Time Might Be ‘Essential Ingredient’ in Healthier Eating, Study Finds
(Fox News) People who spend more time preparing and cooking meals are more likely to have healthier diets, says a new study.
Those who spent the least time on food preparation also spent the most money on food away from home and were more likely to eat at fast food restaurants, the authors found.
“We’ve known for a long time that cooking and being able to prepare your own food is associated with eating a healthier diet and it sort of just make sense, but there actually isn’t much research in the area” Pablo Monsivais told Reuters Health.
Monsivais, from the Center for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge in the UK, led the new study.
His team used survey information from 1,319 participants in the Seattle Obesity Study, conducted from 2008 to 2009. All were the main food providers in their households. They were asked about cooking habits, eating habits, food spending and restaurant use.
“One of the measurements that we had was the amount of time that people spend on food preparation – cooking and cleaning – the things that go into making a meal,” Monsivais said.
Participants were asked how much time they spent on food preparation each day: less than an hour, one to two hours, or more than two hours.
Participants who spent the most time in the kitchen tended to be white, younger married women. They also had larger families and more household income, but were less likely to be employed, the authors reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
People who spent the most time cooking meals consumed at least eight servings of fruit and 13 servings of vegetables per week, the authors found. Those who spent the least amount of time preparing meals ate on average six servings of fruit and just under 11 servings of vegetables per week.
When it came to weekly food spending, those who spent the most time cooking spent about $7 less for each family member each week.
The study team also found that people who spent less than an hour per day cooking were almost twice as likely to visit fast food restaurants every week compared to those who spent the most time cooking.