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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Home Cookin’


More fast food establishments and sit down restaurants are serving healthier fare these days. But a newly published study from the University of Minnesota found that home cookin’ still means healthier cookin’. The researchers surveyed over 1,700 18- to 23-year-olds and discovered that those who shopped for and prepared food themselves (vs. dining out) had the healthiest diets.

The study’s results boil down (no pun intended) to a little good news, and some not so good news. The goods news is that frequent shoppers/cookers were less likely to eat fast food and more likely to meet the recommended intake of calcium, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fat.

The bad news is, few people in this age group are frequent shoppers/cookers. Only 21 percent of the men and 36 percent of the women bought fresh veggies every week. And just 13% of the men wrote out a grocery list at least once a week, compared to 23% of the women. And there was a second helping of bad news. Only one third of the shopper/cooker group ate at least five servings of fruits or veggies daily. Not so great, but still much better than the tiny 3% of those who don’t shop for and prepare their own meals.

For me, the take away message is this: shopping for and preparing your own meals leads to healthier eating. So regardless of who you are (18-23, or older), taking the time to make a list, get to the market, stock your kitchen, and prepare some quick and healthy meals puts you in the driver’s seat. If you’re game but need a little help, click here for some great tips on shopping, menu planning, and healthy cooking.

photo Courtesy of National Cancer Institute
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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