My husband has an addiction. He loves to eat out. He says it is not my cooking. It’s not the clean-up even. He see’s going out to eat as a mini vacation, a little escape. A retreat where we can spend a short time as a family and indulge in something new and different, in a different atmosphere. Its a culinary adventure and escapism.
I get it! I do. I like eating out occasionally also. After a trying work week, who feels like cooking? It is nice to not go in the kitchen for a few meals. The problem is that we are doing it to much. The problem came to light when I started the 21 day fix. On the Fix it was a struggle to order anything. The portions were to big, the dishes had too many ingredients and added sauces, dressings and other accoutrements. What I came to realize was that each weekend we are eating lunch and dinner and sometimes even breakfast, out of the house. Sometimes this was due to convenience. We are running errands and did not get back in time for dinner. Sometimes, it was a planned treat.
In the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, he and his research team conducted study after study that investigated peoples food consumption habits while eating out. They noted time and again that if people are offered more food they eat it. The USDA says people eat on average 18 to 32 percent more calories when eating away from home. Portions are bigger, and restaurants are more concerned with providing you with what taste good, not necessarily what is good for you. That is your job anyway.
When I was growing up, going out to eat was an occasional special event. Now it is something we do so frequently my son knows each restaurant by name when we pass it in the car.
“Look Mommy, there is Wendy’s.” Is something I often hear on our drive home from school.
Beyond the calories, the added fat and larger portions we are consuming there is also monetary cost. This is getting really expensive! After examining our budget we are spending an extra $250 to $300 a month on eating out. That is on the conservative side. I’m sure if I accurately tracked it, it would be more!
That leaves me with a delima. I don’t feel I am being fair by asking my husband to stop eating out since he never spends money on himself. (Really he very rarely does.) However, it is costing us a bundle and is not really very healthy for the whole family.
So far all I have come up with to compete with the eating out is freezer cooking and heat and eat meals in the fridge. But since school has started, I don’t even know if I can find the time to make them every week. I need more than that to prevent a stop at Wendy’s or Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner out. I am sending out a plea to anyone who has been in this situation. Please give me some suggestions. After trying out these ideas and anyother suggestions, I will do a recap post and let you know what worked.