Have you ever thought how many meals a week you are eating away from home? If you lead a busy lifestyle, chances are there are quite a few. It might be a lunch you forgot to pack before you leave home in the morning, a well deserved meal after a hard day’s work or simply a piece of afternoon cake to give you an energy boost. Dining out and take away meals have become easier than ever and for good reason. We need a treat and we need to nurture ourselves. But is it better for us? There are pros and cons to both eating at home and dining out. Let’s have a closer a look at both.
Do you know what you are eating?
Of course you know what you are eating. You have just opened a pack of salad and you are now drizzling the mother of sauces on it for your lunch. One out of your five a day list checked. But did you have a look at the ingredients label? You might be surprised to find how high the salt content of your apparently innocent salad actually is. There is some cured ham, a bit of salty cheese, the sauce and so on and so forth. Ready-made food is certainly convenient but we are not necessarily aware of the nutrients we are consuming.
If you have an allergy or you are on a specific diet, you are already more aware of what you are eating. Dining out might has similar implications. Undoubtedly, a professional cook has prepared your meal with great care and skill. It doesn’t only save you the hassle of cooking yourself but dining out is enjoyable on a casual day as much as on a special occasion. Most restaurants are offering excellent menus taking into account special dietary requirements. As for quality, it’s possibly the freshest you can get. Knowing what you are eating when dining out will help you make a healthier choice. Cooking at home, however, is guarantee that the quality of your ingredients will always be the best. You will choose your cooking oils, the freshest vegetables and fruit and you will make thoughtful meal plan for your family. Sourcing ingredients yourself and having your home recipes at the ready will always make for a healthier choice.
Which is the most budget friendly?
Budgeting for food can be a riddle. If you are catering for a family, chances are you already know it is much better to prepare meals at home. It’s not so much the case if you leave alone. You will need to run the chores of shopping, cooking and spend more or less the same money on groceries as you would on take-outs. It is tempting to simply dine out and enjoy a meal at the company of friends. Again, restaurants can offer excellent quality food but you get what you pay for. An excellent quality meal will often come with a high price tag. So if eating out translates into fast food that keeps you in budget, you might need to think again on the health benefits.
What is the healthiest choice?
Eating out doesn’t always mean unhealthy and it doesn’t always have to be expensive neither. There are plenty of choices out there that can balance both. People with dietary restrictions nowadays find more options to cater for their allergies for instance or a low salt diet. The advantages of home cooking however, is that you are always in control of your ingredients as well as the cleanliness of your kitchen. Home recipes will always allow to adjust your favourites, get the most out of the flavours you love without the guilt or health risk.
Cooking at home can often become a chore especially when returning home late at night after a busy day. This is when we often fall in the trap and our eating out habits become unhealthy. Either as means of gratification we will indulge in a bar of chocolate or a Chinese takeaway. Does it have to be unhealthy? Well, it depends on what’s on offer. Because when your choices are microwavable meals and you dive in the desserts section or salty snacks, things start to get nasty.
It’s easy to see that home cooking is a healthier and much more budget friendly choice whether you leave alone or with your family. This is the case if you source yourselves the best of the ingredients and make your home recipes, delicious and healthy. Put a little thought into your meals, make them interesting and keep your treats on check. There is no need to deny yourself a treat, but make it worth it and keep it balanced. After all we are what we eat.