Due to the working lifestyle people are exposed to, it’s quite obvious that getting time to make your own meals at home is another hustle. However, when you make a habit of trying to prepare meals at home whenever you find time, health experts say it comes with a lot of health benefits as far as eating healthy is concerned. “Preparing meals at home can help you control your portions, what is hard when you are eating out in restaurants,” says Joseph Uwiragiye, head of the nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital (CHUK). At home, he says that one has a variety of options including using smaller plates and bowls, which helps in choosing smaller amounts of food. He goes on to note that planning menus at home means one is aiming at optimum health. To him, this involves eating whole foods for a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and eating all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) in appropriate portions, unlike dining out where this advantage might not apply. How to go about it David Rukerabigwi, a dietician and nutritionist working with Slim n' Fit, a weight loss and wellness center in Kigali, says one of his main roles at the center is to help people plan their meals accordingly. He says creating your own plate at home comes in handy as well. More often, he says when making meals at home, he mostly puts much effort into focusing on fruits, and vegetables. “The reason is that fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial to your health. In restaurants there are limited choices when it comes to this option. One is likely going to consume fresh fruits and vegetables back at home,” he says. He says that fruit such as oranges, passion, bananas, and tree tomatoes are highly encouraged because apart from having health benefits, they are also easily available and the prices are friendly as well. When it comes to vegetables, Rukerabigwi advises that it’s important to include them on your plate because they are low in fat and calories and can protect against heart disease and certain cancers. Vegetable options such as broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumber, dark green leafy lettuce, eggplant, and green beans are highly recommended. Meanwhile, Uwiragiye says that after creating your own plate at home, taking small sips of water in between bites is important as it helps one slow down and recognise when they are full. He adds that when making your plate at home, you should also make half your grains whole grains. These whole grains, he says contain fiber and key nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and folic acid. Good grain options include brown rice, high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread among others. Including protein on your plate is also vital and some of the available options include, beans, fish, poultry, and nuts, which are all healthy versatile protein sources. They can be mixed into salads, and paired well with vegetables on a plate, one should as well limit red meat, and avoid processed meats. Nutritionists add that choosing healthy vegetable oils like olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, peanut, and others is important, and avoid partially hydrogenated oils, which contain unhealthy trans fats should also be considered. Uwiragiye says one shouldn’t forget the movement part, adding that staying active is important when it comes to weight control. In addition, staying away from sugary beverages, a major source of calories with little nutritional value is important, which can be achieved while dining at home.