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Eating Home-Cooked Meals Is Better for Family Life, Essay Example

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Words: 871

Essay

The idea that home cooked meals make for healthier people and family life has been considered true for many years. It Western societies though, there is still an over-reliance on fast food and processed food which has caused a number of serious health problems in populations. In countries like the United States and United Kingdom, there has been a massive increase in the amount of obesity and other nutrition and weight-related disorders over the last four decades or so. This means that the time is right for a rediscovery of the joys of home-cooked food.

There are several reasons why home-cooked meals represent a much better way of eating than simply buying fast food. Firstly, cost plays a significant part. Vegeatables and other healthy foods used in home-cooked meals are actually a lot cheaper than fast food. Although much is often made of the cheap prices on offer in some of the bigger fast food chains, anyone who eats this food regularly or even every day will be spending much money than they need to. Research from the US Department of Agriculture showed that while in terms of price per calorie, foods such as food and vegetables were more expensive, in terms of their edible weight and nutritional value, they were actually much cheaper than fast food. This comparison helps to show how valuable knowledge about healthier foods is to society in comparison with fast foods.

The second reason for eating more home-cooked meals is health and well-being. Families who eat together at the table tend to eat more healthily. As research conducted by Rutgers University found, the nutritional benefits of families eating together were huge. “It is very interesting that something as simple as frequently eating meals together may contribute to so many different types of benefits to all family members,” said study author Jennifer Martin-Biggers, a doctoral student in the department of nutritional sciences at Rutgers. Her study found that there were considerable benefit to families in terms of how healthy the children were when they ate home-cooked meals together, especially in terms of the amount of fruit and vegetables that they ate.

The third good reason for enjoying home-cooked meals rather than fast food is family bonding. Families who eat together often enjoy better relations and feel more socially bonded. The act of cooking and eating a fresh cooked meal helps to bring family members together at the table to share events and concerns in their lives with each other. The greater communication that this engenders allows families to share more social time and live less atomised, separated lives. Evidence that this kind of social interaction improves the mental health of children and teenagers comes from the Rutgers study quoted above. The study found that teenagers in families who ate together were much less likely to show signs of depression, and their families were more likely to be supportive.

Learning how to cook or developing the cooking skills that families already have is another good reason for eating more home-cooked food. Teenagers often respond well to learning new skills, especially really useful ones such as cookery. Confidence and self-esteem can be developed in this way, as well as chances of decent and fulfulling employment later in life. This was shown by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation when they took a day project into the Galileo High School in California. As Sarah Curl, a worker for the Foundation, stated: “All students were given a bag of ingredients to make tacos with different proteins. They had 20 minutes to work together in groups of 4-6 students and create they own versions of tacos. The results were amazing! Every student was engaged and so excited to try different cooking techniques. It was great to see and so inspiring.”

Finally, it can also be argued that eating more home-cooked food together makes families more aware of many of the political and ethical issues which surround food today. The environmental costs of modern intensive farming and food processing are often very great, especially when it comes to food found in delicate environments like the sea. Industrial fishing and fish farming is doing great damage to the world’s oceans. By being aware of which fish are good to eat and are sustainable, we see that eating home-cooked meals can make families more aware of what kinds of food are good for the planet in the long-term. British chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall has started a campaign to get more people to eat sustainable fish species. He publishes recipes which allow people to find suitable meals more quickly and easily. This shows that as a result of eating more home-cooked meals, people can change their behaviour so that it benefits the world.

Eating home-cooked meals clearly has great benefits for society. Research has shown that it can help change people’s behaviour for the better, as well as improving health and well-being of families. Home-cooked meals can make the world a much better place overall.

Works Cited

‘Healthy Foods Not Necessarily More Expensive Than Less Healthy Ones’ by Andrea Carlson, May 2012 http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/05/16/healthy-foods-not-necessarily-more-expensive-than-less-healthy-ones/

‘Why Families Who Eat Together Are Healthier’ by Alexandra Sifferlin, April 2012 http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/24/why-families-who-eat-together-are-healthier/

‘Getting Teenagers Excited About Cooking’ by Sarah Curl, November 2012 http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news-content/getting-teenagers-excited-about-cooking

‘About Hugh’s Fish Fight’ by anonymous, January 2011 http://www.fishfight.net/the-campaign/

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