Motives for dish choices during home meal preparation: results from a large sample of the NutriNet-Santé study

Although culinary practices have strongly evolved over time, few data are available on contemporary dish choices during meal preparation. We therefore sought to determine individual motives when choosing dishes to be prepared during weekdays and on weekends.
The importance of 27 criteria related to dish choices was assessed in 53,025 participants in the NutriNet-Santé study. Dimensions of dish choice motives were investigated using exploratory factor analysis. Mean ratings of motives during weekdays and on weekends were compared using Student’s t-test. Association between socio-demographic and cooking practice characteristics, and dish choice motives were evaluated using logistic regression models.
Five dimensions of dish choice motives emerged: healthy diet (explained variance: 48.3 %), constraints (19.0 %), pleasure (12.1 %), specific diets (11.0 %) and organization (9.6 %). The healthy diet factor was the most important on weekdays (mean rating 3.93) and weekends (3.90). Pleasure (3.61) had a higher score than constraints (3.54) on weekends (p < 0.0001) while the opposite was observed on weekdays (3.42 vs 3.77, respectively) (p < 0.0001). Organization was more important on weekdays (2.89) than on weekends (2.75) (p < 0.0001). Dish choice motives appeared to be significantly associated with socio-demographic and cooking practice characteristics.
This study highlighted factors involved in dish choices in meal preparation on weekdays and weekends, as well as individual characteristics which determine motives for dish choices. From a public health perspective, these findings might help to develop appropriate strategies for promoting home meal preparation.