Many people I know love eating out whether its fast food joints, cafes or restaurants. We are constantly bombarded with commercials from television or social media on how we should indulge in a variety of enjoyable treats.
One reason could be the thrill of trying new menu items and discovering new ways to eat the foods you enjoy the most. Eating out can be both a wonderful and very dangerous thing if its done too often.
In the US, we are blessed to have a variety of restaurants varying in cuisine such as New York, California, and southern states such as Louisiana, specializing in Cajun/Creole food just to name a few. With so many options, we are rarely at a loss for places to dine out.
One of the benefits of eating out is that it saves major time that many busy folks do not have to waste. After spending long hours of work in addition to commuting, few people have the time or energy to return home and cook a decent meal. Eating out seems to be a perfect solution at the end of a long, tiring day.
Eating out can also be great opportunity because we can try a wide variety of tasty foods, including drinks, that we don't have the expertise or ability to make ourselves. No one loves eating the same basic foods over and over again, so eating out can be a good way to give our taste buds something new.
However, if we are not careful and make a habit of eating out too often, It can also be dangerous for a couple of major reasons. First, we must use caution when eating out for the sake of our health and not just for taste. (I know this is a tough one!)
Most restaurants and cafes offer HUGE portions of items that are unhealthy to eat and drink. Eating out often means filling up first on appetizers, then on to a main course, a few high calorie beverages, and a dessert to finish off the evening. Wow! Think about how many calories you can consume during a meal like this.
Now don't get me wrong,. I am not, of course, saying we should never enjoy eating out. For me, eating out now at restaurants is more about being social with family or friends with the benefit of enjoying their company including my own mindful selection of tasty items.
So how do you balance it all? If you truly love to dine out, make it a once a week lovely meal of your choice and then continue on with your healthy habits .(This is what I do occasionally that keeps me sustainable with my healthy habits.) If you truly are a social butterfly and really enjoy dining out with friends or family, make the conscious choice to at least only eat half of the meal you choose or choose healthier options that won't derail your healthy lifestyle. When you think about it, there are ways of eating out healthily, it just takes a conscious effort.
Another huge reason to be careful about eating out too often is your finances. It is no secret that eating out can really put a dent in your pocketbook, compared to cooking more meals at home. It is easy to accumulate large bills especially if you use a credit card and not cash, and enjoy fine dining at nicer restaurants. So be careful that you stick to a budget when you make plans for eating out.
Eating out can be one of life's greatest pleasures. just be aware of your food choices and do it with caution, but most importantly, enjoy!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator