You come home from a long day of work to find frozen chicken thighs in the freezer. The thought of thawing them, cooking them and finding a side dish to serve alongside them? Not convincing.
Instead, you pull up UberEats or Grubhub to order dinner from a restaurant near you. You do this even though you’ll have to pay not only for the food but also a delivery fee, too, in most cases. That chicken might already be in your house, but it’s frozen far too solid to be convenient.
People are willing to pay for convenience – sometimes even rather hefty fees. A lot of people pay for things like lawn care, household cleaning, and a good parking spot - especially if you commute. But, let's talk about the true cost of dining out. It’s not just about the amount of extra money you will spend dining out, ordering delivery or picking up take-out. Dining out also impacts your waistline as the food typically has much more fat, carbs, and sodium.
Sure, everyone likes to enjoy a dinner out every now especially if the atmosphere is just right, the food is tasty and the service is great, the meal is considered perfect. But, is it?
Restaurants are in business to make money and calorie counting is not at the top of the list. Large chain restaurants have corporate chefs whose sole responsibility is to create mouth watering, can’t stop eating it, food. Calories, fat, carbohydrates and the many other nutrient values that are recommended are typically lost in the sea of making a tasty dish with little regard to nutrition.
Two fried chicken patties used as a bun with cheese and mayo stuffed in the middle is being sold in a major chicken chain. Another chain sells an awesome Asian salad as far as taste goes, but with the toppings and salad dressing it has more than 800 calories. See our blog about The Skinny on Salad.
At a restaurant, you have almost no control over how most items are prepared and you are leaving your health and wellness in the hands of the chef in the back. If you’re tracking macros, it can be hard to track accurately even when the nutritional values are posted. Why? Each chef cooks slightly different - a heavy hand in the olive oil? A gift of an additional 120-200 calories just for you! Not to mention the portion sizes are typically 2-3x more than the healthy portion sizes recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines!
At home, you control how much salt is being used, what fat you use to cook with, the quality of the food product and most of all, your in control of your health and wellness. You know exactly what your macros are and you can portion out your food appropriately.
“Dining/ordering out saves me time,” is far far from the truth. Have you ever calculated the actual time it takes to drive to the restaurant, wait for a table, wait for a server, order, and wait again… then drive home with a full belly and take a nap because you’re now tired from the carb overload, fat and salt intake. You know what I mean? If you order delivery, you spend time browsing restaurants, reviewing the menu, ordering more than you should, and you still have to wait for it to be delivered. By the time you’ve gotten your food - you could of meal prepped the entire week at home!
The average person does not want to spend more than 20 minutes to prepare a meal for their family. Choose a recipe or food item that requires the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen.
Plan ahead for days when you have kids’ soccer practice and you know a meal needs to be quick and nutritious, such as balsamic chicken salad. Then on the days where life gives you more time, plan a pot roast with veggies - prep time is 15 minutes and the cook time is three hours. Be a ninja and use your crockpot! One of the quickest and easiest ways to prep chicken is in the InstantPot or Crockpot. Simply add the chicken, ¼ cup water, seasonings and let the machine do the rest!
When all is said and done you must take responsibility for your own health and wellness. Restaurants provide a great service, but in the end, you need to make decisions based on where you are in your weight management goals.
Bottom line: eating at home is more convenient, costs less and above all, it can be a lot healthier.
Still craving that burger? Try this recipe!
Top with pineapple, chicken, jalapeño, banana peppers, etc…
Build your flatbread and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes (Really depends how crispy you like them.)