It’s no secret that technology has had a huge impact on food over the past 10 years. From stunning recipe photos shared on social sites, to the wildly popular recipe videos on Buzz Feed’s Tasty, consumers are finding new ways to inspire them to eat at home.
This movement back to the kitchen and oversharing what you eat on social media, may have a positive impact on your health, wallet and the environment. A new study conducted at Oregon State University on 400 Seattle-area adults, who were surveyed regarding a week’s worth of cooking and eating behaviors, found that households that cooked at home three times per week had healthier diets overall. Interestingly, sharing may do more than just increase your followers. Another study published just this week analyzed how Instagram users turn to posting photos of the food they eat to track intake and meet weight loss goals. Through interviews with the study participants, it was revealed that social and emotional support from other Instagram users helped the participants stick to their healthy eating goals. Researchers also found the social site to be more beneficial than other online food journals, such as MyFitnessPal.
This all sounds easy, but we all know that cooking and shopping takes time. Throw in work schedules, commuting, school activities and it always seems easier to just order takeout. That’s why planning ahead is crucial when you’re thinking about meals for the week. Thankfully, for all the tech-loving recipe hunters that also want to be healthy, there are several tools out there to help.
The first is Pepper Plate. This free app helps you save and organize recipes across different websites and use them to plan weekly menus, and then create shopping lists based on those menus. Another app that has gained in popularity, is Paprika ($4.99 on iTunes). I will admit this one was more intimidating to get used to at first, simply because it does so much. I found that saving recipes online worked best on my computer, but this app is rated high among home cooks. Don’t expect to download and get started right away – there is a learning curve to both.
Finally, this week my family will be trying out a platform that I just joined called, The Fresh 20. This is a paid subscription service where you get weekly meal plans that revolve around 20 fresh ingredients. There is an active Facebook community that shares photos and tips of each of the weekly recipes. I like that my shopping list will be pre-planned for me, and the idea that I will be minimizing waste by focusing on key ingredients each week. While technology is here to help, nothing beats grandma’s recipe drawer and some families choose to keep it simple by using the same meal themes for each night of the week. Taco Tuesday anyone? What tactics do you employ to help you eat at home (healthfully)?