People value omelets they have put more effort into
Not to knock the value of of Seamless breakfast, but for people looking to have their mind blown by eggs, toast, and bacon, it’s about the journey, not the destination. A study published in Health Psychology found that healthy foods taste better when you make them yourself, as opposed to their store-bought or restaurant-made alternatives. As someone who made one (1) omelet this morning, I have a lot of thoughts.
But starting at the beginning, the study’s reasoning is pretty simple, and is a good thing to keep in mind the next time you make the 24-hour decision to Turn Your Diet Around: “The mere act of preparing foods leads to higher likings because people overvalue objects that they have put effort in.” That’s according to a team of researchers made up of Simone Dohle of the University of Cologne and Sina Rall and Michael Siegrist of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
“When people prepare things—if they build, for example, a cupboard—people like it more,” Dohle explains, referring to something called the “IKEA effect.” I can conversely confirm this, since I hired someone to build my IKEA dresser, and I now hate it with my life.
But anyways, back to that omelet. I can’t speak to the experience of the participants, but for me, self-made food tastes better because I get bored while cooking. Experimenting with colors and smells means I’m more likely to add ingredients I wouldn’t gravitate towards were I ordering off a menu. This morning, I added spinach and tomatoes because I liked the way they looked in the pan. Not exactly The Whole 30, but better than the bacon and cheese monstrosity I started with.
Healthy foods are more interesting to make, which might be why unhealthy foods don’t have a similar effect. Researchers did not see the same satisfaction when participants tasted food containing unhealthy ingredients.
If anything, these findings can help people short on time compartmentalize when they should cook and when they should order out. If your overall enjoyment of chocolate chip pancakes with syrup won’t change if you make it at home or order it to your door, then you might as well just shill out the $$ for the breakfast when your morning is busy. But on those rare days you’re up early with time to spare, it’s worth languishing over a decedent but healthy home cooked breakfast. So go ahead and make that avocado toast, because science.