Healthy Diet – The Importance of Eating at Home Instead of Restaurants
Many people nowadays struggle to prepare or cook food at home for a variety of reasons including lack of time, long working hours, social media distraction, tiredness, lack of ideas what to prepare, inability to cook, travelling and many more. Eating out or ordering food seems like the simplest choice for many people – especially in Dubai.
There’s a multitude of benefits for eating at home compared to eating at restaurants or ordering take out. Eating at home means preparing and cooking the food at home, not merely heating up convenience pre-made food bought at the store.
When you prepare and cook food at home, you are able to control exactly what you put into the food. Although many restaurants or convenience food companies claim to be healthy, with no added salt or sugar, or even preservatives, there are often many unknown ingredients added to their food to improve taste. Therefore, eating out often can have harmful effects on your health. Studies have shown that eating out more frequently is linked to higher weight, body fat and obesity. What studies have also shown is that when you consume more fast foods, often you are consuming more calories, fat, saturated fat and sugary drinks and much fewer vegetables and fruit. This can impact your risk for other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even digestive disorders.
A misconception about healthful food is that it is boring and tasteless. Many people eat certain foods purely because it tastes good. It is important to note that cooking and preparing food doesn’t mean a lack of flavour, decreased taste or even boring food. Making use of your favourite herbs and spices as well as healthy oils, for example, can play a big part in making the food taste delicious.
Reasons to prepare healthy diet food at home instead of eating out:
- You can more easily decide on healthier choices
When you eat at home you can choose to use protein sources lower in fat such as skinless chicken or meat without the fat. You are also able to increase the amount of vegetables you consume. When you eat at home you can replace the refined carbohydrates (e.g. white rice, white pasta, etc.) with more complex whole grain versions such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, buckwheat and more.
- Cooking methods at home are controlled
When you prepare food at home to eat, you can decide on the best cooking method to use for your dish. For example, instead of frying, you can bake in the oven, grill or even steam. Cooking methods play a significant role in how healthy a specific food item is.
- You can control the amount of salt (sodium) used
Sodium has a direct impact on blood pressure and many restaurant or convenience foods contain very high levels of sodium. When you prepare foods at home you can rather use herbs and spices that do not contain sodium for flavouring.
- You will experience fewer temptations
Eating out allows for plenty of temptations, such as eating the bread that is served as a complimentary appetizer, ordering dessert, having an extra refill of your favourite soda and many more. At home, you will be less tempted to indulge in these types of treats.
- Better portion control when eating at home
Restaurant portions are often much larger than your body needs. It is very easy to overeat when you eat out compared to when you prepare your own food at home. Portion control will help with managing your weight.
- Higher fibre consumption when cooking at home
Individuals who prepare at home are more likely to eat more fibre-rich food sources such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes compared to typical restaurant-type foods. This will improve digestive health and also have a beneficial effect on heart health and blood sugar control.
- Fewer calories in home-cooked food
Studies have shown that people who are preparing and eating most of their meals at home consume fewer calories than those who eat out – even when weight loss is not the main goal.
- Better fat choices when cooking food at home
When you eat out or order food from outside, the type and amount of fat used in preparation are out of your control. The types of fat chosen are important for a healthy diet, especially your heart health. At home, you are able to choose healthier oils such as olive oil or avocado oil. Restaurants also often reuse oil multiple times which changes the structure of the oil and increases the amount of trans-fats (an unhealthy type of fat).
Overall, when you prepare food at home to eat, the benefits of a healthy diet are much greater than the convenience that you find from ordering in or eat out. Taking care of your health is essential and the food you eat plays a big role in that!
Not sure how to get started? Let our team of nutritionists and dietitians help you with customized eating plans and easy to follow recipes.