enty-eight percent of Americans say they. The skills necessary tomight not be as widely taught as, say, fractions, but it just might play an essential part in the battle against rising obesity rates. People areto make poor food choices and consume too many calories when dining at a restaurant, which is something we’re doing now more than ever — in 2013, Americans are predicted to spendon eating out than we did in 2000. Sounds like it’s time to get back to the (home) kitchen.
, a web-based meal planning service, is devoted to bringing back the age-old art of the home-cooked meal with an emphasis on making the food , delicious, and quick. This September, they want you to : make four more home-cooked meals this month than you normally do. It’s a modest commitment, but Cook Smarts founder Jess Dang believes her target of 10,000 pledges could change the country.
“Forty-thousand more home cooked meals means that one million dollars will be saved [on eating out] and [Americans will consume] about five million fewer calories,” Dang says.
While the prospect of four home cooked meals can intimidate a first-timer, Cook Smarts’ was conceived with the goal of building kitchen skills from the ground up, and unlike food delivery services such as, Cook Smarts wants its users to develop their own shopping habits.When someone, they gain access to everything a beginner needs:shopping lists,how-to guides,tips to avoid food waste,informative videos, and a range of weekly recipes that can be customized for Paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets. Cook Smarts charges a fee toto their content, but September’s campaign (and the related content) is free.
Photo: Cook SmartsIt’s true that preparing meals at home they’re healthier than going to a restaurant — it’s easy to make (and subsequently eat) too much food, and gaps in nutritional knowledge can result in meals with fewer vitamins than a plate of pasta. However, Cook Smarts has taken pains to ensure that they provide not just nutritionally complete recipes, but detailed shopping lists of exactly what and how much to buy for each person.
“This way, people avoid both overeating and throwing away ,” says Dang.“ of America’s greenhouse gases come from food rotting in landfills, so it’s really important that we only buy .”
But there’s more to home cooked meals than saving time, calories, and a few dollars — some studies suggest it can be good for us socially, too. Research suggests that when families eat together more often, they experience fewer behavioral problems and have higher levels of emotional well-being and life satisfactionFamily dinners, communication, and mental health in Canadian adolescents. Elgar, F.J., Craig, W. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2013 Apr; 52(4):433-8. One study even concluded that when families have three or more meals together each week, the children are 12 percent less likely to become overweight and the odds that they develop an eating disorder are lowered by more than a thirdIs frequency of shared family meals related to the nutritional health of children and adolescents? Hammons, A.J. &Fiese,B.H.FamilyResiliencyCenter,UniversityofIllinois,IL,USA.Pediatrics,2011Jun; 127(6):1565-74..
Dang is optimistic about the program’s ability to generate change. (And really, the battle against obesity needs all the help it can get.) While she isn’t suggesting that we completely abandon restaurants, is a great first step toward giving up a diet of fast food, bread baskets and buffets — and it’s a lot of fun, too. Nobody should go through life without experiencing the joy of making a delicious meal from scratch, and there’s never been a better time to .
Video: Where Do You Want To Eat? | Anwar Jibawi
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