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6 Reasons to Cook at Home to Get Healthy Now

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You have likely heard about how eating more fast food and convenience foods are not helping the health of our nation.2

Rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes have all been on the rise since the increase of fast food and other restaurant foods have taken the place of eating at home.3  Regular fast food consumption we know isn’t good, but did you know that it is associated with obesity and heart disease (a leading cause of death in the United States)?4 

Is there really that big of a difference between cooking at home and eating out?  Isn’t a salad a salad … or a French fry a French fry, no matter where it’s from? 

Not likely!

For example:
A salad from McDonalds is not very big and yet is has 470 calories…  Not too bad if it’s your main meal (and you’re not planning to eat it alongside a burger and fries), but … it also has 115mg of cholesterol (from eggs and milk in the dressing, which is saturated fat), 1380mg of sodium and only 7 grams of fiber.  This salad also has nearly 100 ingredients!5

I could make a HUGE and delicious salad at home with the following ingredients:

Ingredient

Amount

          Calories          

Spring Mix

5 oz

25.01

Hass Avocado

Half

113.56

Tomato, Raw

0.5 cup, chopped

16.2

Cucumber, Raw

     0.5 cup, chopped     

10.65

Organic Black Beans, Canned

0.5 cup

110

Sweet Yellow Pepper, Raw

1 cup, chopped

40.23

Pico De Gallo

.25 cup

8.43

Green Onion, Tops only

3 stalks

9.72

Frozen Green Peas (no salt)

1 cup

124.80

Celery, Raw

1 cup, diced

14.14

 

 

This salad would be tasty and SUPER filling.  Truly, this could be a full meal on its own for sure.  The calories are about the same as the McDonald’s salad above only this salad has 0 cholesterol/saturated fat, half the sodium/546mg of sodium (naturally occurring, not added table salt) and 27 grams of fiber (which means it’s MUCH more filling).  This amount of fiber might even make it hard for you to finish in one setting!

 

Here is all of that in a chart from so it’s easy to see:

Nutrient

McDonald’s salad

Made at home salad

Calories

470 kcal

473 kcal

Fat

23g

13g

Protein

34g

24g

Carbohydrates

34g

75g

Fiber

7g

27g

Cholesterol

115mg

0mg

Iron

3mg

12mg

Calcium

150mg

308mg

 

 

Also note: The homemade salad has a higher water content, no common allergens (no eggs or dairy) and more micronutrients.  Additionally, more fiber means an improved microbiome as well!7

Reasons to cook/prepare your own food at home for improved health:

  1. You know what is in your food when you make it yourself, making it easier to avoid toxins such as preservatives, food dyes, nitrates and additives.  These ingredients have many ill effects on health.  Food dyes have been associated with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in children.8  Nitrates can harm the thyroid and dysregulate it.9  Many additives such as thickeners, emulsifiers and others can suppress the immune system as well is hinder proper metabolism leading to obesity.10  Some emulsifiers have been found in animal studies to cause dysbiosis and other gut disorders.11
  2. You have at least some control over how fresh it is.  Although you may not be able to determine how long it took from the time your food was harvested to when it was delivered to your grocery store, you can control how long it sits in your kitchen or refrigerator.  Shopping at least once/week allows you to use fresh food regularly rather than relying on processed or frozen meals.
  3. You consume safer food.  When eating at home you can ensure that your food is organic, whole and relatively untouched.  When eating out, you have little to no control over the food handling practices of those preparing your food.  This increases the likelihood of food-borne illness.
  4. It may be easier to control portion sizes.  Eating out is associated with overeating in most cases as few Americans have a good understanding of what a portion of a given food actually looks like on a plate.12  When you prepare food at home, you can make just enough for those who you are dining with.  It’s also easier to take other measures to control portions such as using smaller plates and putting extra food away right away so it’s not sitting in front of you tempting you to finish it off.
  5. You can add specific ingredients that help improve your individual health challenges. The opposite is also true.  You can avoid certain ingredients that you know will harm your health either in general or specifically in your unique circumstance.  Eating out on the other hand, your food is pre-made with added poor-quality salt, oils and other preservatives which are not health promoting.2
  6. You are more likely to get and maintain an ideal body weight.13  For most people, eating out means bigger portions and more calorically dense food choices, both of which are not conducive to a proper body weight.

You don’t have to be a master chef to cook simple, fast and delicious food at home.  Your health and your budget will thank you!  Remember that YOU are the treasure and you are worth the best quality fuel. 

Love yourself the way you love your loved ones.  If you need help don’t hesitate to reach out.  Call the clinic to schedule your consultation today

 

Resource list:

1. Brisco J. Couple cooking picture. unsplash. https://unsplash.com/photos/VBsG1VOgLIU. Accessed October 22, 2020.

2. Fuhrman J. The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food*. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018. doi:10.1177/1559827618766483

3. Mazidi M, Speakman JR. Association of fast-food and full-service restaurant densities with mortality from cardiovascular disease and stroke, and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.007651

4. Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Azizi F. Fast Food Pattern and Cardiometabolic Disorders: A Review of Current Studies. Heal Promot Perspect. 2015. doi:10.15171/hpp.2015.028

5. Calorie King- McDonald’s Southwest Salad. 2020.

6. Cronometer. https://cronometer.com. Published 2020. Accessed October 22, 2020.

7. Tomova A, Bukovsky I, Rembert E, et al. The effects of vegetarian and vegan diets on gut microbiota. Front Nutr. 2019. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00047

8. Bateman B, Warner JO, Hutchinson E, et al. The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children. Arch Dis Child. 2004. doi:10.1136/adc.2003.031435

9. Trasande L, Shaffer RM, Sathyanarayana S. Food additives and child health. Pediatrics. 2018. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1408

10. Paula Neto HA, Ausina P, Gomez LS, Leandro JGB, Zancan P, Sola-Penna M. Effects of food additives on immune cells as contributors to body weight gain and immune-mediated metabolic dysregulation. Front Immunol. 2017. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.01478

11. Reardon S. Food preservatives linked to obesity and gut disease. Nature. 2015. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.16984

12. Cohen DA, Story M. Mitigating the health risks of dining out: The need for standardized portion sizes in restaurants. Am J Public Health. 2014. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301692

13. Mills S, Brown H, Wrieden W, White M, Adams J. Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017. doi:10.1186/s12966-017-0567-y

Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease.  It does not take the place of a health care practitioner.  It is for educational purposes only.