It is no surprise that in our fast-paced, harried lives, the number of Americans eating out or getting take out is on the rise, which means less time eating at home.  But when we skip the drive-thru or take-out window, we control the ingredients and the portions and even save money.

“When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, lead author of a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

The study showed people who cooked at home also got more fiber, calcium, and iron. Preparing food at home could help with chronic disease prevention such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and gastrointestinal cancers. Two of the biggest obstacles - finding the time to make food at home and making tasty meals. It often comes down to simply becoming more aware of the benefits and prioritizing home cooked meals. We have five great tips on how to eat healthier at home.

 

  • Getty Images
    1

    Plan Ahead

    Planning ahead is crucial when it comes to no longer eating out. Thoroughly planning and shopping for your week's meals ahead of time saves time and stress and prevents disorganization.  Stay to the outer aisles of the supermarket where you will get the freshest, healthiest foods.

  • Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Kritchanut
    2

    Do a Cost Comparison

    Do a cost comparison of the money you would be spending without meal prep versus eating out. If you are trying to cut your budget, you will be amazed at how much you save.  For some added incentive, save that money for a special occasion, vacation or shopping spree!

  • Getty Images/iStockphoto/ marekuliasz
    3

    Learn to Love Leftovers

    Most people don’t have time to cook fresh meals every day of the week making fast food the most accessible option. By prepping meals and having leftovers, you will have easy dinenrs for an additional two to three days.

  • Getty Images/Tetra images RF
    4

    Choose Whole, Not Processed Foods

    Swap your frozen dinner or packaged meal with whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They are packed with essential nutrients like protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals as opposed to processed foods which contain empty calories. Skip the sugary drinks and opt for water with a splash of fruit.  Soda just adds calories and additives with no nutritional value.

  • Getty Images/ NWphotoguy
    5

    Make It Convenient

    Keep healthy food readily available. When you get hungry, you’re more likely to eat the first thing you see so keep healthy food in easily available places at your home and work Keep fruit in a bowl on the kitchen counter, store healthy snacks at eye level in your pantry and stock up your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables.