Myth: Home Cooked Healthy Meals are More Expensive

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Cooking at home is cheaper and healthier.  

Food Meal Prep

Food Meal Prep

We have all heard the myth that eating at home is more expensive.  Food that is good for you is more expensive is what I have always heard, and I guess that is true if all you eat is frozen 99 cent pizzas.  That cheap frozen dinner garbage will kill you fast.  The comparison is complex when you compare single servings of frozen food to fresh, but when including saved left-overs, you quickly see the benefit of cooking meals and this is even greater when compared to eating at restaurants.

The fact is that it is not more expensive to eat healthy at home and now this fact is research proven. A study that confirmed this is the Seattle Obesity Study which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in January of 2017[1].  The data revealed that patients who ate more at home not only spend less money but scored a higher Healthy Eating Index score.  This data score looks at the right mix of the different food groups.  The study also found that the group that ate out more also spent over $100 more per month on meals.  Since the late 1970s, the US populace has increasingly eaten more and more of their food outside the home, and this likely plays an essential part in our increasing obesity.   

The Bottom Line:  People who cook at home more often not only tend to make healthier dietary choices but also usually have lower food expenses.  The fact is as long you make right decisions and buy produce that is in season, you can cook a healthy meal at a decent price.  Lack of time in busy lives often prevents people from preparing meals at home even though we know they are more nutritious. I recommend that you plan ahead and prep meals for your week on the weekend or any day that you have downtime.  

Footnotes
[1]Tiwari et al., “Cooking at Home: A Strategy to Comply With U.S. Dietary Guidelines at No Extra Cost.”
Tiwari, Arpita, Anju Aggarwal, Wesley Tang, and Adam Drewnowski. “Cooking at Home: A Strategy to Comply With U.S. Dietary Guidelines at No Extra Cost.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Elsevier BV, February 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.017
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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