Cooking up new eating plans

The American population consumes nearly 150-170 pounds of sugar per year, according to The United States Department of Agriculture. Jamie Oliver on Ted Talk discussed how Americans have resorted to eating out or eating fast food, which has resulted in children’s lack of knowledge about cooking and eating healthy.

Since Americans have continued to stray away from cooking, it has caused an increased consumption of fats and sugars. However, for many, sharing a meal with the family is the most important part of the day and whether that be at home, or at a restaurant, there are still healthy options.

Eating home-cooked meals is not always an easy task, and many don’t want to take the time to prepare a meal. People have busy schedules and busy lives. This situation applies to many families in this community. The Hedricks, a family of five, eat out often during the week, which tends to work the best for them.

“Cooking a meal at home is expensive, and we hardly have time. I coach, teach and have a family that is just as busy as I am. It’s faster to pick up food and bring it home and often, since I don’t have to spend the time cooking, we all get to sit down and eat together as a family,” Arrowhead Elementary teacher and Olentangy Orange High School Head Gymnastics Coach Jen Hedrick said.

For others, cooking at home is strongly valued and said to be worth the time. The Timmons, a family of four, work hard to make it happen at least six nights a week. Just like the Hedricks, they find it very important to eat together as a family.

“My husband and I both teach, so we spend the majority of our time with other people's kids. That means my kids spend the majority of their day with other adults. I want to connect with my family, and what better way than to do it sharing a meal,” science teacher Jessica Timmons said.

Many have a common belief that eating out is unhealthy and yes, the amount of sugars consumed comes partially from eating out. However, there are still many foods at restaurants that can be just as healthy as eating a home cooked meal.

“I feel like there are healthy options at most places if you choose to eat them. Sit down places have a variety of salads and other foods on the menu that are healthy. When we eat out, we tend to go to Subway or Panera, which both have many different healthy options,” Hedrick said.

Cooking at home isn’t always healthy, although, there are certain ingredients that can be incorporated into meals that are very beneficial to one’s health.

“I always try to use fresh and organic vegetables. I make sheet pan bakes a lot as well because I can use a variety of different veggies with a meat (chicken breasts, eggs, or even brats/sausage). Garlic and olive oil are staples in the meals I cook,” Timmons said.

Timmons is already teaching her children how to cook. She hopes to pass the value of cooking down to her children and to future generations.

“My 8-year-old got a kid's cookbook for Christmas one year, and she loves to help out. My daughter, Juliette, makes cookies, chili and stir-fry with us quite often. Kids love to learn, and they really enjoy helping out, showing you how independent they can be,” Timmons said.

Everyone has a different lifestyle so whether it be eating out or eating a home cooked meal with the family, there are always options that can help one stay healthy.

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