10 September 10 Eating In Might Lead to Thin

Preparing your meals at home may offer some cost-cutting advantages over eating out, but there are also several good reasons to believe that cooking more meals in your kitchen can trim your waistline too.

Americans eat out 4-5 meals a week on average, according to Katie Bogue, Registered Dietitian and former director of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Regional Nutritional Network in California. A slice of pizza here, a burger there, all of it adds inches under our belts over time. As a nation, about 45 million people eat out at restaurants each day (Ironically, this is the same number of Americans who belong to a gym!).

When people eat out, they generally consume 50 percent more calories, fat and sodium than had they cooked at home. And portions at restaurants are 5-6 times the recommended size published by MyPyramid.

By preparing more meals at home, people have more control over what goes on their plates. You can give yourself more nutrient-rich vegetables than typically come on a protein-stacked restaurant dish. And you can cook enough food for yourself and your family so there's leftovers for lunch throughout the week. Given that a common recommendation for weight control is to eat smaller, more frequent meals (every 3-4 hours), those who go out to a restaurant are often stuck over-indulging themselves because they haven't planned or packed a snack and may have to go 5-6 hours until their next meal.

Another incidental waist-trimming benefit of home cooking is the extra time you give yourself. Factor in getting yourself ready to go out, traveling to/from the restaurant, waiting for your table, waiting for your order, waiting for your check, and you have spent a lot of time you could have used for exercise. Try creating a new family routine of taking a post-dinner 20-30 minute walk together.

And people who pack their lunches for work have greater flexibility in their day. They can choose to eat at their desk and then go for a lunchtime walk, or head to a nearby park for some fresh air. And since you can easily pack your lunch from the previous night's leftovers, you waste no time in the morning trying to come up with a healthy meal.

To help you get in the practice of at-home cooking, spend about 45 minutes every Sunday planning a menu for the upcoming week. This planning will save you time shopping at the grocery store and may help prevent stocking your shelves with some last-minute, tempting sugary snacks.

So how often do you eat out? Are you in that "average" category?

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Dining Out/Portion Size & Calories

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