In our culture, dinner is clearly the main meal of the day. But cooking dinner from scratch and sitting down as a family to enjoy eating together is no longer common place. When both parents have jobs or single parents work and run a household all by themselves, there is just not enough time left to spend an hour or so in the kitchen every night. Stopping at a fast food place or pizza parlor on the way home or heating a frozen dinner in the microwave are often the preferred solutions. Convenience and efficiency are among the most important factors for food choices today.
Having a Nutritious, Balanced Meal at Night
Is Important for Many Health Reasons
While preparing dinner is considered a bothersome chore by a lot of people, some find it relaxing and welcome the opportunity to get a bit creative. Others love to entertain, and being able to put a great tasting meal together gives them a sense of pleasure and pride. I count myself among those.
Having decent cooking skills is also a great asset when it comes to nutritional health. It is not at all true that hobby chefs (or professional ones) are more likely to become obese than folks who don’t cook. To the contrary. Being around food does not automatically lead to overeating. If anything, it makes us appreciate the value of food more deeply than if someone else does all the work.
That sense of appreciation begins at the grocery store or the farmers’ market. Touching, smelling and sampling fresh produce items always gives me great pleasure and makes me grateful for being able to feed my body the rich nutrients it needs.
There is also the social aspect of eating together. Whether we feed our loved ones a beautifully home-cooked meal, go out for a family event or a romantic rendezvous, sharing food brings us closer to each other and adds value to our lives.
Of course, there are always times when ordering pizza or Chinese take-out makes perfect sense. TV dinners also have their place, especially when we watch a show or a game together with family and friends. But it should not become a lifestyle.
Dinner at home
What most people consider a nice home-cooked meal is often heavily influenced by the food choices they grew up with. Childhood memories of mom’s or granny’s special recipes can linger for a lifetime, and not just because the food was so great. We may also remember and cherish the comfort of being cared for and even a little spoiled from time to time, especially on holidays.
The typical American dinner is largely centered on meat. Beef and pork are favorites, and so are chicken and turkey. Serving pasta dishes for dinner has also become acceptable.
Unfortunately, portion sizes have increased substantially over time, which contributes to our widespread weight problems. Heavy cooking techniques factor in as well. When too much oil and fat is being used in the cooking process, extra calories add up quickly. It doesn’t have to be this way.TV dinner
We all know the feeling: You’ve been running around all day trying to meet tight deadlines and putting as many fires out as you could. Still, there are always more loose ends to tie up, and by the time you’re on your way home, you cannot possibly think of preparing something fancy for dinner. But you are also ravenous, plus there are probably some other hungry mouths to feed at home, waiting impatiently for your return.
So, you pull over at the supermarket, go straight to the deli and there it is: A perfectly browned chicken, just out of the rotisserie. Goes perfectly well with a few scoops of that creamy potato salad. Or, perhaps you go for something “lighter,” like a chicken strip salad. Sounds good, but it may not be as light as you think, especially with the dressing on it. How about some delicious finger food? Quesadilla is usually a hit with the kids. All that cheese is heavy, tough. Maybe Chinese food tickles your fancy. Pork or seafood? Which one do you think is healthier? Both go well with rice. Rice is always healthy, right? Well it depends.