We all know that it's easier to eat healthfully at home than it is out at a restaurant, but why? Is it just because we know what's in the food or because there aren't so many tantalizing options staring back at us on a menu? Surprisingly, researchers have found that it has more to do with our emotions than anything else.
Published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tracked 160 women's emotional states before and after meals. They found that — like the saying goes —home is where the heart is, meaning that people tend to feel happier and more content at home, prepare healthier meals when they feel this way, and feel more emotionally rewarded and satisfied after eating a healthy meal at home. Researchers believe it's the feel-good emotion that really prompts people to eat healthier at home.
While more research is needed on more women — particularly those who are obese — the study authors suggest that businesses and restaurants could encourage healthier eating by adding a more comfortable home design and other atmospheric cues like music and kitchen equipment.
Want to start eating more at home? Try some of SHAPE's healthy recipes!