If you’re eager to save money while eating right, stick close to your own kitchen, researchers say.
“Frequent eating out was associated with lower diet quality, more ’empty calories’ and higher diet costs” compared to home cooking, said study author Adam Drewnowski.
The troublemakers for regular restaurant-goers are solid fats, calories, alcohol and added sugar, added Drewnowski, who directs the University of Washington’s Center for Public Health Nutrition. The findings come from surveys of more than 400 Seattle-area residents.
The healthier-at-home results shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Lona Sandon, a Dallas nutritionist who wasn’t involved in the study.
“Preparing your food at home gives you control over what goes on your plate,” said Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Eating Out vs Cooking at Home
Americans spend half their food dollars on meals consumed outside the home, but only about one in five meets nutritional recommendations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Moreover, by the 1990s Americans were getting about one-third of their daily calories outside the home, the researchers said. With that in mind, between 2011 and 2013 they questioned 437 adults between the ages of 21 and 55 who were the principal food shoppers in their household. They asked how often they had eaten in or eaten out in the prior week. “Outside” included restaurants, fast-food locales, food stands, grocery stores and vending machines.
In turn, the nutritional value of each participant’s diet was measured according to the U.S. Healthy Eating Index (HEI). This assesses whether someone gets the right combination of fruit, vegetables and other nutritional elements.
Roughly half the participants frequently cooked dinner at home — six times or more a week, the team found. One-third cooked dinner often (four to five times a week), while about 15 percent rarely did so (three or fewer times a week). Those who ate more frequently at home scored higher on the healthy eating index than the others. They also spent less overall — on food consumed outside and at home — than those who ate out more often.
Food bills for the group that cooked in the most averaged $273 a month per person versus $364 a month for those who ate out most often.
“The saving in not going out more than made up for the slight increase in at-home costs,” explained Drewnowski.
Fat, alcohol and added sugar “reduced the [healthy eating] scores for people who went out to eat often,” he noted. “But people eating at home also got more vegetables and fruit.” Still, “cooking at home is not for everyone,” he acknowledged. The point to remember is that eating out doesn’t have to be a no-no, he said.
Better choices can be made by those who “prize convenience” over home cooking, Drewnowski said. Many options are available, he noted. For example, “vegetables do not need to be steamed. They can be grilled, baked and sauteed, with some oil and salt. Or made into soups.”
If you decide to prepare your own meals, Sandon offers some advice: “Cooking at home does not have to be time-consuming or require advanced cooking skills to make a healthy, balanced meal that meets the dietary guidelines.”
Keep it simple, she said. Just try to ensure that every meal is composed half of fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of whole grains, and one-quarter of lean protein.
“Every meal does not have to be a master piece,” Sandon added. “Start simple with something like mac and cheese. Add a side of steamed broccoli and carrots with grilled chicken breast or salmon, and you have a balanced meal.”
SOURCES: Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., director, Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, Seattle; Lona Sandon, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor, clinical nutrition, and program director, school of health professions, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Feb. 28, 2017, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, online
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Additional Topics: Weight Loss Eases Back Pain
Back pain and symptoms of sciatica can affect a majority of the population throughout their lifetime. Research studies have demonstrated that people who are overweight or obese experience more back complications than people with a healthy weight. A proper nutrition along with regular physical fitness can help with weight loss as well as help maintain a healthy weight to eliminate symptoms of back pain and sciatica. Chiropractic care is also another natural form of treatment which treats back pain and sciatica utilizing manual spinal adjustments and manipulations.
.video-containerposition: relative; padding-bottom: 63%; padding-top: 35px; height: 0; overflow: hidden;.video-container iframeposition: absolute; top:0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border: none; max-width:100%!important;
The information herein on "Cooking at Home Can be Cheaper and Healthier" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card