Monday, 6 February 2012

Why Home Cooked Meals Might Ruin Your Diet

These days it’s hard to avoid the numerous foodie programs on television. From celebrity chefs trying to show how easy it is to whip up gourmet delights in our kitchens, to shows like 'Come Dine with Me' with the focus on cooking at home for friends.

While cooking meals from scratch is often recommended as the healthiest way of preparing our food, according to a study by Weight Watchers, home-cooked meals are more likely to ruin our dieting efforts, lead to weight gain or both.


YouGov surveyed more than 2,000 Britons and found that 65 percent intended to eat more often at home. Reasons included cutting calories (24%), to save cash (54%) with just under a quarter wanting to be healthier. Of those that do dine at home, 95 percent carry on eating until they’ve finished everything on their plate, despite being full up.

Continuing to eat despite feeling full is sometimes due to childhood experiences where a plate had to be cleared before leaving the table. Eventually, this becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Likewise, understanding portion sizes leaves many of us in the dark. Of those surveyed, 57 percent believed they were serving the correct portion sizes. However, only 14 percent were right.

And if you've gone to all the trouble of cooking the meal, you certainly don’t want to waste any of it.

Much of the blame for the rise in obesity has been attributed to eating unhealthy takeaway food, but Weight Watchers suggests education needs to begin closer to home.

Do any of these problems sound familiar? If so, perhaps some of the following suggestions can help.

Waste Not, Want Not 

If you’ve been slaving over a hot stove for hours, of course your meal shouldn’t go to waste. If you’ve cooked too much, serve up the right portion size for everyone, then freeze whatever’s left over. You’ll have to let it cool down before popping it in the freezer, so do your best to avoid going back for seconds.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction? 

If you don’t feel satisfied after a meal unless you’re stuffed, try serving up smaller portions of the main part, especially any rich sauces, but add lots more vegetables (not potatoes!). You’ll still feel full at the end of your meal but shouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight. Eating more slowly, chewing your food more and drinking water with your meal can all help you feel fuller.

How Much is Too Much? 

If you’re not sure whether you’re serving up the right portion sizes, have a read through the following articles which should help give you a clearer picture of how much food we should be eating.

  • How Much is a Food Serving Size - Read Post 
  • Serving and Portion Sizes and How Read Nutrition Labels - Read Post  
  • Tips for controlling portion sizes - Read Post  
  • Portion Pots to control Portion Sizes - Read Post 
  • Smart Nutrition Digital Scales ensure you get your portions right - Read Post

© Diets and Calories 2012

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