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Fast Foods and Home-Cooked Meals, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 912

Essay

Comparison between Fast Foods and Home-Cooked Meals: Influences and Implications

It is striking how the modern lifestyles differ from the traditional setting within which society functioned. Of significant concern are contemporary eating trends, which depart from the traditional customs that governed meal-taking. Traditionally, eating was a communal occasion, in which family members came together and shared meals. However, modern civilization has ushered in new eating trends and habits, which are more individualistic than communal. Similarly, the meals are usually taken away from home, with little regard to time guidelines and diet considerations. Consequently, these eating habits have serious health implications in individuals and society at large, due to the disparities between home-cooked and restaurant foods, in terms of nutritional value. The essay examines the differences and similarities between home-cooked and fast foods, and their long term implications on individuals’ diet and health, food quality and family unity. The essay argues that while both restaurant and home-cooked meals have the same nutritional value, the former is unhealthy due to its high fat and calories content.  Moreover, home-cooking is more economical compared to buying meals at fast- food joints. The essay concludes that fast foods are not only harmful to children’s health, but also hinders family harmony.

Child obesity is a growing concern for many families, especially in the developed countries when consumption rate is usually high. In America, particularly, research studies on child health show that one in every five children is obese. In some Asian cities such as Beijing, study estimates indicate that over twenty percent of teenagers is overweight (Waters et al 6). Nonetheless, what is often ignored is the contribution of fast foods to increasing body weight related problems. Fast foods, as the phrase suggests, is not prepared in the same manner as home-cooked meals: it involves the quickest and most efficient means, such as frying or roasting. Consequently, fast-foods usually contain high fat content, which is a leading contributor of weight gain and related health issues. In the two pictures, one portrays evidently overweight kids eating out in a restaurant, and the other a family eating at home. The food depicted in the restaurant includes a plate of chips and a glass of juice. Such food is low in fiber content, which is particularly vital in the digestion of cellulose. Given the fact that fast- food joints economize on time and cost, they mostly specialize in low-fiber foods, since they take less time to prepare. On the contrary, home-cooking is not dictated by time limitations and tends to blend an assortment of a variety of foods that are nutritional and healthy.

Secondly, fast foods encourage individuals to eat at their convenience. In fact, people prefer fast foods for their flexibility, in that one can take any meal at any time of the day. This, perhaps, is an adaptation into the demands of the economic conditions of the contemporary society, whereby the job market has disintegrated family unity. For instance, in families where both parents are working, it is common for each partner to take meals at their respective places of work (Keller 387). This seems to be a convenient alternative compared to driving home for a family meal. At the same time, children are either left on their own at home, or at school. If they do not take packed lunch- which places inconveniences on the parents, they have to buy food at a fast-food joint. In fact, it is highly probable that the two overweight kids have both working parents, and had to check into a restaurant for snacks. Therefore, the disintegration of family harmony can be attributed to labor economics, whereby working parents and their children have to take day-time meals at their respective stations.

Thirdly, fast foods differ from home-cooked meals in terms of their quality, due to the typical monotonous and fixed-recipe commonly adopted by the fast- food joints. Businesses often specialize in a limited line of operations, mainly for the purpose of efficiency. As such, fast foods have a limited nutritional value and diet choice in terms of variety and prevalence. On the other hand, they have high contents of fats, fructose, as well as a high- energy density (Heneline and Meeker 125). For instance, Starbucks specializes in coffee, and consequently, it is difficulty to find meat products. Moreover, even home-cooked food could sometime be as fatty and caloric as fast foods, depending on families’ income levels and consequently, consumer goods purchasing power. In most upper class families, the consumption rate is high, and the food could be as junky as that purchased from a restaurant.  Thus, it is the paper’s argument that emerging trends in eating habits is a consequence of socioeconomic patterns in society, which means that families can afford to purchase foods rich in calories and fats, hence the growing rate of weight related health problems.

In conclusion, the two pictures suggest that home-cooking differs from fast foods in that the former encourages family harmony. Similarly, they demonstrate that home-cooked meals are healthy due to the variety of choice, and low fats and calories content. Nonetheless, contemporary trends in income patterns and labor economics sometimes overshadow the differences, since high- purchasing power means that families can afford junky foods.

Works Cited

Heneline, Michael T. and Meeker, William C. Introduction to Public Health for Chiropractors. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2009.

Keller, Kathleen. Encyclopedia of obesity, Volume 1. New York: SAGE, 2008.

Waters, Elizabeth, et al. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Evidence Policy and Practice. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2010.

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