Dining out can be a lifesaver, but doing it too often will likely lead to making a healthy lifestyle more challenging. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it just makes it more difficult. If you can get in the habit of cooking at home, and really save the dining out to maybe once or twice a week, you’ll reap even more positive benefits.
Here are some of those benefits to think about:
- Avoiding rancid oils. Most restaurants cook with cheap oils that quickly oxidize at high heats, making them rancid. These rancid oils (although they might taste OK) have a negative impact on your heart health and significantly increase inflammation in the body (think poor skin, joint pain, memory issues, poor sleep, bad gut and so on). If you do dine out, consider bringing your own salad dressing (Primal Kitchen is my favorite brand because it’s made with avocado oil) and consider asking them to cook your food in butter.
- Eating fewer calories and less salt. Not that I suggest you count calories or limit salt, it’s just much easier to get higher quality food and control what’s in it when you’re cooking at home. Think how much healthier (and smaller) a taco salad that you construct at home would be compared with one you purchase at a restaurant that’s served in a deep-fried shell (not to mention the tempting chips and salsa beforehand).
- No tempting bread basket – just like the chips and salsa. If you do dine out, ask your server to hold the breadbasket so that you don’t even have to see it or smell it.
- Less pressure on your wallet. You’ll definitely find you save money by eating in. Plus, you’ll get the added awesome benefit of developing the skill of cooking and passing it along to whomever else might be living with you.
As hectic as your evenings might be, potentially with your family members running around and getting home at different times, you’ll still experience the benefits; it’s worth your time and energy investment because food is the most powerful medicine. If you have young children, you’ll also establish healthy habits within them that will last a lifetime. And when you do dine out, remember to choose those restaurants that serve quality ingredients. How you fuel your body is the No. 1 most important thing you can do for your health. Put the right gas in the tank and your engine will run at an incredible level.
Ashley Lucas has a doctorate in sports nutrition and chronic disease. She is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the founder and owner of PHD Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. She can be reached at 764-4133.