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Home: Your Safest Place to Eat

group of people dining at a restaurant

Researchers tracked about 1,000 people for a week, carefully documenting where and what they ate. What they discovered will not come as a shock: you are likely to eat many more calories when you dine in a restaurant rather than eating at home. Normal weight individuals, on average, consumed 550 calories during a meal at home versus 825 calories at a restaurant. Overweight or obese people consumed 625 calories at home compared to 900 calories when they ate in a restaurant. So when you eat out, you can expect to consume about 50 percent more calories than when you eat at home.

What to do? It’s simple, cook and eat at home more often; aim for dining at home at least 14 meals per week. Harvard researchers have found that by eating more of your meals at home, you are twice as likely to be successful in your efforts to lose excess weight, and you will save money to boot. We eat breakfast and dinner at home almost seven days per week. For our family, probably like yours, lunch for five days a week is by necessity, typically eaten at work or school. Yet even so, for lunch we routinely each build our own large salad, and choose healthy vegetables, top it with a modest amount of lean protein, skip the croutons and fatty dressings and instead drizzle red wine vinegar and olive oil over our creation. In this way you can make your meal out as healthy as lunch at home.

If you don’t have access to a healthy salad bar, pack a lunch, and keep it simple: one protein and two or three colors. Eating at home doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. The key is to have plenty of healthy and easy options at home that are ready to prepare. You are aiming for about 10 servings a day of vegetables and fruit, and home is the easiest place to eat them.

In Good Health,

James O'Keefe, MD

Photo Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons