Cooking Healthy Meals at Home: Everybody’s Doing It?

While it sometimes feels like time and money can be barriers to cooking at home, a new study contains some surprising findings about how often families are cooking meals at home – and what some of their challenges are. Think you can relate?

Even though we are bombarded with advertisements for processed foods and fast foods, the study found that 78% of families are cooking most of their meals at home and two-thirds of families are eating together most or every day of the week. In addition, families make dinner from scratch an average of four times per week!

That’s good news since we know that foods prepared at home tend to be lower in added sugar, fat, and salt than those we buy away from home.  Experts agree that it is also usually less expensive to prepare meals at home than to order take-out or even go through the drive-thru.

One way to make cooking at home easier: buy canned or frozen vegetables! Most families underrated (by a lot!) the nutritional value of frozen or canned fruits and vegetables Did you know that produce that is canned or frozen is often picked at its peak and freezing/canning preserves the nutritional value of the foods while extending its shelf life? Canned and frozen produce also tends to be less expensive than their fresh counterparts.

So give it a try! If you’re like many Americans, you want to cook healthy meals at home for your family, but may find that some nights conflicting schedules or lack of time stand in your way. Try picking up canned or frozen produce so that it’s available to use whenever you have time to cook and won’t spoil in your fruit basket or veggie crisper.

Tips for cooking with canned/frozen veggies:

  1. When shopping for canned vegetables, watch out for the salt! Aim to buy cans that say ‘No Salt Added’ and then season your veggies at home.
  2. If you can’t find ‘No Salt Added’ cans, you can wash your veggies in a colander under running water to remove most of the salt.
  3. When buying canned fruits, skip the ones that are packed in syrup to avoid added sugars.
  4. Avoid buying frozen vegetables with pre-made sauces, which can add fats and salt to your otherwise healthy purchase.

You can get started with Spinach and Corn Casserole or Speedy Beef Stir Fry from Healthy Family Fun. Tell us about your frozen or canned produce tricks in the comments below!

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