Lately, I’ve been reading articles about the predicted food trends for 2013. One trend that caught my attention above all the rest is the idea that more people will be preparing and eating more of their meals at home. I hope this is true and a trend that is here to stay!
Over the years, home cooked meals have been replaced meals on the run, fast food or take-out foods. I have met many people who simply have trouble finding the time or don’t know how to put together simple, healthy meals. I have met clients who literally consume ALL of their meals on the run, and never have a meal at home. With so many sources of food available everywhere and at anytime, it’s easy to see how this could happen. Yet, there are a number of compelling reasons why you should rethink how you (or your family) get meals.
- Quick and simply prepared foods made at home could help you get healthier, lighter, and provide you with a bit more cash to spend on other things. Home prepared foods are almost always lower in fat, calories and sodium. The person who prepares meals at home has control of how the food is made, what goes into it, and most importantly, how much is served.
- Meals purchased out are usually in much larger portions than one might have at home. A quick check of the caloric content of many chain restaurant meals reveals some alarming news…those meals could contain 1000 or more calories. How many times have you consumed the entire portion of a large restaurant meal? Unless you are taking half of that portion home, you may be consuming far more calories than you may realize. If the dish is prepared with heavy sauces or oils even a half portion can mean lots of extra calories.
- A side benefit of eating at home: more family time together and the chance to teach your children healthy eating habits. Families who eat on the run all of the time lose out on quality time to communicate with one another about school, work or the day’s events. Eating meals together as a family is an opportunity to set a positive example and educate your children about healthy eating.
You don’t need to have special cooking skills to put together healthier meals at home. Here are a few examples of how to start:
- Start having breakfast at home instead buying the calorie-laden breakfast sandwich. A bowl of cereal with low fat milk, fresh fruit and perhaps a yogurt can help you start your day.
- Brown bag your lunch instead of getting fast food or take-out every day. No need to get fancy here if you don’t have time. A sandwich or portion of last night’s leftovers will do. Add a piece of fruit or cut up raw vegetables to round things out.
- For dinner, prepare simple meals once and make enough to have leftovers at another meal. Grilled or broiled chicken, fish or lean meat with a potato or whole grain pasta and steamed vegetables, takes less than 30 minutes.
- Cook and plan meals ahead for the week to save time. Once you get in the habit of preparing a few things ahead of time, the rest gets easier.
Taking time to make your own meals more often can go a long way towards a healthier style of eating and weight loss. Want to follow this trend in 2013 and going forward? I have more ideas and ways to accomplish this in my new book “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating.”