Eating out at restaurants has become a common, convenient part of busy American life. It’s understandable when the last thing most of us want to do after a long day is spend time in the kitchen cooking.
However, while eating out is convenient, it usually isn’t the best choice for yourself or your family. Even when you do your best to order “healthy” options, restaurant food is still often higher in calories than something prepared at home.
Let’s explore the effects of eating out you might not be considering, as well as a few tips you can follow to limit your restaurant visits.
The Downside of Eating Out
Though eating out makes it easy for families to try new things and avoid the burdensome cleanup associated with cooking, there are a couple of negative points to keep in mind.
- Cost: Eating out at a sit-down restaurant is usually more expensive than eating at home. Even fast food can get expensive with today’s prices if you’re trying to feed an entire family.
- Health Concerns: Because the food prepared at restaurants is usually higher in salt, fat, sugar, cholesterol, and calories in general, frequently eating out can increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Additionally, the extra calories can lead to weight gain.
Tips for Eating Out Less Often
It’s not easy to cut back on eating out when it’s something your family is accustomed to. If you want to eat at home more often, try taking the following steps.
- Plan Dinners: Before the start of each week, sit down and plan a dinner menu with your family. Be aware of everyone’s schedule so that you can choose quicker, easier dinner options on days when there isn’t a lot of time allotted for dinner.
- Pack Lunches: Pack your lunch for work or school the night before you’re scheduled, or better yet, create a week’s worth of lunches in a single evening so that you can grab one and go.
- Try Grocery Delivery: If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to shopping, consider grocery delivery so that you can skip the grocery store visit.
You don’t have to avoid eating out altogether by any means, but if you eat at home just a few more times a week than you currently do, you can increase your family’s food budget and help improve your overall wellbeing.