Should we return to the kitchen?*

How many meals per week are you eating away from home? Over the last few decades more and more people have been ordering takeaways as they become easier to access and more affordable. However research published by the John Hopkins School of Public Health has claimed that people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories. Thankfully (I think) for me I live in a very small town with few takeaways available meaning I’ve only caved to temptation perhaps twice in my life. Not going to lie though, I do feel like I’m missing out sometimes, especially when only a piping hot Dominos will do!

Join five-star kitchen splashbacks supplier The Plastic People as they explore just how popular eating out and ordering takeaways has become, as well as why we should consider putting the menus away and instead get back to cooking in our kitchens:

(Christopher Flowers)

Our love for takeaways
Digital takeaway specialists Just Eat previously shed light on how popular takeaways are for UK families when considering research commissioned to celebrate the launch of the 2015 British Takeaway Awards.
According to the study close to half of people aged under 35 years old will serve their families a takeaway meal for a get-together. Reasons for doing so included both parents having to work longer hours as well as trying to fit their children’s extra-curricular activities into the day.
The same piece of research also found that over 25% of survey respondents admit to passing off takeaway meals as their own food when inviting guests round. In this regard more than a half of those who admitted to doing this said that they simply didn’t have enough time to cook.
Just Eat’s Graham Corfield pointed out: “Modern lives are incredibly busy and often both parents work long hours. So increasingly people are looking for ways to be more effective with their time so that they can spend as much of the day as possible with their families and doing the things they love.”

A spotlight on Just Eat
Just Eat has marked it’s place as one of the main companies associated with the takeaway scene of the 21st century — with this particularly evident when looking at the firm’s 2016 full year results.
Founded in 2001, Just Eat completed last year with 17.6 million active customers — up 31% from the 13.4 million active customers in 2015 — who were connected to more than 68,500 restaurant partners. This huge group of customers also placed 136.4 million orders through Just Eat in 2016 which works out a 4.3 orders per second and is a considerable rise from the 96.2 million orders placed through the service in 2015.
The UK is Just Eat’s largest market, with the market for delivered takeaway food for this country expanding from £5.5 billion in 2015 to £6.1 billion last year and Just Eat finishing 2016 with 9.2 million active UK customers.

The case for home cooking
A study carried out by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has suggested that people should reconsider their eating habits going forward.
This is because after analysing data from the 2007/10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which involved over 9,000 participants aged 20 years old and over the researchers concluded that those who frequently cook meals at home eat more healthily and consume fewer calories than those who cook less. This conclusion was reached as…

48 per cent of participants cooked dinner between six and seven times a week and consumed 2,164 calories, 81 grams of fat and 119 grams of sugar on an average day.

Eight per cent of participants cooked dinner once or less a week and consumed 2,301 calories, 84 grams of fat and 135 grams of sugar on an average day.

Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and the study’s lead author pointed out: “When people cook most of their meals at home they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight.”
There was also a suggestion from the research that those who cooked at home six to seven nights a week also consumed fewer calories whenever they did decide to spend a night away from the kitchen and eating out instead.

Wolfson added: “The evidence shows people who cook at home eat a healthier diet. Moving forward it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of cooking at home, identify strategies that encourage and enable more cooking at home, and help everyone, regardless of how much they cook make healthier choices when eating out.”

Lucky for me both my boyfriend and I love to cook and find greater satisfaction in preparing something ourselves than order in, we’re also trying to save money so limit eating out to a couple of times a month no matter how great the temptation. I can see where the appeal lies though and personally I would like to see healthier takeaway options available (Pizza Hut for example don’t offer their delicious flat bread pizzas as a takeaway option) and better awareness/labelling of nutritional information to help people make informed choices.

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