A study by researchers at Emory University suggests that Americans eat fewer than 70 percent of their meals at home. And of those meals eating at home, how many are “microwave” dinners as compared to fresh, whole foods from real ingredients?
One way to boost your health and have more control over what food you’re eating is to cook your own foods more often. From choosing your ingredients, to preparing and cooking for nutrient preservation, home cooking allows you to have complete control over what goes into your body. Cooking at home also allows you the ability to manage food allergies and sensitivities, as well as portion sizes. Furthermore, regularly preparing and eating healthy home cooked meals will help train your palate to enjoy healthier fare, while improving your creative cooking skills.
BUT…who has the time!? This is one of the biggest concerns many people have about making from-scratch, whole-food, nutritious meals. With the demands of work, school, home, and life in general, few people have the time to spend 2 hours chopping vegetables and making meals by hand.
Thankfully there are creative solutions that are popping up every day for ways to still eat fresh food while maintaining a practical schedule.
One of the more popular ideas right now are the “Meal-in-a-Box” meal kit delivery companies like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sunbasket… a new one seems to appear every week. While it’s a good idea in theory, many people find that the cost per meal is still more than if they had purchased the ingredients locally. But if it helps you and is what it takes to get your family cooking and eating healthy meals, then go for it!
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday dropped a bombshell saying over 45 per cent of food samples taken for study last year in Tamil Nadu did not meet the required standards with 12.7 % coming up as adulterated and unsafe for consumption.
While FSSAI report on National Milk Safety and Quality Survey released last month revealed the name of toxic contents in samples, the regulatory body has not mentioned the hazardous content in the samples.
However, the report noted that the Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group of World Health Organisation has identified 31 food-borne hazards.
It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.
Eight Healthy Eating Goals
Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet. Commit to incorporating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks. You can track your progress through PALA+.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “rolled oats,” quinoa,” or “wild rice.”
Emphasis on Fruits & Veggies
- Mix vegetables into your go-to dishes. Try spinach with pasta or peppers in tacos.
- Use fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. They all offer the same great nutrients. Just be sure to watch the sodium on canned vegetables and look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup).
- Pack your child’s lunch bag with fruits and veggies: sliced apples, a banana, or carrot sticks are all healthy options.
- For a handy snack, keep cut-up fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, or orange slices in the refrigerator.
- Teach children the difference between everyday snacks, such as fruits and veggies, and occasional snacks, such as cookies or other sweets.
- Make water a staple of snack time. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of 100% juice to your water for a little flavor.
- Swap out your cookie jar for a basket filled with fresh fruit.
Ways to Reduce Fat, Salt, and Sugar
- Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried when you’re eating out and implement this at home, too.
- Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
- Serve fruits as everyday desserts-like baked apples and pears or a fruit salad.
- Read labels on packaged ingredients to find foods lower in sodium.
- Skip adding salt when cooking; instead use herbs and spices to add flavor.
Controlling Portion Size
- Use smaller plates to control portion sizes.
- Don’t clean your plate or bowl if you’re full, instead save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Portion sizes depend on the age, gender, and activity level of the individual.
Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.
Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
The Impact of Nutrition on Your Health
Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States: about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.1 Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.
The risk factors for adult chronic diseases, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are increasingly seen in younger ages, often a result of unhealthy eating habits and increased weight gain. Dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood, so teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy throughout their life.
The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way, and it’s easier than you think!