Takeaway meals are now becoming normal for families

As we pick over the last of the turkey, the notion of healthy diet seems farther away than ever, but a study indicates that lazy lifestyles mean we are now eating takeaway or ready meals at least three times a week - and the pattern is getting worse.

A survey of 900 adults also found that two-thirds of us fail to meet our five-a-day target when it comes to fruit and vegetables and that reasons such as “lack of time” are given for not engaging with a healthier lifestyle.

It also indicates that families are now less likely to gather around the table for a family meal as we turn into a fast-food nation.

The survey was carried out among 901 adults in Ireland from August to October of this year and found that one in five respondents have ready meals or processed food for their main meal at least three times per week. When fast food is also included, this figure increases to one in three people.

The survey, which was carried out by The Wholefood Revolution, an Irish recipe box service provider, found that 91% of respondents want to have a healthier diet, but almost one in four admitted that they have their main meal at the dinner table less than twice a week.

Of those questioned, 48% said time was the biggest obstacle to cooking from scratch, following by 25% who said a lack of planning was the main issue, while the effort of shopping and sourcing ingredients was cited by 22% of respondents.

The survey also showed a strong correlation between cooking from scratch and reaching the five-a-day target of fruit and vegetables.

Two-thirds of those surveyed did not reach the target, but those who ate the least amount of processed foods were four times more likely to succeed in reaching it.

David Wallace, founder of thewholefoodrevolution.ie, said: “Many of the processed food that we eat are bulked up with cheap ingredients that are void of nutrients and packed full of sugar or salt and highly processed ingredients. These foods are not good for us. In fact, they are very bad for us.”

Recommending the use of wholefoods and cooking from scratch, he said the five-a-day target should be a baseline, not the maximum.

Yet data from another website, justeat.ie, shows that New Year’s Day is set to be the most popular day of the whole year for ordering in food.

New figures from Just Eat based on orders placed in 2016 showed a huge rise in orders for new cuisines.

So while Chinese, Indian, American, and Thai orders still proliferate, orders for Malaysian cuisine soared by 3,000%, while demand for Korean cuisine rose by 900%. There was also growth in demand for Nepalese and Vietnamese food, widely seen as healthier options.

Just Eat anticipates a 30% increase in orders this New Year’s Day compared with January 1 last. The data also shows that orders peak between 7pm and 8pm.


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