An ‘essential ingredient’ in healthier eating is Time

The skill and habit of food preparation is always associated with healthier eating. Studies show that those who regularly cook food follow a lot of dietary recommendations and buy a variety of fruits and vegetables to prepare different dishes. Those who cook regularly also enjoyed making new dishes. Recent studies have found that people who spend more time in preparation of meals are likely to have healthier food.

Benefits of spending less time

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The time spent in cooking and preparation of meals has declined considerably according to recent surveys conducted in America. It is found that those who spent less time in preparing meals spent more money by eating out and are likely to eat more fast food. People spend less time in food preparation due to several reasons.  Working parents have less time to cook food and they often serve fast foods to their children who included pizza, macaroni, cheese, chocolates etc. Parents with low income are under time pressure and they relied more on take away foods from outside.

It definitely makes sense that cooking and preparing food is associated with eating healthier food,but so far, not much research has been conducted in this area.Pablo Monsivais from UK has conducted a survey of the main food providers in the houses. He tried to find out how much time does one spent in making a meal which include food preparation, -cooking and cleaning

Benefits of spending more time

The study revealed that the younger married women spent more time in cooking. They had a good amount of family income and were not employed.  People who spent most of their time in cooking have more servings of fruits and vegetables in a week than those who spend less time in cooking.  People who spent less time are likely to go out for meals more frequently than those who spend time cooking.

Healthy Meal requires awareness and intention

Cooking is not something that needs time; it is the awareness and intention of the person to serve a healthier meal. A healthier diet can be prepared in less time also.

Monsivais thinks that most creative cooks are teaching people to prepare healthy meals in a realistic way and time. This knowledge requires programs to encourage better eating in a more realistic manner.  There is a need for diet and nutrition education and teaching of methods to prepare meals in less time and by making the meal cost effective as well.

In families where both parents are working it is easy to bring food from outside, but it is still better to learn to prepare a healthy meal in a short time. People need to be educated to learn techniques to cut down time,preparing healthy food instead of buying everything. 

Ways to prepare healthy food by saving money and time

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  • Planning is the key to success for eating healthy, saving money and saving time. It is ideal to make a note of the meals to be served during the week for lunch, dinner, breakfast and snacks. Once the planning is made a grocery list must be made to buy the things in advance.  Items on sale in the market can also be included in the meals in advance.
  • Cleaning of vegetables when bought saves a lot a time when it is to be cooked. Hence clean, cut and separate things in Ziplocbags for use in future.
  • Rosenthal recommends pre-preparing meals or cooking foods in larger batches and freezing them in portions is a real time saver. This provides healthier homemade dishes than those bought from the counter.
  • Another suggestion to save time in cleaning is to use slow cookers and preparing one dish meals.
  • Make new dishes from leftovers and not waste anything. There can be one full meal in a week of all the leftovers.

Conclusion– It can be concluded that time spent in cooking at home is essential to developing healthier eating habits. There must be ways and methods adopted to reduce the time in cooking a healthy meal at home. Food makers should research in providing food that are nutritious and that is convenient and can be easily prepared by the user.

Study finds that Time might be ‘essential ingredient’ in healthier eating, but management and reduction of time in cooking can also provide healthier eating.