The Best Lenovo Laptops of IFA 2018

With discrete Nvidia graphics and 8th Gen Intel H-series CPUs, the new 15-inch ThinkPad X1 Extreme is Lenovo’s answer to the immensely popular Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro. The premium laptop features a 4K HDR display, up to 64GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, making it an intriguing option for creators and gamers alike. Lenovo claims the X1 Extreme gets 13 hours of battery life; if that holds true, it would be one of the longest-lasting 15-inch laptops on the market.

 

The carbon fiber-clad X1 Extreme is remarkably lightweight for its size, weighing in at just 3.75 pounds. The laptop’s bezel-less display minimizes its footprint down to 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches. Despite such a slim chassis, the X1 Extreme offers a solid selection of ports, including two USB 3.1 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an SD card slot and an HDMI.

 

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme starts at $1,899, and will be released in September.

The Yoga S730 Is the $999 Ultrabook Apple Won’t Make

Thin is in. Lenovo just unveiled the Yoga S730, a slim-and-lightweight ultrabook with a stylish design and powerful internals.  The Lenovo Yoga S730 will launch in November for $999, and will be available in Platinum and Iron Grey color options.  

Given the Yoga branding, we wouldn’t blame you for expecting this laptop to be a 2-in-1, but be warned, the Yoga S730 has a traditional clamshell design.

The Yoga S730 makes up for its lack of flexibility with a gorgeous design. The laptop’s understated, Macbook-like chassis looks sophisticated, and we appreciate its premium aluminum build.

The Yoga S730 is, in many ways, the sort of laptop we’ve been hoping Apple would release with its long-overdue update to the MacBook Air. The Yoga S730’s razor-thin bezels border a 13.3-inch, 1080p display that can supposedly reach 300 nits of brightness. The generous screen-to-body ratio allowed Lenovo to shrink the overall size of the 2.6-pound laptop down to 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches.

The Yoga S730 is thinner than even the 12-inch MacBook, but it should be significantly more powered thanks to its U-series processors. Oh, and these aren’t just any U-series processors; they’re the recently released Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs, which promise performance and efficiency gains compared to last year’s Kaby Lake variants.

The available Core i5-8265U or i7-8565U CPUs are matched with integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, which should offer enough oomph for casual gaming. If you need more power, the Yoga S730 offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports for connecting to external monitors and eGPUs. There is also a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Other interesting extras include a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader.

You can configure the Yoga S730 with up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Lenovo rates the Yoga S730’s battery life at 10 hours, but we’ll need to wait for a review unit to see how long it lasts with real-world use.

The Best External GPUs for Your Laptop, Tested and Ranked

When you first see the Gaming Box’s $589.99 price, it looks like it’s the most expensive eGPU in the line-up. However, since it comes pre-installed with a GPU, you don’t have to worry about shelling out even more money for a graphics card. That makes it the cheapest option in the long run. But since you lose the ability to swap out GPUs, you might find yourself purchasing another Gaming Box in a few years when the GTX 1070 can’t cut the mustard.

Design: The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box is hands-down the most adorable eGPU. Measuring 6.4 x 8.4 x 3.8 inches and weighing 5.2 pounds, it’s the smallest box we tested. It’s the perfect size for those with little space to spare.

Similar to Aorus laptops like the X7 v6, the Gaming Box is swathed in matte black aluminum. The silver chrome avian logo gleams on the top front of the device. A pair of large grates sit along both sides of the system allowing for airflow and a nice view of the GTX 1070 Mini GPU inside. And if you want to game on the go, the Aorus also comes with a little carrying case for stow-and-go convenience.

Ports: Despite its diminutive size, the Gaming Box comes with plenty of ports. There are three USB 3.0 ports, an orange quick-charge USB 3.0 port, an HDMI, a DisplayPort, a pair of DVI-2 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 and the power jack.

Accessibility: Unlike other eGPUs, the Gaming Box comes with the GTX 1070 Mini GPU installed. The box is sealed, so you don’t have the luxury of switching out the graphics card at a later date.

Compatibility: Though we tried using the box with the MacBook Pro 13 and the Blade Stealth, the ThinkPad T470 was the only system that recognized the Aorus.

Value: When you first see the Gaming Box’s $589.99 price, it looks like it’s the most expensive eGPU out there. However, since it comes pre-installed with a GPU, you don’t have to worry about shelling out even more money for a graphics card. That makes it the cheapest option in the long run. But since you lose the ability to swap out GPUs, you might find yourself purchasing another Gaming Box in a few years when the GTX 1070 can’t cut the mustard.

Lenovo’s Wild Yoga Book C930 Adds E Ink Keyboard

The second time might be the charm. Lenovo is releasing the second version of the Yoga Book, the C930, starting at $999 in October.

When the first Yoga Book launched back in 2016, it was both innovative and polarizing and it looks like the latest iteration of the Windows 10 convertible is bringing more of the same.

At a passing glance, the C930 looks pretty similar to the first Yoga Book, and it’s still remarkably light and thin at 1.7 pounds and 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches. But look closer and you’ll see that Lenovo replaced the original Yoga Book’s static Wacom digitizer with a legitimate E Ink screen that can transform depending on the mode.

When using the C930 in laptop mode, the E Ink display acts as a keyboard complete with haptic feedback. In the interest of space, you can minimize the touchpad, allowing room for the Space Bar. As a touch typist, it’s still a bit awkward to type on, but I can definitely see myself shooting off an email or two with the hunt-and-peck method.

03 Lenovo Yoga C930

The E Ink display also has a sketch mode, handy for artists or note takers like myself. Using the Bluetooth Wacom Active Pen to draw a picture of a flower was seamless. I didn’t notice any lag as I sketched, and the 4,096 pressure level adjusted accordingly, creating thick or thin pen strokes depending on how hard I pressed.

MORE: Best 2-in-1s

The panel can also be used as an e reader for the bookworms out there. Oh, and if you were wondering where the pen goes when you’re not using it, you can just stick it on the front of the C930 and its magnetic cover will hold it firmly in place.

01-Lenovo-Yoga-C930-

Those interested in the C930 will have a couple of configs to choose from. The base model will feature the low-power 7th gen Core m3-7Y30 processor. But if you want more oomph, you can get the convertible with a 7th gen Core i5-7Y54 CPU.

No matter what processor you choose, the system will have 4GB of RAM with up to a 256GB PCIe SSD of storage and an Intel HD Graphics 615 GPU. As far as battery life, Lenovo is estimating that the C930 will last up to 8.6 hours. That’s shorter than the original Yoga Book, which lasted 9 hours and 35 minutes on our battery test.

Lenovo outfitted the C930’s primary display with a 10.8-inch, 2560 x 1600 LCD, which looked equal parts bright and vivid during my demo. It’s a step up from the previous model’s 1920 x 1200 panel that we felt was on a bit on the dark side. However, we’re going to have to wait until we get the C930 in the lab to get accurate measurements.

When the original Lenovo Yoga Book debuted, I was smitten with the idea of it. The ability to transfer all my fevered scribblings from a notepad to a 10-inch screen was heady stuff. Plus, the haptic keyboard was a first, and I’m a sucker for innovation. But when I actually began to use the Yoga Book, it wasn’t the versatile productivity machine that I imagined, mainly because of the typing aspect.

That’s not to say the Yoga Book isn’t useful, I saw a few people using it in the wild, I’m just saying the last iteration wasn’t for me. We’ll have to see whether this sequel is a significant step forward.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Official: What to Expect

BERLIN — Microsoft just announced that the next update to Windows is coming in October, packed with new features for more than 700 million Windows users.

The company revealed the name (Windows 10 October 2018 Update) and launch month on-stage at IFA, but didn’t specify the exact day users would be able to install the software update.

Microsoft Vice President Erin Chapple said Windows Insider program members will be able to test drive the new features soon.

So what new features will Windows users see in October? A Shared Clipboard feature will let you share files across devices and an overhauled Notepad are on the docket, but Microsoft says it will share more about upcoming features in the weeks to come.

Image Credit: Microsoft

 

Best USB-C Accessories 2018 – Cables, Docks, Adapters, Drives, Hubs

USB Type-C is the new standard connector for both charging and data on laptops, phones and tablets. While not every device has this powerful port yet, a number of prominent notebooks, including the Apple MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 13, Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe, HP Elitebook x360 and a slew of other laptops employ it. With Type-C on board, you can copy files at USB 3.1 speeds, deliver enough power to charge a laptop or use Alt Mode to send other types of data using DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 connections.

Looking forward, you can expect USB 3.2 to come soon, which is another version of USB Type-C. It doubles regular USB Type-C speeds at 20MBps, but is half of Thunderbolt 3 speeds. The best part, though, is that when you upgrade to a laptop that supports it, it will work on all of your existing cables, so no need to wait on buying them.

Microsoft finally adopted USB Type-C on the Surface Book 2, so now every major vendor is supports the new standard in some way.

All Thunderbolt 3 ports use the Type-C connector and are compatible with both the faster Thunderbolt 3 standard and regular Type-C devices. Because Thunderbolt 3 has four times the bandwidth (40 MBps) of standard USB Type-C 3.1, you can connect to external GPUs which let you play games on your thin and light notebook. Some docks also take advantage of the faster speeds.

MORE: USB Type-C FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

Below you’ll find a list of USB Type-C accessories that will help you continue to use your older USB-A peripherals, charge your devices, provide extra ports and take advantage of USB Type-C’s ability to output 4K video. It’s everything you’ll need to make the most out of the new connector, especially as it ends up on a growing list of devices.

WGGE USB-C to USB-C Cable

WGGE produces this tangle-free, nylon braided, 10-foot USB-C to USB-C cable for only $10.99. You can use it to charge USB-C devices as well as connect external hard drives and docking stations. And if you don’t want the joy of a really long, inexpensive wire, you can get the 6.6-foot version for an even cheaper $8.99. WGGE also includes a two-year warranty with it.

Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock

The Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) is the best pick for early adopters who need a dock. It works with the newest standards, like USB Type-C for charging and external displays and supports 4K monitors. We didn’t like that it’s locked into vertical orientation, but you can’t argue for great performance and support for three displays at the same time.

Aukey USB-C to USB 3.0 Adapter

If you don’t want to buy a whole bunch of new cables, you can grab a tiny adapter. Aukey’s USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter is small and will work with any of your legacy peripherals. It also doesn’t hurt that you get a two-pack for just $10, so you can just multiple USB Type-A accessories with your new computer at once.

Samsung Portable SSD T5

The Samsung Portable SSD T5 takes the spot of its predecssor, the T3, on this list, with even faster speeds and a better design. It comes with both a USB Type-C cable and a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable, so you can use it with any laptop and many newer Android phones. It has blazing fast transfer speeds of up to 540MBps, and backed up my computer extremely quickly. I love the new blue color for the 250GB ($127.99) and 500GB models ($196) , while the 1TB ($397.99) and 2TB ($797.99)  options come in black. The thing is tiny — smaller than a credit card — and includes a three-year warranty.

 

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive

If you’re transferring data between USB Type-A and USB  Type-C devices, SanDisk’s two-sided Ultra Dual flash drive is the perfect storage solution. Starting at  16GB, this flash drive uses a slider to switch between a USB 3.0 Type-A connector on one side and a USB Type-C connector on the other, so you will see blazing speeds on both ends of the transfer. You can also get it in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes.

Apple USB-C Power Adapter

No doubt your USB Type-C device came with a charger. But extras never hurt, and the 30W Apple USB Type-C Power Adapter is a compact and sleek-looking choice. Just remember that you need to bring your own USB Type-C to USB Type-C charging cable.

Dell USB Type-C to HDMI/Ethernet/VGA/USB 3.0 Adapter

This USB Type-C adapter from Dell can do the work of several adapters by allowing you to plug into displays, attach older USB accessories and connect to wired Internet with one compact adapter that’s easy to take with you anywhere. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of USB Type-C attachments.

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB Type-C Power Bank

Laptops, tablets and smartphones keep getting thinner, and most don’t have replaceable batteries. Certain USB Type-C ports, like the ones on the 12-inch MacBook and Google’s Pixel C, support charging, so Anker has introduced a high-capacity external battery that will keep your battery full on the go. This battery also features two USB-A ports to feed hungry tablets, headphones and other rechargeable gadgets.

Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 Connetion

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook has one measly USB Type-C port, but Kingston’s hub can make it much more useful. It boasts two USB Type-A 3.1 ports, two Type-C ports (including one for power, an HDMI output for up to 4K resolution, an SD card slot and a microSD card slot. That’s enough to transfer data, power monitors and use both new and old USB accessories.

AmazonBasics USB-C to USB-A Cable

This 3-foot, $9.99 cable will come in handy wherever you go, especially in situations where you have a USB-C device and are surrounded by USB-A charging stations. And whether you need to transfer files to an older computer via a connected smartphone or hard drive, Amazon has got your back with that 10 Gbps data transfer speed.

Aukey USB-C Car Charger

Going on a road trip? No problem. Aukey makes cross-country tripping easy with this USB Type-C car charger for just $14.99. It also comes with a port for USB 3.0 and is outfitted with Qualcomm 3.0 Quick Charge, which enables compatible devices to charge is 38 percent more efficiently than Qualcomm 2.0. Aukey also built in safety measures to protect against excessive current, overheating and overcharging.

 

Best Tablet Cases – Protective Covers to Kid-Proof a Tablet

Once you’ve given your child a tablet, you ought to also purchase a case to protect this new toy. Sure, you can fill a tablet with a ton of games, tv shows and educational material for hours of fun and enrichment, but these sliver-shaped devices are easily dropped, especially if you’re talking about Apple’s latest iPad. This could lead to accidental damage from repeated drops onto  the ground. While the Amazon Fire tablets slide right into the $24.99 FreeTime Kid-Proof Case, we’ve found plenty of alternatives that protect other models from the chaos a child can create.

And if you pick one of the cuter or cooler cases, to match your kid’s personality, you’ll be less likely to find the case lying on the floor after your child decided it wasn’t necessary.   

If you decided to buy the $50 Fire 7 tablet instead of the Kids Edition model, you can still get a case made just for your new slate. As its name implies, Amazon’s own FreeTime Kid-Proof Case is designed with little hands in mind, made of a durable silicone for protection from bumps and bruises. If you bought your Fire tablet before May 2017, you’ll probably want a case for 6th (2016) or 5th (2015) generation Fire. Amazon also sells a Kid-Proof Case ($29) for its 2017 HD 8 Fire tablet, which is currently only only available in 32GB configuration, for $89 (a $20 discount).

Fintie 9.7-inch iPad Case

One way to make it a little easier for your child to hold on to a tablet is to invest in a case with a handle. The Fintie Case comes with just that — an easy-to-grab handle — and the Fintie can also be used as a stand. This cover is composed of a heavy-duty EVA foam to endure wear and tear over time. It fits Apple’s most recent $329 iPad, as well as the 2017 9.7-inch iPad, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Air. 

TFY Kids Car Headrest Mount Holder

If your kid keeps throwing or dropping their tablet in the car, you’ll probably see this headrest-mounted tablet holder and wonder “where this been all my life?” It’s also useful if you’ve got more than one tyke in the backseat, because now they can’t argue over who gets to use it, and they’ll just have to watch the same show together. Holds most 9.7-inch tablets, including the iPad 2, 3, and 4.

Speck iGuy

Available in red or orange, the Speck iGuy is made of flexible EVA foam that protects your iPad 1, 2, 3 or 4 against drops and other impacts. He stands at attention on his chubby little legs, and his arms make squishy handles. Plus, he’s super cute.

Kawayi Protective Defender iPad Mini Case

Here’s one kitty you’ll never have to clean up after. Fits the iPad Mini 1, 2, 3 and 4 and features an easel-style design that allows it to be propped up, so younger users can sit back to enjoy their favorite programming, and not have to hold the device the entire time. Made of food-grade silicone that’s both squishy and shock-resistant. 

Okstation EVA Drop-Proof iPad Mini Case for Baby

Amazon’s Fire 7 cases are nice, but we like the look of this honeycomb-patterned case from Fintie. It offers a little extra visual flair vs the Amazon case, and is $15 less expensive, at $9.99. Your kid can find one the precise color of their preference, as it’s sold in 12 colors, including two shades of pink, two shades of blue, two yellows, black and green.

Belkin Lego Builder Case for iPad mini

What kid (and what adult, really?) doesn’t love Legos? Made by Belkin, the Lego Builder Case for the iPad mini (1, 2 or 3) protects the tablet from bumps and bruises. Plus, the case has an official blue Lego back plate your child can use to build cool things. Choose from yellow, red or green shells.

Griffin KaZoo Fox Case for iPad mini

For younger kids, animals tend to be a big hit. This Griffin KaZoo case for iPad mini, mini 2 and mini 3 transforms a tablet into an adorable fox. The KaZoo case has wide feet so that it can stand up on its own. This also gives a slight angle when the device is lying down, so it’s easy for your child to draw or interact with on-screen content ergonomically. A matching stylus, sold separately, fits neatly into a hole at the bottom of the feet so your child doesn’t lose the pen while playing.

TopEsct iPad Mini Case for Kids

The iPad Mini tablet becomes both easier to hold and mount in a car with this case. Available in blue, green, blue and pink, it’s got three handles, so it can be held for landscape-mode content viewing and also carried in one hand like a tiny briefcase. 

Logitech Big Bang

Cute cases are great, but you also need protection. The Big Bang case from Logitech maintains a kid-friendly weight and a slim design but still offers impact protection for falls from up to 4.6 feet. That’s thanks to the shock-absorbent material that lines the edges and the screen cover. It’s helpful that the liner, which activates the iPad Air’s sleep/wake function, is wipeable for the inevitable spill.

Henry T. Casey

Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he’s the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey,
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Best Video Editing Laptops of 2018 (Including Models With 4K Screens)

You may flip for the Yoga 720. This convertible 2-in-1 has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU for a starting price of $999 (a 4K screen is extra).

With that kind of power under the hood, you can easily edit and transcode Ultra HD videos. You can even bend the screen back 270 degrees and edit clips in presentation or tent modes. The Yoga 720 lasted almost 9 hours the Laptop Mag Battery Test, so it will get you through a cross-country flight’s worth of media creation. 

Pros: 2-in-1  Design; Long battery life; Vivid display; Strong Performance
Cons: Plain design

Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 (or 4K) screen; Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU; 4.55 pounds

Anxiety in children

 

While summer offers preschool and elementary school children a welcome break and chances to navigate new friendships and activities, it can trigger anxiety in children upset by unstructured time, changes in routine and friend groups, and transitions involving new faces and places. Separation anxiety, social anxiety, and specific phobias are instantly recognizable: a sobbing child clings to a parent, refusing to set foot inside day care; a socially anxious child worries about attending a birthday party because “nobody will play with me;” or a child is so terrified by insects that simple summer fun like a nature stroll, digging in the dirt, or a picnic in the park is impossible.

Common symptoms of anxiety in children

Thumping heart, rapid breathing, sweating, tense muscles, nausea, and dread are familiar symptoms of anxiety that accompany a “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction triggered by real or imagined threats, like a snarling dog or new social experience. Anxious children may be clingy, startle easily, cry or have tantrums, sleep poorly, and have headaches or stomachaches.

But anxiety is not all bad. “It can motivate us, or help us avoid danger,” says Dr. Mona Potter, medical director of McLean Anxiety Mastery Program and McLean Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services. “The problem is when anxiety gets out of hand and makes decisions for us that are no longer helpful — maybe even paralyzing.” By that point, normal anxiety may have become an anxiety disorder.

What types of anxiety are common in children?

  • Separation anxiety: Very anxious and upset when parted from parents and caregivers; refusal to attend camp, sleepovers, or play dates; worry that bad things will happen to self or loved ones while separated.
  • Social anxiety: Strong fear of social situations; very anxious and self-conscious around others; worry about being judged or humiliated.
  • Specific phobia: Severe, irrational fear set off by a situation or thing, such as thunderstorms, worry about vomiting, or insects.

What makes some children more vulnerable to anxiety?

Anxiety may set deep roots due to a blend of

  • biological factors, such as genes and brain wiring
  • psychological factors, such as temperament and coping strategies
  • environmental factors, such as anxious parenting or troubling early childhood experiences and environment.

Sometimes, anxiety is a side effect of medicine. Ask your doctor about this possibility.

Treating anxiety in children

Occasional anxiety is normal. But talk to your pediatrician if anxiety causes your child to limit activities, worry often, or avoid camp or day care. A severe anxiety disorder can delay or derail child development.

Depending on developmental stage and level and type of anxiety, treatment may involve changes you and your child work toward yourselves. Or you might work with child mental health professionals, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. These experts can help parents and children learn to apply cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a highly effective treatment that addresses anxious thoughts and behaviors. “For example, we might encourage children to practice ‘detective-thinking’ to catch, check, and change anxious thoughts,” says Dr. Potter. “We also encourage them to approach, rather than avoid, anxiety-provoking triggers.”

Mindfulness techniques and antianxiety or antidepressant medicines also may be discussed. Often a combination of approaches works best.

Ways parents can help children learn to manage anxiety

  • Personalize and externalize: Ask your child to give anxiety a name. Your child can draw pictures of anxiety, too. Then, help your child acknowledge anxiety when it rears up: ‘Is that spiky-toothed, purple Bobo telling you no one wants to play with you?’ Labeling and distancing anxiety can help your child learn to be the boss of it.
  • Preview anxiety-provoking situations. Consider meeting camp counselors or touring new places ahead of time.
  • Model confidence: Children are emotional Geiger counters. They register anxiety radiating from parents. Try to be mindful of what you model through words and body language. Work on tempering overanxious reactions when appropriate.
  • Narrate their world: “Children are coding the world. Particularly through early childhood their brains are just sponges, taking everything in,” says Dr. Potter. “We can help them with the narrative they’re constructing: ‘Is the world a safe place or a dangerous place where I have to be on guard all the time?’”
  • Allow distress: Avoiding distressing situations invites anxiety to ease temporarily, only to pop up elsewhere. Rational explanations won’t work, either. The whirring emotional center of the brain known as the limbic system requires time and tools to calm down enough to let the thinking (cognitive) center of the brain come back online. Instead, try distress tolerance tools: one child might splash her face with cold water, another might charge up and down stairs to blow off anxious energy, or tense and relax her muscles, or distract herself by looking around to find every color in the rainbow.
  • Practice exposure: Gradual exposure helps rewire an anxious brain and shows a child he can survive anxious moments. Let’s say your child is anxious about talking in public, ducking his head and squirming if addressed. Pick a pleasant, slow-paced restaurant for a fun weekly date. Then coach your child to take charge of ordering foods he likes in small steps. At first, he might whisper the order to you and you’ll relay it to the waitress. Next, he might order just his drink or dessert, and finally a full meal as distress tolerance and confidence grows.

A few helpful resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

CDC Key Findings: Children’s Mental Health Report (2018)

Key Findings: U.S. Children Diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression (2018)

You and Your Anxious Child, Anne Marie Albano, PhD, with Leslie Pepper (Avery: 2013)

Home cooking: Good for your health

 

Can you imagine if you went to your primary care doctor’s office for cooking classes? What if your visit included time spent planning meals, discussing grocery lists and the benefits of home cooking, and learning culinary techniques?

If that sounds odd to you, it shouldn’t.

We already know that the more people cook at home, the healthier their diet, the fewer calories they consume, and the less likely they are to be obese or develop type 2 diabetes. A growing body of scientific evidence supports teaching patients how to cook meals at home as an effective medical intervention for improving diet quality, weight loss, and diabetes prevention.

In fact, research is turning to studying the value of nutrition programs that include cooking instruction. These programs have been shown to help people adhere to a healthier diet, eat smaller portions, and lose weight — improvements that lasted as long as a year after the study ended. These programs can even help patients with type 2 diabetes to eat healthier, lower blood pressures and blood sugars, and lose weight. Hard to believe it, but time in the kitchen can be as valuable as medication for some people with diabetes.

I recently met with a lovely patient of mine,* She has type 2 diabetes, and has trouble eating a healthy diet. Most of her meals are frozen dinners or takeout, which is all highly processed food with little nutritional value. I asked her if she would like to consult with a nutritionist.

“I have, many times,” she laughed. “They’re all very nice and everything, and it’s all good information, but I can’t cook. I get to the produce section of the grocery store, and I don’t know where to start.” Aha. No surprise, then, that multiple studies have shown that home cooking instruction significantly increase a person’s confidence in his or her food preparation skills, which translates into eating a healthier diet.

Diet and lifestyle interventions have already been shown to be quite effective for weight loss and prevention of type 2 diabetes, and adding a home cooking instruction component could be even more powerful.

Let’s get cooking!

*True story, details changed to protect the patient’s identity.

Grilled Zucchini with Red, Green, and Yellow Pepper Sauce

Zucchini

  • 6
    firm medium zucchini, sliced diagonally into thin rounds
  • 1/4
    tsp
    Atlantic sea salt
  • 1/4
    tsp
    Ground black pepper
  • 2
    Tbsp
    Unrefined canola oil

Sauce

  • 2
    Tbsp
    Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2
    Tbsp
    Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4
    cup
    Unsweetened white rice vinegar
  • Pinch
    Atlantic sea salt
  • Pinch
    Ground black pepper
  • 1
    Tbsp
    Unsweetened date honey
  • 1
    Small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1
    Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2
    Tbsp
    Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2
    Medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2
    Medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2
    Medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Prepare zucchini

  1. Place zucchini rounds in a medium bowl, mix with salt and pepper, and toss with oil to coat.

  2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, roast zucchini rounds for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until dark lines appear. Transfer to a large bowl.

Prepare sauce

  1. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar until combined.

  2. Add salt, pepper, and date honey, and mix until combined.

  3. Add garlic, onion, and parsley, and mix well.

  4. Add peppers and mix again.

Finish dish

  1. Pour pepper mixture over zucchinis, and let sit for about 30 minutes, to allow flavors to blend.

  2. Serve at room temperature.

Additional information and selected sources

Additional free and simple recipes from Dr. Rani Polak

Free cooking at home cooking videos from the American Collage of Preventative Medicine (ACPM)

Dr. Rani Polak’s Harvard Medical School Talk@12: “What to Eat: The Emerging Field of Culinary Medicine”

Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition, June 2015.

Consumption of Meals Prepared at Home and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: An Analysis of Two Prospective Cohort Studies. PLOS Medicine, July 2016.

Impact of cooking and home food preparation interventions among adults: outcomes and implications for future programs. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, July-August 2014.

Impact of cooking and home food preparation interventions among adults: A systematic review (2011-2016). Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, February 2018