Should we expect #workingparents to cook for their families, or is it OK for them to resort to takeaways?
You get up at 6.30am and face a crowded train to work. At the office you’re overwhelmed. You get back home at 7.30pm and aren’t greeted with open arms, but glowering kids complaining about being hungry.
Is it OK for you to get a takeaway or should you cook something from scratch?
It’s a harsh truth, but home cooked meals are essential if you want your kids to have the best chance of being healthy. You see, the home is one of the few places you can influence their attitude to food and #nutrition.
According to a 2012 report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), in one deprived London borough, 50% of kids went to fast food places twice or more a week. Why? Because it’s tasty, their friends eat it and takeaway places are close to schools.
As the study says:
“Children ate three times more food from restaurant and fast food outlets now as compared with 30 years ago. This may be due to the relatively cheap, accessible fast food, food advertising and with both parents working so less time to cook for family.”
Across the pond, a 2013 paper from the University of North Carolina says that ‘children’s consumption of fast food is only a small part of a much more pervasive dietary pattern that is fostered at an early age by children’s parents and caregivers‘.
Nobody likes cooking when they’re tired. But the truth is that home-cooked meals are as important, if not more, as bedtime stories.
Just as reading to your children prepares them for a life of literacy, so cooking at home helps them understand the importance of a good diet and teaches them essential life skills.
(As an adult, I understand it’s better for my wallet and my palate to buy a chicken than a chicken bucket. The former starts as a roast, and then turns into a stir-fry, a sandwich and a soup. The latter just ends up as a greasy hat.)
I know it’s a pain, but, as a former child, I promise you it’s worth it. I have fond memories of having Chinese takeaway as a treat with my parents, but I’ve got stronger ones about watching my mother come home after work and cook dinner, because her desire for me to eat well trumped her tiredness.