Are home cooked meals better than eating out? (Part 1)


Around 37 percent of people in the US eat fast food at least once a day. In today’s fast-paced world the convenience of fast food and restaurants often competes with the benefits of home-cooked meals. While quickly grabbing a bite to eat from a fast-food place or ordering a takeout might save time, the advantages of preparing meals at home are substantial and supported by many studies.

Home-cooked meals generally offer superior nutritional quality compared to fast food. When cooking at home you have complete control over the ingredients and cooking methods, allowing for healthier choices. One study found that individuals who frequently cook meals at home consume fewer calories, sugar, and fat than those who eat out regularly. In addition, in home-cooked meals you know what you are putting into them and can incorporate a variety of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, making sure you have a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients. Fast food, on the other hand, may taste good but is often high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and sugars, which can contribute to various health issues. Research has shown that regular consumption of fast food is associated with an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

Cooking at home might also be more cost-effective than dining out. Fully preparing meals from scratch can significantly reduce the cost of the food, as ingredients can be purchased in bulk and used for multiple meals. Studies have shown too that families who cook at home can save a substantial amount of money compared to those who frequently eat out. You will be surprised that actually you can prepare delicious home made meals at a very low-cost — and make them healthier at the same time. And actually, without realizing it, fast-food and restaurant meals often come with higher costs per serving leading to increased spending over time and definitely impacting your budgets.

Of course, the health benefits of home-cooked meals go beyond just the nutrition. For example, cooking at home allows for portion control and makes it easier to avoid overeating. Studies show that home-cooked meals are generally associated with healthier eating habits and better overall health outcomes, while the convenience and portion sizes of fast food can lead to overeating and weight gain. Fast-food restaurants usually serve larger portions, and their meals are designed to be ultra palatable, making it easy to consume excessive calories in one sitting without realizing it, and at the same time making you want to come back again and again. 

Home cooking also offers social and emotional benefits. Preparing and sharing meals with someone you care about can strengthen relationships and promote a sense of community. Studies here have found that families who eat together at home tend to have better dietary habits and a stronger family unit. Eating out or getting a takeout, especially if you are alone, may not provide the same emotional satisfaction. Often you’ll find yourself not eating mindfully, it’s easy to get distracted and find yourself checking your phone. 

So in summary, yes, getting fast-food, a takeout, or eating in a restaurant can be much easier in many ways, yet in the long-term it will almost certainly not be beneficial for your health. Home cooking gives superior nutritional quality and cost-effectiveness, along with significant health and emotional benefits too, and can additionally lead to healthier eating habits, better health outcomes, and more meaningful social interactions. This may sound easy to say, but what if you do not know how to cook or how to make good budget friendly food? I will explore that in part 2 of this series — so until then, if you can, do try to prep some home meals and enjoy them with family or friends.


Wolfson, J. A., & Bleich, S. N. (2015). Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition, 18(8), 1397-1406.

Rosenheck, R. (2008). Fast food consumption and increased caloric intake: a systematic review of a trajectory towards weight gain and obesity risk. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(2), 200-210.

Smith, L. P., Ng, S. W., & Popkin, B. M. (2013). Trends in US home food preparation and consumption: analysis of national nutrition surveys and time use studies from 1965–1966 to 2007–2008. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45(4), 395-404.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2018). Home cooking and eating habits: Global dietary database.

Fulkerson, J. A., Larson, N., Horning, M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2010). A review of associations between family or shared meal frequency and dietary and weight status outcomes across the lifespan. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 42(3), 213-219.

Fryar, C. D., Hughes, J. P., Herrick, K. A., & Ahluwalia, N. (2018). Fast food consumption among adults in the United States, 2013–2016. National Center for Health Statistics. Available at

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 



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