Home cooking, as opposed to eating out, has generally been associated with better diet quality.
However, how you cook can greatly affect your family’s health. Are you protecting you and your family’s wellbeing with nutritious meals? Take this test to find out!
Think about your cooking habits, the cooking methods, as well as ingredients used in most of your meals. For each of the statement listed below, choose yes only if you do them for more than two times a week.
The higher your score, the healthier your cooking is! If you get a low or negative score, it’s time to reach out to MyDoc health coaches and learn how to improve the nutritional value of your cooking.
|As basic ingredients, I use only fresh, dry or frozen fruits or vegetables, grains, legumes, meat, fish and milk, salt, spices and unflavoured oils (extracted from olive, canola, peanut, corn, avocado, etc or a combination)||+1||0|
|For cooking, I use mainly low-fat methods such as baking, grill, boil, microwave, steam, slow cook||+1||0|
|Regarding the amount of fat or oil used for cooking, I don’t add any oil or fat in my cooking; OR I add a negligible amount of oil or fat; I measure fat or oil used with measuring spoons or other measures.||+1||0|
|Regarding salt or salty seasoning used: I measure the salt used in my cooking using a measuring spoon or other measures; OR I do not use or add salt or salty seasoning; OR I only add a negligible amount of salt or salty seasoning||+1||0|
|I only add in my cooking fresh or frozen (pure, unseasoned, or unsweetened) fruits or vegetables||+1||0|
|I use olive, canola or peanut oil||+1||0|
|I use garlic, onions, leeks, ginger or shallots in any form (frozen, fresh, powder)||+1||0|
|I use any fresh or dried herbs or spices. Not included salty seasoning mixes (ie, seasoned salt)||+1||0|
|I use fresh or concentrated orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime in any form (fruit, juice, or zest)||+1||0|
|I use brown rice, whole wheat flour or bread, quinoa, oats, corn, millet, farro, or other whole grains||+1||0|
|In my cooking, I use canned, jarred or packaged products that are seasoned or sweetened. (This does not include minimally processed foods such as tortillas, bread, cheese, sour cream, jarred garlic, unseasoned, unsalted, and unsweetened canned/jarred products.)||-1||0|
|I deep fry my food (any meal component is fully submerged in hot oil or grease)||-1||0|
|I use red meat such as beef, lamb, mutton, pork and veal||-1||0|
|The red meat is cooked by boiling, barbeque, grilling, broiling or pan sauté||−1||0|
|My red meat is cooked to well done (no pink in center) or dark browned if fried||-1||0|
|I add sugar, honey, agave, stevia, sweet sauce, or other sweeteners while cooking||-1||0|
|I use butter, ghee, chicken fat, lard, full-fat cheese, bacon fat, cream, or other animal fat||-1||0|
|I use any processed meat including luncheon meat, pepperoni, salami, sausage, l, bacon, or similar||-1||0|
|I prepare the vegetables with a creamy sauce including creamy dressing for salad, cheese sauce, or other white sauce.||-1||0|
How did you do? Is your cooking as healthy as you think it is?
It’s ok to not score top marks for the quiz. Here are some suggestions on how to get started to improve your cooking:
- Prefer fresh ingredients. follow these tips to help you prepare to food
- use measuring spoons to measure critical ingredients such as oil and salt
- make the focus of your meal on non-starchy vegetables and make it account for half of the meal. Vary your vegetables between green leafy vegetables and other vegetables and its colours.
- Serve fresh fruit as your only dessert or as a snack.
You don’t have to do this alone. If you want more personalised advice on improving your cooking or your health, reach out to our team of dietitians! We will be happy to provide you with additional support on healthy diets that suit you and your family’s healthcare needs.
Adapted from: Raber, Margaret et al. The Healthy Cooking Index: Nutrition Optimizing Home Food Preparation Practices across Multiple Data Collection Methods. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 120, Issue 7, 1119 – 1132
Archuleta M.; Vanleeuwen D.; Halderson K. et al. Cooking schools improve nutrient intake patterns of people with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012; 44: 319-325