If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one of the best ways to get there is to avoid eating out on a regular basis. Why? When you eat at a restaurant, there’s no telling what’s in the food or if the meals were prepared safely and/or properly. You won’t have to ask yourself: “What kind of oil was in that burger I ate last night? Was the meat cooked at the right temperature, and where did it come from?”
Of course, eating out is unavoidable at times, especially during the pandemic. Supporting your local restaurants is important right now, as long as you are doing it safely and following the CDC guidelines. Although eating out can be enjoyable and convenient, it is highly encouraged to make more of a habit of cooking and eating in. This will benefit you in more ways than one – one reason being you have control over your own health.
What Happens if I Dine Out on a Daily Basis? – Here are 7 Reasons to Avoid Eating Out:
#1 You May Not Be Getting the Proper Nutrition
Especially when it comes to eating fast food, you may not be getting the nutrition you need. The reason fast food is cheap is because many of their menu items are made from poor quality food products. It may make your tummy full, but what you are usually filling up with are “empty calories” and preservatives that aren’t good for the human body. What health specialists recommend are calories from fruit, vegetables, grains, and meats that also offer vitamins and minerals that are missing from fast food items. New to nutrition? Take a look at the CDC’s Nutrition Page.
#2 You May Be Putting Your Health At Risk
It can be more of a challenge to monitor your portions when dining out because of the “freebies” that are often present at the table: most commonly chips and salsa or bread. Not to mention, those appetizer and dessert menus can be quite tempting. Overeating can result in elevated cholesterol – which can lead to heart disease, or high blood pressure – and elevated sodium levels – which can lead to kidney stones and kidney disease. Additionally, meat heated above certain temperatures can expose people to a chemical called PhIP. This chemical may increase the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. When you prepare your meals at home, you have more control over your ingredient selection and preparation.
#3 You May be Consuming Undisclosed Ingredients
Quality of food is one thing, but have you ever thought about what your food has been exposed to before it reaches your mouth? Toxic chemicals, like polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, have been found in fast food’s packaging. It is also important to note that when you are dining at a restaurant or eating fast food, you often do not know where the food and/or the additives in the food originally came from.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), foodborne disease outbreaks are more common in restaurants than at home. The CDC estimates that 1 out of every 6 Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages each year. Decreasing your daily habit of going out for food could decrease your risk of food poisoning – which is often in result to individuals not being aware of exactly what they are consuming.
Now, are you ready to break that dining out habit and start making home-cooked meals? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a great resource when deciding what to avoid and what your body could use more of.
If you’re ready to change the way you eat, check out our articles on healthy lunches for kids and foods to boost your immune system.