Eat at home for happiness

Every month in our Mind Life Lab Experiment, Martha Roberts invites you to road-test research around feeling good

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Eat at home for happiness

The project

Eating a good, nourishing, healthy meal in your home environment can lead to increased feelings of wellbeing.

The aim

It has long been known that eating well can make you happier but experts have now discovered it’s not just what you eat but where you eat it that counts.

The theory

It’s not just what we eat but where we eat it and who we eat it with that can increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing. We may get excited at the prospect of a lavish restaurant meal but our homes actually give us more succour.

In a recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, 160 women were asked about what they ate for 10 days, contacted every two hours to report what they’d recently eaten and how it made them feel. Researchers also asked them where they were eating it.

The women were significantly happier and less stressed after eating at home – where they also ate more healthily. The study concluded: ‘The home is a privileged environment that nurtures healthy eating and in which healthier food choices trigger more positive emotions.’ When we eat at home, gathering round the table helps us to establish connections that are vital for happiness and a sense of belonging.

Plus, enjoying dinner with friends leads to healthier choices – one study found that kids who ate family dinners rather than meals on the go ate more fruit and vegetables and drank fewer fizzy drinks.

Try it out

MARTHA ROBERTS is an award-winning UK health writer and mental health blogger at mentalhealthwise.com

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Read 5 ways to feel more balanced, every day by Eminé Ali Rushton on LifeLabs