.
A silver lining that might inspire you to put the apron on: even if you make dishes you would order at restaurants, you're still often saving calories, fat and sugar.
“I cooked professionally in restaurants for a decade, and restaurant cooking can be very heavy on fats - butter, oil, cream, etc. - and also on salt and sugar,” Julia Wolfson, of JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, explained. “Much more so than what home cooks typically add to their food.”
She added that deep-fat frying is common in restaurants, but much less so in people's homes.
Also, getting into the habit of making your own meals could generally make you a healthier person. The study found those who cooked at home more often made less calorific choices even when they did dine out. It wasn't clear why exactly, but one explanation could be that being conscious while cooking makes you more alert about your diet in general.
Need more convincing? For one, you'll save money. And it also doesn't need to be time consuming. Make something like a vegetable stir fry or curry and then freeze portions so even when you're feeling lazy you won't reach for shop-bough microwave meals.
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