The obesity epidemic in this country has been blamed in large part on the fast food industry. The common refrain we often hear is that it’s cheaper to feed a family of four with big macs and frosties than a wholesome home cooked meal with veggies. A recent story in the New York Times illustrated how this is not true and it is possible to make a wholesome meal for significantly less money than it costs to buy at McDonalds.
Often times, people associate healthy cooking with grass fed, organic Whole Foods (and whole paycheck) groceries. Just as in a previous post discussing the merits of a little bit of exercise, foods that are at least a little bit of healthy is better than unhealthy. Sure frozen veggies may have slightly less vitamins and be a little worse for the planet than fresh local farmers market veggies but they are certainly much better for you than processed, special sauced “you want fries with that?” cuisine.
So why have we been increasing our fast food consumption and our waist size as a country? Fast food is so packed full of calories, fat and sugar that it produces an effect in our brains not that different from using a drug. When we get such rich food from an early age, which is when most people start eating fast food, a healthy, balanced meal often feels not quite as tasty nor as filling. Fast food is so easily available that cooking may feel like a burden after a long day of working. For fast food customers, its worth the extra few dollars to have an easy, tasty meal.
While the issues regarding the obesity epidemic are more complex than I’ve talked about here, I agreed with the solution that was proposed by the article. We, as a country, need to get back in the kitchen. Not just one member of the family, but everyone. Developing culinary skills from an early age allows kids to be comfortable with cooking and willing help out. There are also healthy, quick recipes abound which could save time over a detour to a long line at a drive through window. Cooking is a practice that one should do daily. If the family unit comes together to nourish one another, that can lead to a healthy family, body and soul.
Do you have any tips on cooking with your family? How about any easy healthy recipes?
Dr. Bruce Feinberg