Writers, nutritionists, doctors, chefs and Michelle Obama have all been promoting a hot new diet: home-cooked food. “People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought,” Michael Pollan recently told Mark Bittman, both authors and advocates of the cook-it-yourself diet. “It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.” The magic of the diet, its advocates say, is that it doesn’t mean skimping on portions or going without meat, eggs, cheese, alcohol or dessert.

Most people, even those who are nutrition-savvy, have a very very hard time estimating how many calories are in their food. Honestly, even seasoned calorie-counters need to use their calorie tracking tools when they step outside of their day-to-day meal routine, and ESPECIALLY if they're eating outside the home. The average woman should be eating somewhere around 2,000 calories/day to maintain her weight (your mileage may vary, for me, it's around 1,800). Take a look at this NYTimes piece on what fast-casual, fast-food and restaurant meals will "cost" you. And then read on to find the home-prepared comparison.

OMG. Look at all the food you can eat at home.

It's all about VOLUME, my friends. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can get so much more bang for your buck if you learn to cook simple meals from scratch at home. Not that I'm against going out, you know I'm also about variety, being social and exploring new destinations. But on a day-to-day basis, if you want to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, home-prepped food is where your heart should be.

Need help? You know I'm just a phone call away! ;)