Sometimes, it is hard to choose whether to eat in and cook your own food, or dine out. To do so, it is vital to understand the good and bad points for each decision, especially in terms of health. While eating in is usually healthier, dining out does not need to compromise your nutritional needs. There are also ways to elevate the nutritional capacity of the food that you eat at home.
Benefits of Cooking and Dining In
When you cook and eat your meals at home, it gives you the prerogative to choose the ingredients and preparation modes yourself. This gives the opportunity to prioritize nutritious ingredients without sacrificing the palatability of your meal. Home cooking will also help you discipline yourself in terms of meal portioning, especially when you are on a diet and you have to control the amount of food you eat at mealtimes.
Perhaps the only drawback of dining in is the possibility of leftover meals which might go off if not consumed thereafter. This may be because it is hard to consistently consume nutritious food. Actually, doing such does not mean it’s healthier overall than having cheat days at times. Nutritionists suggest that there should still be variety in what you eat so that you enable yourself to gain the necessary minerals and vitamins.
What about Dining Out?
Typically, eating out is a good experience because it can present as a fresh change from having to dine at home all the time. While this is good to consider and try at times, nutrition capacity is the major disadvantage for such options. Meals ordered in fast foods and restaurants generally have more than the necessary servings. In fact, one meal may be enough for you to last for a day. This meal may be packed with calories than what you cook at home. It may also be filled with preservatives, colorings, and other substances which may be harmful to the body.
Points to Consider
To mitigate the ill and unhealthy effects of dining outside, there are certain points to consider. First, you don’t have to finish one ordered meal in one go because such meal may have a large serving. There is also a need to do away with food that are high in calories and fat content, such as fried and sugary food, as well as pastas. That said foods that are also not filled with nutrients compared to others. As your main choice, prioritize meal orders that are nutritious such as those that contain fruits and vegetables, light and guilt-free sauces and whole grains.
Once you eat in, you need to avoid meals that are already ready made or takeouts, because it is like the equivalent of eating outside. Usually, they are high in calories and may contain preservatives and other unnecessary substances which you could have prevented when you cook your meals yourself. Be aware also of the fat content in what you eat, especially when you prepare your own salad. Some dressings or sauces in a salad are high in fat and may be packed with as much as 500 calories in one small serving.
For dining out, you may consider having already half of it be packed so you can take it home and save the rest of the food and its calories at a later time. This will make you manage what you consume and your appetite as well, and gives you advance meals for the rest of the day or for the next one. If you dine out and order salad, you may ask for a lighter and guilt-free dressing, so you can have an alternative that is lower in fat and calories.
As for dining in, you may maximize the nutrients that you take in from the meals that you cook. From the time you buy your produce and groceries, aim for variety to avoid monotonous ingredients. It helps to try a new recipe each time to motivate you to buy a new healthy ingredient. This will help you break the eating habits and gives you more avenues for healthier living. New recipes may come in the first of other cuisine or another way of cooking. Of course, make sure that you enjoy a balanced diet. You should have enough protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in your food, while minimizing sodium and fat. At times, you may consult books or websites that specialize on healthy recipes for you to consider further options on this matter.