Why it Pays to Cook at Home More Often (and the Easy Tool to Make it a Habit)

Dining out may be easier than whipping up a meal at home, but new research shows exactly how costly it can be for your waistline.

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When choosing between going out for a nice meal or whipping up something at home, many will go with the first option. Let's face it, for some the idea of making a home-cooked meal is just too daunting of a task, what with all the time that goes into prepping food and trying to master certain cooking techniques. Thing is, new research shows that dining out can be just as costly for our waistlines as it is for our wallets.

A new study published in Public Health Nutrition found that those who cooked dinner at home six to seven times a week consume nearly 140 fewer calories per day than those who made dinner just once a week or not at all.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at data collected from more than 9,000 participants between 2007 and 2010 through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a program that evaluates the dietary intake and overall health of a large sample of individuals each year.

Not only did those who cooked their meals on a regular basis eat less calories, they also consumed 5 less grams of fat and 16 fewer grams of sugar than people who didn't cook regularly. Plus, they were less likely to cook frozen foods or eat fast food when dining out.

If you're like the 8% of adults in the study who cook once per week at most, don't get discouraged. Our sister site, Cooking Light, has a genius diet designed to make eating at home easy and fun.

For $3.75 a week you can get a customized healthy meal plan based on what you like to eat, including emails with breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner suggestions for the following week. Check out the Cooking Light Diet to learn more about the program.

In the meantime, it won't hurt to break out the apron and try these 15-minute meals that make throwing together food at home no problem.

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