Too Busy To Cook? Here’s Why You Should Make Time and A Link That Will Help.

One More Reason A Brown Bag Lunch
and Home Cooked Meal Is Better For You

You probably don’t need to hear one more reason why you should spend less time in the fast-food drive up lane and more time in the kitchen.  But, the results of a recent study may inspire you to get out of the drive-through and focus on creating meals at home that your family will love.

Flickr photo by Sam Howzit

New Research. Old News.

The University of Chicago conducted a survey where, on two separate occasions, 9,000 teens were asked to recall everything they had eaten within the last 24 hours.  The same information was collected on younger children by asking their parents to supply the data.

Out of the 9,000, the number of youth and teens that had eaten take-out from a fast-food restaurant during that 24 hour period was between 24 and 42 percent.  Seven to 18 percent had eaten at a full-service restaurant.

The researchers calculated that the teens consumed an extra 310 calories on days they had fast-food or take-out.  The days they ate at a full-service restaurant wasn’t much better.  On those days they consumed an extra 267 calories.  The younger participants consumed an additional 126 to 160 calories, on average.

Dr. Jason Block, an obesity and nutrition researcher from Harvard Medical School said that, while most of us realize that fast-food chains serve food that is high in fat, sodium and sugar, “full-service restaurant meals are high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium as well and that should be a focus of people’s interest, not just fast food.”

Dr. Block added that, “If you’re going to eat a fast-food or full-service meal, there needs to be a conscious effort to compensate throughout the day.” In other words, you need to increase your physical activity to burn off the extra calories!

The real answer lies in resolving to prepare most meals at home and it is a decision that can have dramatic impact on you and your family’s health.  Making a trip to the grocery store each week with a list of items to buy and recipes to prepare may take a couple of hours each week, but the pay off is worth it in terms of your waistline and the health risks associated with being overweight or obese.

Meal Planning Made Simple

For people with hectic schedules finding a couple of hours a week to find recipes, plan meals, and make a grocery list can be a daunting task.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Meals will streamline these tasks for you so that planning and preparing healthy meals for your family can be simple, nutritious and delicious.

You will find thousands of recipes and meal plans at

Meals is maintained by the Dairy Council of California and funded by California’s dairy producers and processors. Registered dietitians write nutrition articles, and develop the online tools that provide users with meal planning and calendars, pantry creation, recipes, and shopping lists.

Meals Matter. org will create a shopping list for you.

The site has thousands of recipes, and a special kid-friendly section with recipes so easy that children can learn to prepare them.  The kid-friendly Banana-Cinnamon French Toast Recipe takes about 15 minutes to make.  You can spend more time than that waiting on an egg McMuffin!

The french toast recipe calls for six basic ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen now:  a banana, eggs, milk, cinnamon, whole wheat bread, and butter.  Meals provides nutritional information for recipes, allows you to create your own cookbook, and even add your own recipes to the site.

Recipes your kids will love and can learn to make on their own.

This would be a good site for the person in the household that is planning meals for the family.  There is no charge to use the tools and resources.

Start Today

We know that eating out on a regular basis is bad for our waistline and our budget.  With a little help from Meals or one of the other on-line meal planning services you can get out of that rut in a hurry.

Do you have a meal planning trick that you use to keep you family out of the fast-food lane?  We would love to hear about more options. Please share in the comment section below.

For ideas on brown bag lunches check out  You Deserve More Than A Soggy Lean Cuisine For Lunch.

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