Cooking at home for weight loss
One simple and highly effective trick can help you lose weight that you probably haven’t tried….
Stop having so meals out and try cooking at home more often! This doesn’t mean you need to stop socialising altogether; it just means you should consider how often you opt for takeaway, order Uber eats, or get your work lunch from a cafe.
When food is cooked in a restaurant, the priority is usually to make the food taste good so that happy customers come back more often… the focus sometimes is not to look out for your best health! Often, salt and fat (oil and butter) are overused to make food taste more palatable and far exceed what you would use at home. Not only this, but restaurant sizes are much bigger than you would serve yourself at home and often add fried sides such as chips or wedges. This adds excess calories and can blow out your calorie budget for the day in just one big meal.
People who eat out at restaurants and get takeaway more often have been shown to eat more calories, eat more saturated fat (the bad type) and salt, and have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. A 2015 study showed adults who ate six to seven meals at home per week consumed an average of 170 fewer calories per day, 5 fewer grams of fat and 16 fewer grams of sugar compared to those who cooked dinner at home only once a week.
If you opt to cook more meals at home, you have much more control over what actually goes in your food, including the quality of ingredients and how much salt and fat you add. Those who cook at home more frequently are more likely to meet their required serves of vegetables, protein and other necessary food groups. If you want to check out what your recommended food servings are per day, have a look at the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating guides:
How to prep healthy meals at home:
- Put your food on a plate before serving.
- Aim to fill up half of your plate with vegetables or salads, 1/4 with lean protein, and 1/4 with a low GI, wholegrain carbohydrates.
- Make sure you stick to the recommended portion size of the recipe, and if needed, you can save a portion for the next day.
- Make use of your oven, slow cooker, or other appliances such as a Thermomix that save you time and mean you can do other tasks while cooking.
- Use non-stick pans to reduce the need for oil and butter. Aim to use as little as possible when cooking.
- Try to minimise salt use and maximise taste by adding flavours such as pepper, herbs and spices.
If you need some kitchen inspiration, head to the recipe and meal plan section on the Tony Ferguson website to see what healthy and delicious meals you can create yourself!
Accredited Practising Dietitian
Public Health Nutrition: 17(11), 2445–2452 doi:10.1017/S1368980014001153. The impact of restaurant consumption among US adults: effects on energy and nutrient intakes