Eating Out Versus Eating In

chinese carryout box

The health benefits of cooking at home have long been talked about.

When you cook at home you can control everything that you put into the meal. You can control what your children eat.

It is more nutritious to eat at home. Frozen prepared foods are not as nutritious because they use less expensive, and less quality products. These prepared foods are just not as nutritious as what you can make at home.

You know exactly what you are putting in your food when you cook at home. In a restaurant you never know what, exactly, is being put in the food you are going to eat.

There are so many excuses not to cook. It takes too long. I don’t know how to. I don’t like cooking for 1. The excuses go on and on.

I feel the only reason why not to cook on a regular basis is if you are only cooking for 1 person- yourself. If you are only cooking for 1, then it is about as expensive to cook for yourself as it is to order something inexpensive from a restaurant. I have tried to work every which way, but economically it just isn’t that big of a difference when eating out versus eating in for 1 person. If you make a good salad for yourself at home you can do it for $10 inexpensively to $20 on the more expensive side.

What makes it worthwhile to cook at home by yourself though, is if you eat leftovers. If you buy a bag of prewashed lettuce ($3.50), tomatoes ($2.00), onion ($1.00), cheese ($5.00), and 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($6.00). You will get 2 good salads for $17.50. It would be hard to find 2 healthy, tasty salads for that price in a restaurant.

When you are cooking for more than 1 person the savings increase even more. I have a wife and 2 children (ages 5 &7). When we get takeout, it is at least $50, more if you count in the tip. Even more than that if you go out for dinner and you pay for alcoholic drinks for 2 adults.

A patient of mine said he, his wife and his 3 children (ages 12, 10 and 7) all went out to a fancy burger places with the fancy milkshakes. He and his wife each had 2 drinks. The bill was $150. He is a plumber. For most of us, that is a lot of money. I can’t afford to pay $150 every night for dinner. I can’t afford to pay $50 every night for dinner for my family from a restaurant. I can pay $50 for a meal occasionally, but not every night.

The less expensive, take-out, $50 meal is going to be less healthy for you than a more expensive take out or restaurant dinner. The ingredients will be better quality.

For $50 I can feed my family of 4 very well. Most of the dinners I prepare are less than $25 total to feed all of us for a night. A bag of lettuce ($3.50), tomatoes ($2.00), onion ($1.00), cheese ($5.00), and 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($9.00), loaf of whole wheat, dinner bread ($4.00). The total is $24.50 for the entire, healthy dinner. There are usually enough leftovers for my wife and myself to have salads for lunch the next day from this $24.50.

Eating leftovers makes that money go even farther now. From that $24.50 6 meals have been prepared. That means that the cost per person, per meal is $4.09. I don’t know any place where you can get a good, quality, tasty, nutritious, chicken salad for $4.09.

If you substitute beans instead of the chicken it is less expensive. If you substitute seafood or red meat for the chicken it will be a little more expensive. But still not nearly as expensive as what you would get when eating out. And it will be healthier.

Store bought salad dressing is expensive and heavy. It can be the most calorie dense part of a salad. 1 tablespoon can have over 200 calories, and they are usually packed with sodium and sugar.

The salad dressing I make is easy, quick, healthy and tasty. 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup vinegar (I like white balsamic), I clove fresh garlic diced, fresh basil cut up, juice from half a lemon, and crushed black pepper. Mix it all together and it is inexpensive, delicious and healthy. I usually make a batch of it and keep it for a few weeks. You can substitute minced garlic or garlic powder, and dried basil, instead of the fresh garlic and fresh basil. You can also add in dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, or anything else you would like. I make a version of this with cilantro (fresh or dried) and lime instead of the lemon and basil/ oregano. This makes a great south western salad dressing.

The savings increase from there if you make breakfast at home and if you pack lunches. For the four of us in my family, I spent $190 today at the grocery store. That will feed us for a week. For the next 7 days between the four of us, 60 meals will come from that grocery shop. That includes breakfast 7 times for 4 people, lunch 5 times for 4 people, and dinner 3 times for 4 people. So on average, for the week, we will spend $3.20 per person per meal.

There are very few places you can buy a healthy, tasty, organic meal for 4 people for $12.80.

If you plan out what to eat for the week, you can buy things that you will use multiple times throughout the week. Instead of buying a bunch of ingredients that you’ll only use once, buy things you can use multiple times throughout the week. Like rice, bread, cheese, milk, eggs, yogurt, etc.

Not knowing how to cook is no excuse. What’s the worst that will happen if you mess up a meal (which every great cook has done)? Then you order take out.

It is easy to cook. It is easy to prepare healthy and tasty meals at home. It just takes a little work and preparation, and following a recipe. To prepare a salad or a dinner usually takes 45 minutes. It takes time to prepare the vegetables and to cook the food. But it is easy to do. Cooking and preparing a meal is easy. Look up a recipe from the internet that looks good, and sounds healthy (, are great resources for finding any kind of recipe you may want) and just follow the directions.

Look up a few recipes that look good to you. Try to find some that have similar ingredients, or at least share some similar ingredients. Do this before you go grocery shopping. It is easy to follow recipes.

Cooking at home is not only healthier, it is less expensive than eating out. It is a smart way to make eating healthy easier. It is the Pain Free way.



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