Man Up in the Kitchen

Dietitians urge Aussie men to don an apron and 'man up' in the kitchen to improve health

The nation’s peak body for dietitians is calling on Australian men to ditch the takeaway and start cooking meals at home after a recent survey found one in four need to ‘man up in the kitchen’.

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) survey, which looked at the cooking habits of more than 800 Aussie men, found 24 per cent cook at home no more than twice a week.

These statistics come despite the same survey finding more than 90 per cent of men ‘like cooking’ or ‘like cooking at lot’.

DAA spokesperson Themis Chryssidis said the survey results show a change in the traditional distribution of household chores as men become more acquainted with the kitchen, but there is still some work to do.

‘These survey results are really clear - men do like to cook, which is great. They are just not stepping into the kitchen often enough and this could be for a variety of reasons. Men need to make cooking more of a priority in their lives,’ he said.

DAA’s survey follows recent research from Omnipoll, commissioned by DAA, which found men are almost twice as likely as women to eat three or more takeaway meals a week.

‘This regular intake of takeaway is really concerning as we know takeaway meals can be high in kilojoules, fat, sugar and salt, so shouldn’t be eaten regularly. Men need to step away from the pizza box, don an apron and get busy in the kitchen!’ said Mr Chryssidis.

The association promotes cooking at home as absolutely key to maintaining weight and improving health.

‘Research tells us that people who cook at home are more likely to have a healthier diet, eat less kilojoules, and eat more vegetables. Not only is cooking at home healthier, it’s also more affordable and a great way to relax and socialise,’ said Mr Chryssidis.

DAA is asking men to think outside their normal cooking repertoire – and for some men this means getting friendly with greens.

‘Most blokes consider themselves grill masters, but there is more to cooking than just the odd barbecue in summer. Too often, men cook the meat and their partners prepare the salads.

‘Gents, it’s not that hard to whip up a delicious salad and, if you do it well, people will talk more about your salad than the perfectly-cooked steak.’

Themis’ top tips for ‘man-friendly’ cooking:

  • Get spicy in the kitchen – and this doesn’t just mean hot! Spices add flavour without relying on salt. Don’t be afraid to use more than one spice in a meal and go hard on them too!
  • Make salads interesting. A salad isn’t just iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato – get inventive. Try using roasted vegetables such as sweet potato and beetroot or include whole grains, nuts or lentils, or even seasonal fruit. If you’re looking for a barbecue-friendly addition try char-grilled eggplant, capsicum and zucchini topped with a homemade dukkah.
  • Balance your meal. Try to balance your meal in terms of flavour and nutrition and include a variety of textures to keep the meal interesting. For example, include some toasted sesame seeds with some spiced salmon or some roasted almonds in a fresh salad. By keeping your dishes balanced and interesting, chances are you’ll also keep someone else interested in you!

Download the new AHWW cookbook Everyday Healthy II: Seasonal, Fresh and Tasty, from www.healthyweightweek.com.au.