Can anyone explain what is this 'thing' we have about hot meals?

(17 Posts)
WilheminaAteHer Wed 12-Jan-11 18:14:17

The 'free school meals' thread has made me think about this. Why is it so important to us that we have at least one hot meal a day?

Cold meals can be just as nutritionally balanced, and since they often incorporate salads (and less cooking therefore potentially less oil) one could argue that they're healthier for us.

In the winter a meal won't really warm us up more just because it's hot, will it? By the time it reaches our stomachs it takes very little time for it to cool down to our body temperature. It might give us a nice, cosy feeling to sit over a warm bowl of soup, but what's actually going to warm us up is being well dressed for the weather and/ or in a warm bath/ building. Or doing exercise, or wearing a suit padded with hot water bottles grin.

So is there something about a hot meal apart from that feeling of cosiness/ sentimentality that makes it more special than a cold one?

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LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Wed 12-Jan-11 18:17:29

I have no idea what the science is but I think hot food in our cold, damp climate in winter is more satisfying - that 'cosiness' you speak of adds to our mental wellbeing and because of that it is in an important part of life.

Now I want a nice bowl of warm soup....hmmgrin

sarah293 Wed 12-Jan-11 18:19:13

Message withdrawn

WilheminaAteHer Wed 12-Jan-11 19:04:34

Mmmm...souuuuuppp! grin

Riven - yes, what you 'feel' like eating, according to the weather, is really important, isn't it?!

By the way, I'm the reincarnation of Speedy/ SnowyGonzalez - hi folks! grin

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LostArt Wed 12-Jan-11 19:11:05

I'm not sure if this is true, but I have heard that hot meals are generally higher in calories. Therefore would be the best option for a child who may be become malnourished otherwise.

JetLi Wed 12-Jan-11 19:12:58

I think some nutrients are more bio-available when foods are cooked vs. raw. I remember seeing a documentary on BBC4 I think. But beyond that I can't remember blush

Maisiethemorningsidecat Wed 12-Jan-11 19:15:47

In the midst of a Scottish winter, I want hot soups, casseroles and stews. I want to feel as if I'm being nurtured and warmed by my food, in the same way that a hot water bottle does. Salad or raw food in January just isn't the same.

nogreatexpectations Wed 12-Jan-11 19:17:47

I have this theory that to stay healthy it is best to eat food that is local and seasonal, better for the environment too.

I Couldn't live without stew and dumplings and admit that in winter I love eating stodge.

WilheminaAteHer Wed 12-Jan-11 19:26:54

Jet - yes, carrots are apparently better for you when cooked - I think it's the Vit A which is more easily absorbed. Same goes for tomatoes...I think it's lycopene which benefits from a bit of heat. Though what on earth lycopene is for...confused

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nogreatexpectations Wed 12-Jan-11 19:30:41

Iv'e just looked on the net, lycopene is an antioxident. I think Vit A is good for your eyes and nervous system, not 100% on that though.

exexpat Wed 12-Jan-11 19:55:00

As far as my DCs are concerned, I think they get more healthy stuff down if it is a hot meal - they will eat large portions of cooked veg, but would never eat the same amount as a salad.

And hot meals at school generally have more variety, and therefore are better nutritionally in the long run, than packed lunches, which are nearly always bread-based. Unfortunately DD still refuses school lunches apart from Friday fish and chips (or some other non-fried potato product which is supposedly healthier...).

HeadsUp Wed 12-Jan-11 21:03:01

if you are going to have meat its going to be cooked so whats the point of cooling and serving it cold?

Sorry but salads in winter just don't cut it

Also I think when we refer to kids getting proper hot meals, we mean instead of them just getting fast food, takeaways or snack food, so perhaps a good square meal is a better description and the temperature is irrelivent.

WilheminaAteHer Thu 13-Jan-11 00:19:06

Leftover cold chicken/ ham? Smoked salmon? Salami? Don't tell me your kids don't have the finest smoked salmon in their lunch boxes?! wink

Square meal is definitely a better way to put it, though.

nogreat - ah, thanks for that! Yes re Vit A and eyes, but didn't know about the nervous system stuff.

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AnyFuleKno Thu 13-Jan-11 00:54:55

I think a warm meal would really warm you up by raising your core temperature.

When food is hot, it smells and taste more appealing as the heating process releases the aromas (and as you know most of the taste of food is actually in the smell).

duchesse Thu 13-Jan-11 00:58:24

It's about comfort in northern climes, innit? Mother's milk is warm and comforting and it's about recreating that feeling.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Jan-11 11:13:27

yes even the weird G. Mceith person suggests warming the fruit in yr smoothie in the winter not too hot though!

HeadsUp Thu 13-Jan-11 18:54:15

Yeah but I wouldn'y follow advice from anyone who hides oxo cubes intheir pants

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