The Downside to a Home-Cooked Meal

A family meal isn't healthy if you're burned out after preparing it.

mother cooking dinner with her baby Getty Images

A recent study published by PBS revealed that "home-cooking disproportionally burdens mothers." Gee, you think?

Personally, home-cooked meals are the bane of my existence. I work full time, I have three children, and my husband gets home about two hours after I do. That leaves the lion's share of the daily cooking to me. I've read all of the studies about the importance of the family dinner hour, the meaningfulness and health factors of the home-cooked meal, but I will tell you this—that "good for the family" cooking is a never-ending source of daily stress for me (and for many other women I've talked to).

Many women are given the primary responsibility of cooking the family meal. Plus, there's added pressure (and shame) in being told that our families will be dysfunctional if we don't cook Pinterest-worthy dinners daily, and we're given outrageous (and expensive) limitations on what counts as a healthy meal. No wonder contemporary cooking mothers are so crabby!

As one mom told me, "I was making green smoothies for my family and feeling all Super Mom about it until a nutritionist told me not to even bother unless all of the produce in them was organic, otherwise my green smoothies were essentially a toxic chemical sh*t storm. And I got so mad because, seriously, I can actually fail at green smoothies?! ... I was just done dealing with anxiety about food at that point."

Ultimately, I think this happens to many women. You try so hard to do it all right (gluten free, non-GMO, low sugar, etc.) but it all gets to be so stressful that you want to just give up and order a damn pizza! In my home, we have food allergies, one is a vegetarian, one likes red meat, and one periodically entices his siblings to join him in a chicken strike. It's enough to make this mommy/psychologist rather crazy.

So what can we do to make the dinner hour happy and not so harried? Find out on Cooking Family Meals Is Harmful To Mom's Health (Says Science)

By Dr. Lisa Kaplin

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