Perceived Motivators to Home Food Preparation: Focus Group Findings


      Family meals are positively associated with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and numerous nutrients, promoting good eating habits and disease prevention. Families benefiting from home-cooked meals are more likely to consume smaller portions and fewer calories, less fat, less salt, and less sugar. Some Western cultures have lost confidence in preparing meals and tend to rely on foods prepared outside the home. The ability of young adults to prepare foods at home may be impaired. The purpose of our study is to identify motivators and, consequently, barriers to preparing foods at home vs purchasing preprepared foods from a deli or eating in a restaurant. Focus groups of college students (n=239) from two universities were asked questions about motivators to preparing meals at home in two subsequent sessions. The primary motivators among the students were that they desired to save money; had a model in food preparation; were familiar with cooking techniques; and had enough time to shop, cook, and clean up after meals. Food and nutrition practitioners have opportunities to promote cost-effective, simple, and time-saving home food preparation techniques as healthful habits.


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      S. A. Jones is an associate professor of nutrition and director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.


      J. T. Phifer is a student, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.


      J. Walter is a professor of family and consumer sciences, Baylor University, Waco, TX.


      L. Soliah is a clinical nutrition professor, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; at the time of the study, she was a professor and director, Nutrition Sciences Program, Baylor University, Waco, TX.