Reasons to Cook at Home Tonight
When you compare grabbing fast food and going to a restaurant, going to a restaurant always sounds like the better choice. But sometimes that isn’t the case and it creates some compelling arguments for why cooking at home is the best option of all.
The portion sizes at restaurants are larger, and even when we are aware of portion control we don’t always follow it. There are other factors at play at a sit down dinner including simply that the meal times are generally longer. The more time you spend with a dish in front of you, the more likely you are to keep eating it. Plus many people are socially affected, in that when we see other people still eating we’re more likely to keep on going as well. Add to that any drinks we might not have had at home and we’re not only consuming more calories through them, but if their alcoholic they can also cloud or judgement.
In many ways restaurant food will beat out fast food any day, but when it comes to salt and cholesterol a lot of restaurant meals end up being higher than fast food. (Partly because you’ll generally eat more.) Frightening thought. Restaurants want their food to taste good, so unless the place is specific about their health goals tread carefully even with seemingly healthy foods. Plenty of unassuming salads are covered with salty chicken and sugar laden dressings.
If you do make eating out a habit, try to find restaurants that are open about their ingredients and cooking processes so you have a better idea about what you’re getting. And the rest of the time make your own healthy meals so you can control what you’re putting into your body. This is particularly important if you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients like refined sugar, processed carbs, or animal products.
We could all use a little more to spend on drinks this weekend right? Cooking some of your meals at home instead of eating out all the time can start to save the big bucks pretty quickly. Fresh and healthy ingredients are generally pretty reasonable at the grocery store and you can get a lot of use out of everything if you commit to it. An onion for example is less than a dollar and can be used for multiple meals as a flavor enhancer and a boost of nutrients.
Not to get all sappy here, but cooking for other people and to nourish yourself is a certain sort of respect that can carry into other areas of your life. When you know exactly what is going into your food you are more likely to embrace making good decisions instead of turning a blind eye. You know, adult stuff like taking responsibility and all that. Plus the act of cooking itself can be a calming sort of walking meditation that helps you unwind at the end of the day instead of getting amped up before bed.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.