The Benefits of Home-Cooked Meals

The average restaurant dish contains 60 percent more calories than a homemade meal. If that isn’t shocking enough, a meal typically costs between $9 and $25 per person, which can add up to more than $200 in one week for an average family.

Saving money and calories are just a few of the many benefits of choosing home cooking over dining out or shopping for convenience foods.

Improves Family Dynamics

  • Initiates Conversation: Everyone in the family, including mom and dad, could use a break from screen time throughout the day. Cooking at home provides a chance to have face-to-face conversations during mealtime. When dining out, the distracting environment and fast-paced experience can deter from meaningful interaction.
  • Learning Opportunity: For toddlers, cooking at home is a chance to explore their senses from smell to touch. Dinnertime becomes an opportunity to practice life skills, build healthy eating habits and practice good food safety.

Encourages Healthier Habits

  • Healthier Portions: When dining out, servings are normally two to four times larger than what is recommended. At home, healthy portions can be guaranteed based on accessibility to nutrition labels and the power to control the size of each serving.
  • Healthier Prep: Cooking meals at home diminishes the temptation of indulging in fried options and doesn’t involve the excess sugar, sodium and fats that are used to enhance the flavor of restaurant foods.

Supports Healthier Futures

  • Better Grades: A Columbia University study found that adolescents who enjoy between five and seven family dinners per week were twice as likely to see mostly A’s and B’s on a grade report at school, compared to those teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week.
  • Improves Mental Health: Using meal time to facilitate conversations and bond as a family has a significant impact on children. Time Magazine reports that teens who eat with their family at home often show fewer signs of depression and feel more supported than those who do not.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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