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Home Cooked Meals: A Primary Ingredient for The Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, February 17th, 2017

home cooking for the Alzheimer's diet


If you or a loved are attempting to adhere to the Alzheimer’s diet, you may be interested to learn about a recent study on home cooked meals.  The study, published by John Hopkins School of Public Health, (online in the journal Public Health Nutrition) says people who cook at home, may be getting many health benefits compared to those who eat out.  In fact, the study found those who make more home cooked meals are consuming less calories than others who don’t cook as often.  Find out about the conclusions of this study  and  how home cooking can enhance and support the Alzheimer’s diet.

“When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, lead author of the study.

Researchers in the study discovered those who cook at home more often (six to seven nights per week) were less likely to rely on frozen foods, and when they did eat out were less apt to select fast food restaurants. The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.

Home Cooked Meals Study Findings

The study involved over 9,0000 participants ages 20 and older, who offered details about what they ate (and other eating behaviors in a 24-hour time span), during a 30 day time span.

Wolfson and co-author Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, analyzed data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from more than 9,000 participants aged 20 and older.  When the results were tallied, 8% of adults cooked dinner one time or less per week.  This first group consumed a daily average of around 2,300 calories, 84 grams of fat and 135 grams of sugar.  The second group involved 48% of the total participants in the study who reported that they cooked dinner at home 6 to 7 times weekly.  This second group consumed a daily intake of around 2,100 calories, 81 grams of fat and 118 grams of sugar.

African Americans in the study were more likely to live in households where there was less home cooking than Caucasians, and those in general who worked over 35 hours per week outside of the home cooked less often.   

These studies did not involve an analysis of whether participants cooked healthy foods, but rather, simply if they cooked food at home, and how often.  It stands to reason that when combining a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet (such as the Mediterranean diet) with frequent home cooked meals, the outcome for lower fat and sugar as well as less overall calories could be expected.  

Tips on Eating More Home Cooked Meals

If you work outside of the home, making home cooked meals may be more of a challenge than for those who are home more often.  But it may be an even bigger challenge to integrate the Alzheimer’s prevention diet into a daily eating pattern when eating out most of the time.  Knowing which ingredients (such as the type of cooking oil)  used in restaurant food can be a real is not always a privilege for restaurant patrons.  Many establishments, particularly fast food restaurants, use cheap oil with trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients. In the end, cooking and eating at home most of the time, is a good strategy for Alzheimer’s prevention.

Tips on Eating More Home Cooked Meals

  • Cook in advance ingredients that can be used all week such as quinoa, brown rice and chicken.
  • Store cooked foods in the refrigerator, then heat and add seasonings and easy to cook flavorful ingredients before eating (such as onions, garlic, peppers, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes and more). 
  • Plan for at least 2 meals (more if possible) from each meal cooked.  For example, if you cook salmon for one meal, use leftover salmon the next day on top of a healthy green salad that’s quick to assemble.
  • Buy packaged pre-cut ingredients (such as low fat grated cheese) when possible to reduce cooking prep time.
  • Make large amounts of food and freeze the leftovers for quick and easy reheating later in the week.
  • Keep easy to eat pre-cut snacks in the fridge, such as raw vegetables and low fat dip.
  • Make a healthy protein smoothie in the morning instead of stopping for a quick breakfast meal.
  • Make stews and crock pot meals, such as soups, beans and more, that will last for several days.
  • When you do eat out (particularly at fast food restaurants) avoid the fried foods (that may be cooked in oil with trans-fat) opt for grilled selections instead, and forgo the fries, onion rings and soft drinks. 

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s prevention diet by CLICKING HERE to access information on the book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment book, written by Harvard trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson.  

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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