Eating out is often seen as a fun way to treat your family to something special, but for busy families, ordering takeout or visiting restaurants has become a regular part of the week. While eating out is perfectly acceptable on occasion, there are a few things to consider when eating away from home more often.
Consider the Cost
Eating out is often significantly more expensive than preparing dinner at home, especially if you want to ensure that your family is eating high-quality food. For a family of four, the price of eating at a sit-down restaurant can cost more than $100, while a home-cooked meal usually costs only a couple of dollars when combining all the ingredients used.
Think About Food Quality
The food you eat at a restaurant will likely be of lesser quality than the food you prepare for your family at home. Higher-quality food in a restaurant setting is likely going to cost significantly more than fast food or takeout as well.
Limit Your Health Risks
Often, going out to eat means that your family is will be consuming food that, while tasty, is high in fat, sodium, sugar, and calories. Though it’s nice to go out once in a while, eating out too often increases an individual’s chances of developing diet-related health conditions.
Eating Out Mindfully
Eating out is often the easiest way to feed your family after a long day, and sometimes, busy families don’t have time to plan and cook dinner at home. If you can’t reasonably avoid eating out very often, try to be mindful about what you and your family are eating at restaurants.
- Watch your portion size
- Check calories
- Drink water rather than soda
- Choose vegetable sides
- Try lean proteins
- Don’t overeat: take your leftovers home if you’re full.
Finally, if you want to prepare food at home more often, but you’re struggling to find the time to do so every evening, you might want to try meal prepping. On your days off, or when you have a free evening, prepare dinner for several days at a time. Storing full meals in containers and keeping them in the fridge/freezer makes it easy to heat them up quickly at the end of the day.
Eating out is not a bad thing, but it’s wise to eat mindfully when you’re at restaurants and balance eating out days and eating at home days. That way, you can have the best of both worlds and keep your family healthy at the same time.