Eating out is a great luxury, and a wonderful way to spend time relaxing with family and friends. If you want to enjoy being sociable, if you want celebrate a special occasion, or if you just fancy a change and are feeling lazy, then eating out is a perfect way to enjoy some good food, a different setting and less work for the evening.
However, while eating out is a great way to enjoy an evening on the odd occasion, when it becomes ‘the norm’ and you find yourself eating out two, three or more times a week, then it is no longer a healthy treat and is instead a bad habit. The things that make eating out a great experience are best enjoyed in moderation, and if you are constantly eating in various different locations then you will find that it has more negative effects on your life than you would probably realize.
To illustrate this point, and hopefully to encourage you to eat ‘in’ more often, here we will look at the various negatives of eating out and why you are better off eating in more regularly.
1. It’s Expensive
First of all, eating out is always going to be considerably more expensive than eating in. The reason for this is that eating out means you are paying for the service, for the location, for the effort cooking and then allowing the establishment to make a profit out of it all. If you cook for yourself you buy ingredients so the chain is much shorter, and at the same time you can get a lot of use out of these ingredients. Some cheese, an onion, pasta, some eggs, chopped tomatoes, some bread and some bacon will help you to have a few meals and will cost you a fraction of one of the amount it would cost you to have one meal out. On top of that there’s the transport there and back and parking to take into account, and if you have drinks you’ll spend even more.
2. It’s Time Consuming
Eating at home is much quicker than eating out. Even if you consider the time it takes to cook, you still don’t need to travel anywhere, you still don’t need to order and wait to be served, you don’t need to wait for the bill and there will be less of a pause between courses. If you’re constantly eating out then you will be taking up most of your evening when there are other things to be done.
3. You Don’t Learn Anything
Learning to cook is a worthwhile and highly useful skill – let alone being a lot of fun. If you are always being cooked for then you won’t get to experience that and won’t learn new dishes or get the pride of being able to say you cooked something.
4. It’s Less Healthy
Perhaps the biggest concern with eating out is that it’s much less healthy. There are various reasons for this and there are also ways around it – but as a rule food you eat out tends to be more rich than the food you eat when you’re at home. The reason for this is that they’re trying to attract customers and the food is designed to be enjoyed on special occasions. Food with lots of fat, salt and sugar is stronger in taste, slower to digest and generally more suited to the occasional ‘special meal’.
This is even truer if you find yourself eating at ‘fast food’ establishments. Here the food is prepared and that means it has lots of salt on it simply to keep it from going off. At the same time these meals tend to use poorer cuts of meat and this means there’s more fat, and that more unhealthy flavorings need to be added subsequently making for a much less healthy meal. Further, fat is also added to create the illusion of food that makes you full for longer (as fat is slow to digest).
5. You Don’t Know What’s Gone Into It
At the end of the day, even if you order something healthy you aren’t going to know precisely what’s going into it. This then means that you will end up losing the tight control you can gain over your diet by eating in and cooking for yourself. For instance you make a carbonara yourself and you can do it with just eggs, vegetable oil, lots of onion and red pepper and small amounts of bacon. However eat it out and it’s likely to have lots of cream in it, lots of fat, richer cheese, ham and other meats and generally be a lot less healthy than it could be.
If you are on a diet and trying to avoid certain foodstuffs then you won’t be able to say for certain that they’re not included in what you’re eating, and you won’t be able to keep as steady a food diary (unless you ask the chef to list everything that went into your meal).
6. You Miss Out on Home Comforts
There are many home comforts that can add to your experience when eating in. For instance you can enjoy having some of your own music on, you can chat around the dinner table with family, you can eat in front of the TV and you’ll have access to all the flavorings, drinks and anything else you could want. While eating out can make an exciting environment, it’s just as possible to make it exciting and pleasant to eat at home – and you can certainly make it much more homely and cozy.
7. There Are More Temptations
If you eat out then you will be far more likely to order three courses than you would be at home. You’ll be more tempted to have bread sticks and to order a glass of wine, and far more likely to order a sticky toffee pudding. Because you are out and already spending money, and because it will be presented to you as an option, you will be far more likely to make poor diet decisions if you eat out than you would be if you ate in.
8. The Novelty Wears Off
If you are constantly going to restaurants and other establishments, then how do you mark a special occasion? Suddenly it becomes a lot less ‘special’ to enjoy a meal out and that’s actually quite a shame in itself. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so if you want to look forward to your next time eating out you should try not to do it all the time.
9. You Don’t Control Quantities
Another health reason not to eat out all the time is that you end up eating much bigger plate full of things. This is partly because you will get bigger helpings often (particularly for desert and starter), but also because we want to be seen to be ‘polite’ (nonsense though this is). At home you can have a small dinner if you’re not that hungry, or you can leave what you don’t want. You can also have smaller snacks and though this is a bad thing if you have it on top of your other meals, having just a small chocolate is preferable to eating a huge cake.
10. You Can’t Relax
As mentioned there are creature comforts that come from eating at home, but at the same time the fact you’re in your own environment simply allows you to relax more. You can be as loud as you like, and you can eat in an uncivilized manner. At the same time you know that at the end of the night you don’t have to drive back so you can fully unwind and you can have more than one glass of alcohol if you like (though that’s of course not a great habit to get into either!).