It’s 7pm, you’ve just got home from work and your stomach is more than ready for dinner. There’s just one issue; you really can’t be bothered to cook and Zizzis seems to be calling your name. We have been programmed to believe that eating out is inherently unhealthy for us – but how bad really is it?
Of course, it all depends on what your fitness goals are as to what kind of impact certain eating habits will have on your body, so in the interests of simplicity we will assume that you are aiming for fat loss and therefore a daily calorie deficit.
When you cook at home you are in complete control of what you put into your food. You can make the conscious decision to omit certain ingredients and crucially, control your portion size. However, when you eat at a restaurant, you really have no idea what really goes into your seemingly innocent bowl of pasta. We all know that cream, butter, sugar and most other full fat, high calorie ingredients taste great, and this is exactly why chefs use them in copious amounts. Remember it is their job to create food that tastes amazing, not food that fits into your low-calorie diet!
The food itself isn’t the only component to eating out which you must factor into your calorie intake – alcoholic drinks (and non-alcoholic) can be hugely detrimental to your daily goal and come as part and parcel of a meal out. A large glass of wine provides around 230kcals – that’s roughly the equivalent of a doughnut or ice cream!
Home cooked food can taste just as good (often better) whilst providing just a fraction of the calories and even more nutritional benefit, as well as saving you a hell of a lot of money. With this in mind, here are a few examples which may make you think twice about what you decide on for dinner tonight:
Pizza Hut 13’’ Margherita - 2128
Home cooked equivalent - 700
Bills Fish Pie - 884
Home cooked equivalent - 450
GBK Cheese & Bacon Burger + Chips - 1617
Home cooked equivalent - 650
Costa Chicken & Bacon Wrap - 532
Home cooked equivalent - 350
It is clear that there are health benefits to both eating out and cooking at home, whether these are psychological benefits in relation to seeing friends and not missing out on social events, or simply choosing a lower calorie option. Whichever you choose, the key is to be mindful of what you are consuming and make an educated decision.
Eating out is not a sentence to incomprehensible fat gain and Type 2 Diabetes, nor will one meal out completely scupper your fitness goals.
Your health is in your hands. Choose wisely!