Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Janet Mullins


The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamic of perceived benefits and barriers associated with cooking meals at home. The findings will be used to design a social marketing campaign promoting healthy home-cooked meals. Participants included 64 SNAP-eligible mothers throughout the state of Kentucky aged 21-49 years with young children. Eight focus groups were conducted in four metro and four non-metro counties. A mixed methods approach was used to examine behaviors such as where families purchase foods, the types of foods purchased, family cooking skills and habits, and family time management. Results from this study show women regularly incorporate home-cooked meals into their lives. Three major themes evolved from analysis: learning more about preparing healthy, home-cooked family meals; the important relationship of families and cooking, and the dread of kitchen cleanup following a meal. Data from the written survey provided information regarding eating and cooking patterns in a week, important meal characteristics, relative confidence in cooking skills, and Internet and social media use.