What food does not need time to cook

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Why is it so difficult to eat healthily? Preparing not only tasty, but also well-balanced meals takes time. That is why many people grab ready meals, go to restaurants or use the canteen.

From: Uli Hesse

Status: 23/11/2017

Many Germans would like to cook for themselves, but don't get around to it. So-called "convenience food" - already prepared or pre-cooked food - should help to save time. Canned vegetables or freezers should also make our lives easier. However, we have no influence on the composition. The same goes for restaurant and canteen meals.

Three quarters of Germans say they like to cook. However, most of them hardly make it: only 40 percent say that they cook every day, 37 percent say they stand on the stove or oven two to three times a week. Many families make do with fast food and ready meals to make everyday life easier. As a result, fewer children learn to cook.

"In the past, grandma bought the ingredients for the pancake batter and mixed it herself. Today the pancake is ready in the refrigerated shelf of the supermarket and the children are already looking forward to being able to spread jam or applesauce on it."

Prof. Dr. Julia Mayerle

Breaded schnitzel with french fries, pasta in cream sauce or pizza with four different types of cheese are so delicious because the fat serves as a flavor carrier. Menus are based on the wishes of the guests: What is ordered is what tastes good and not the lean and therefore healthier dishes. According to the Nutrition Report 2019, almost three quarters of those surveyed eat at least once a month in the restaurant and one fifth eat at least once a week in the canteen.

"In the meantime, children are often looked after and cooked all day in kindergarten or school. And the fact that this food does not always meet the requirements of the German Society for Nutritional Medicine is - I think - not unexpected."

Prof. Dr. Julia Mayerle

Healthy nutrition is increasingly being paid attention to in everyday life. Parents are now questioning what their children get for lunch in kindergarten or school and are replacing ready-made meals from the supermarket with meals they cooked together.

Canned food and frozen vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually better than canned food, as the preservation leads to a reduction in vitamins and nutritional supplements. However, frozen vegetables can contain more nutrients than vegetables that have been freshly harvested but then stored for a long time. A bigger problem with finished products, however, is the added amounts of flavor enhancers such as sugar and fat. Therefore, many canned foods hide more calories than fresh products.

Organic products are not a must

Who can afford organic - good. But for many it is a question of cost. Relatively strict food regulations limit pollutants in all foods, which is why you can eat healthily even without "organic". Because healthy nutrition depends above all on the interaction of the food and not on whether the egg comes from an outdoor farm or from a battery. Animal welfare is certainly better for the animal. But whether meat or eggs from inappropriate husbandry are actually harmful to humans has not yet been proven.

Less and less money for nutrition

For decades, Germans have been spending less and less money on food: in 1960 it was 38 percent of monthly income. Today it is a little over ten percent. On the other hand, the costs for living and mobility have risen.

"That is why we could actually afford to spend more on food, across all walks of life. This is also important because health depends so much on nutrition."

Prof. Dr. Julia Mayerle