Monday, January 14, 2008

Health Matters
Eating Out Can Cost You

Of all the money you spend on food for you and your family, how much do you think goes toward eating in restaurants and fast-food joints? If your habits are in line with the average American's, then it's probably between 40 and 50 cents out of every dollar! As a nation, we're increasingly abandoning the kitchen for more convenient options: From 1977 to 1996, consumption of food prepared away from home increased from 18 percent to 32 percent of total calories, with much of that accounted for by fast-food restaurants.

You might be thinking, "So what? Doesn't eating out more mean that people are saving more time and effort by not cooking?" Perhaps it does. But the problem is that eating out doesn't necessarily mean that you're eating well. When eating outside the home, people tend to eat larger portions. In addition, food served in restaurants — especially fast food — tends to be higher in fat. That all adds up to extra calories that will get stored as body fat if they aren't burned. Plus, food prepared away from home tends to give you less fiber, calcium, and iron per calorie than food prepared at home, which means you're not even getting a nutrient bang for that extra calorie buck.

Does eating out still sound like a bargain? We didn't think so. Consider limiting the number of times you eat out — especially when it comes to fast food — to once a week or less. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
Learn more about healthy eating at home.

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