Swap This for That: Eating out for Eating In

It can’t come as a surprise that Americans today are increasingly dining out instead of dining in. Our society is quickly deviating away from traditional dinner ideals as Texas Road-House rolls are replacing mom’s famous homemade rolls. Going out to eat is as social as it is convenient.

A meal at the office, dinner out with friends, or a quick snack to break up the drive does adversely affect your health. Choosing to eat fresh home-cooked meals increases food awareness and allows you to make better choices to support a healthy lifestyle.

This post is adapted from an original article from healthfitnessrevolution.com

Nutritious

Restaurants, both fast food and otherwise, are known to be notoriously high in calories sugars, fats, sodium and carbohydrates, and it is also likely they may contain low nutritional content. Even the healthier, low-cal options can contain a very high level of sugars and fats. Eating at home, on the other hand, allows you to cut out what you may deem unnecessary in your diet. You’re in control of the food you cook and the food you consume.

Increase knowledge of food

Food is much more than just something that tastes good and fills up your stomach. What you eat can heal, cause sickness, or even inflict pain. Cooking your own meals can teach you what foods are high or low in certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It will even boost your creativity as you learn to combine nutritious foods to satisfy your palate!

Savor your food

The physical act of preparing your own meals will lead to a newfound appreciation for the food you consume. This is very important since mindless munching and emotional eating can contribute to unhealthy weight gain because you’re not fully conscious of the foods you’re eating. Being more aware of what you consume when you prepare it will make you less likely to overeat.

Appropriate portions

Restaurants are notorious for their extreme portion sizes, which may contribute to the vast overeating culture and obesity issue in America. In fact, a study conducted by the International Journal of Obesity found that providing nutrition labels on standard menus had little effect on food selection. Preparing meals at home gives you the ability to exercise portion control and help curb the temptation of overeating.

Builds healthy habits

Cooking at home can jump-start your healthy lifestyle! By discovering healthy recipes, learning about food, creating and sticking to a meal plan, you and your family can be inspired to living a healthy, fit life.

Encourages family bonding

Family dynamics can greatly improve with more at home, family meal times. Children greatly benefit from the ritual of preparing and eating meals together. This is also a great teaching tool for parents to instill healthy eating habits in their children. In fact, several studies conducted by the University of Michigan found eating family meals at the dinner table is associated with fewer psychological issues and higher academic success in children and promoted sociability in the family.

Food safety

According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning) affects 1 in 6 Americans every year. Cooking at home will give you the peace of mind you need in knowing you have the freshest ingredients (or at least since your last trip to the grocer’s!), and you can rest assured knowing your food has been stored and cooked at the correct temperatures.

Awareness of food allergies & sensitivities

While we’ve mentioned you control the nutritional intake of your meals, cooking for yourself and your family also gives the control to avoid food allergens. Common food allergies include nuts, gluten and shellfish, and all of these are common and usually well-liked ingredients in many meals.

Cleanliness

Cooking at home can give you the clean conscience of not only knowing what’s in your food but how clean your food is. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your kitchen and dinnerware are sterile and your ingredients are prepared thoroughly before eating.

Saves money

Eating dinner out is expensive! It is a lot more cost-effective to purchase groceries than ordering take out every night. While there is much controversy as to whether or not an individual meal is cheaper made cooking in-home than eating out, with nutritional intake and serving size accounted for, you will save a lot more money by eating in! This money-saving strategy will improve your finances and cut down on your stress levels.

Looking for a meal to make? Check out our School of Wellness blog