A report by the USDA Economic Research Service, (report number 90) found that eating one meal away from home a week worsens the quality of the diet and increases calorie intake. And depending on which meal you eat out (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), you will eat less fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or dairy, or more fat or saturated fat.
For the average consumer, eating one meal away from home each week translates to roughly 2 extra pounds each year. Although it is possible to incorporate [food away from home] into a healthy diet, for the average adult, one additional meal eaten away from home increases daily intake by about 134 calories.
I’m not sure how I feel about that.
On one hand, it’s absolutely possible. During the holiday season, I read an article saying that holiday weight gain is exaggerated (less than 2 pounds), and that pigging out during weekends does more harm.
Pigging out at restaurants once a week also seems a plausible cause of slow, long-term, silent weight gain.
On the other hand, I can’t never eat out. Seriously. How many of you agree? There’s something fun about eating out: changing the routine, getting together with friends, or eating dishes difficult to make at home (sushi is our thing!). It’s not just merely the convenience, or the lack of time or skills to make food at home.
The report didn’t make a recommendation against eating out. It simply stated the facts. Knowledge is power. If you are concerned about where the weight came from the past 10 years, this might be the answer.
What are you going to do about this knowledge? Here are my 2 cents:
- –Even if I only eat out once a week, it’s not a ticket to pig out. I will be mindful, select something that sounds satisfying to the taste buds, but I will stop when not hungry anymore–even if I don’t finish my whole plate
- –I will have a meal that revolves around vegetables and fruits
- —I will ask for my vegetables to be cooked without butter
- –I will order whole grains whenever possible
- –I will skip the soda and stick to water
- –I will balance out those extra 134 calories with lighter meals that day, a smaller or no snack, and a good walk
You might like to read: “Heading for the Open Buffet? 6 Strategies to Take Charge”
What are your 2 cents?