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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eating at Home is an Investment in Family

Eating at Home is an Investment in Family
 Time (or lack thereof) seems to have a big impact on eating behaviors. One of the main barriers to planning regular and balanced meals is our busy lifestyles. Simple, quick dishes made from on-hand ingredients are most attractive to consumers. Fifty-six percent of consumers say they are looking for convenience foods to save them preparation and cooking time. Saving money is one reason to eat at home, but there are a few others that are more important.

Reports indicate that on a typical night, 89% of meal preparers made a
dinner at home – 57% prepared the meal from scratch primarily with
fresh ingredients, no mixes; 24% prepared their “home-cooked” meal
with prepackaged foods that require some preparation; and 8% used
only frozen or heat-and-serve pre-packaged foods. Yet, we also know
that convenience food usage has increased 32% in ten years and there
are more and more frozen “just add” types of products available in the
freezer aisles.

Although trends are starting to change in the right direction, the lack of
time and busy lifestyles still have many of us choosing less-healthy meal
options away from home. Research over the last few years shows that
those who eat more meals away from home tend to have a higher
prevalence of obesity and all the complications that come from this disease. It’s safe to say that eating more healthful meals at home would be an investment in our family’s health.

We also know that children and teens who eat more meals at home with their families are more emotionally and socially stable; receive higher grades; attain more education; eat more fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods; and eat less saturated and trans fat, soda, and fried food. Family meal time is becoming more and more important in bringing families together, building relationships and helping families communicate.

By Maria Pippidis, Two Cents Tips for Delaware Newsletter Contributor, University of Delaware Extension


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