Dining out can be a special treat after a busy week, a way to celebrate special occasions or a means to socializing with friends. However, individuals who want to exercise control over their diets may find eating at home is easier.
According to a Rasmussen Report, many Americans dine out at least once per week. But entrée options on restaurant menus may be high in calories and compromise dieters’ efforts to slim down.
Research published by Tufts University found the average dinner entrée is 1,500 calories. Depending on age and gender, health experts say that adults need somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. The Energy Metabolism Laboratory found that 92 percent of meals from large-chain and local restaurants contain more than the recommended calories.
If dining out is compromising diners’ attempts to lose weight or maintain healthy weights, then exploring the following benefits to dining at home might be enough to compel them to enjoy more meals prepared in their own kitchens.
Benefits to cooking at home
• Cooking creates more control over ingredients, including those that might not promote weight loss.
• Cooking enables you to regulate the amount of food served, better controlling portion sizes.
• Dining together as a family has been linked to benefits like improved conversation, reduced substance abuse in children and reduced obesity in families.
Tips to preparing a meal plan
• Plot out a meal plan for the week. Purchase ingredients for all recipes during one visit to the store.
• Choose meals that can be prepared in advance over the weekend and then heated up during the week.
• Incorporate a “leftovers day” into the schedule to prevent wasting food.
• Stock up on staples that can be included in many different meals, such as chicken, beans, potatoes, and noodles.
• Recognize that frozen or canned vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh items and stored safely for longer periods of time.
• Use a blend of convenience items and fresh ingredients for healthy meals. Meals need not be entirely made from scratch.
Cooking at home can control ingredients and portion sizes, can help men and women lose weight and maintain healthy weights.