The benefits of cooking at home vs eating out saves expenses here and there. It might not seem much, but once you do some pencil-pushing, you could get the shock of your life. Things can add up pretty fast, and that is so true when it comes to eating out at restaurants. Whenever some belt-tightening becomes necessary, one of the first nuggets of advice you here is to stop eating out so much to save money
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out. That amount is certainly no loose change. For the sake of argument, the food you cook at home might not be as savory as what is prepared in a restaurant. There might be times splurging on a dish made by a professional is worth it.
People go to restaurants for many reasons – to date, to celebrate, to let loose, to try something new, to socialize, to take a break from the daily grind. However, if you dine out habitually for the sake of convenience, maybe it is time to evaluate this habit. You could save some serious money cooking at home. There are also so many other advantages that come with it other than monetary savings.
So before you go running out to buy an apron and put on the iconic chef’s toque Blanche, here are some compelling reasons to consider cooking at home more frequently.
Cooking at Home vs Eating Out
It is Safer Cooking at Home Compared To Eating Out
Cooking at home means that you are able to supervise every step of the process. This translates to safer food preparation. You can observe your own hygienic standards and make sure that all the food is prepared with the utmost care and cleanliness.
This may sound surprising but thousands of people get sick from eating in restaurants due to foodborne illness outbreaks. When you cook at home, you have control over things you otherwise might not if you ate out. How long you wash your hands, how you select the ingredients, how long you wash your vegetables, and how fresh is your poultry, beef, pork, and so on.
When you eat out, you have little control over such things that are so important. In contrast, when you are cooking at home there is no second-guessing what’s on your plate, who put it there, was the cook hygienic, and other vexing questions that can become frustrating to even ponder. If it comes from your own kitchen, you are the purchaser, the cook, the server, busboy, and cleaning person all rolled into one.
It Is Healthier
Now things become even more beneficial. While safety is a great thing to have when it comes to food preparation, that does not necessarily equate to healthier food. Cooking at home is infinitely healthier since you can also control all the dishes served and everything that goes into each one. Ingredients can be meticulously selected for freshness, and food can be prepared with quality in mind rather than commercial gain.
There is that old saying that “You are what you eat,” but, do you know what you are eating? When you get food from a restaurant while eating out, you have no idea what kind of junk they are putting on your order or shortcuts they might be employing in the name of a better profit margin. Do not forget that restaurants are a business, and as such, they will always have the bottom line as the most important goal.
When you cook at home you can be mindful of the health issues and concerns and cook accordingly. How much oil is in there? What kind of cooking oil do we use? How much sugar was added to the dish? How much heavy cream is in the soup? Is this really fresh meat? The questions can go on, but you can remedy all of this by cooking at home.
Furthermore, keep in mind that if you are cooking at home, you have choices before you. One can avoid copious amounts of butter and use olive oil instead, or you can avoid using high glycemic potatoes and opt for healthier sweet potatoes. Healthier eating scenarios are endless.
Finally, cooking at home results in smaller, controlled portions. You are better able to control the size of your meal, unlike in a restaurant. When eating out, there is a tendency to eat everything they put before you, even if you have passed the point of satiation. Do you know why? Let’s face it, when you dine out, getting your money’s worth is always at the back of your head. When you cooking at home, you won’t have this thought bothering you, and besides, you can always keep leftovers.
It Is Cheaper Cooking at Home Compared To Eating Out
This must now be really connecting with all the tightwads out there. As mentioned earlier in this post, always be mindful that restaurants are a business. There is a monetary goal that they have to achieve to stay afloat and be profitable. Restaurants also employ professionals to prepare food and provide the attendant services.
Chefs, waiters, cleaning people, busboys, are just some of the basic staff a restaurant will have to hire. There also is the rent of the place and a walloping electric bill a restaurateur has to contend with. Then there is the gas you need to get yourself to the establishment, not to mention parking fees. All these little things add up.
The cost of a restaurant’s overhead ultimately lands on your plate. Literally. Mark-ups in the business might shock you, but as they say “that’s business!” The markups associated with lunch and dinner meals vary, but there is a ballpark area. It is estimated that 300 percent rate is the average mark-up in most establishments, meaning that is three times the food’s actual cost that you are forking out (pardon the pun). Now, do you still find it appetizing to eat out?
It Is More Fun, Exciting, and a Constant Learning Journey
Cooking at home is an adventure. The culinary process is always a fun one, and you will find it extremely satisfying to create dishes you thought only professional chefs could make. With all the resources these days, there is no shortage of where you can get a free cooking tutorial. Get a cookbook, watch a YouTube cook vlogger, or tune in to your favorite celebrity chef on cable. It is so easy to learn how to cook new dishes.
Whether it is just a new way to roast chicken, or a new Thai exotic beef stew, the only limit to cooking at home is your desire to explore the gastronomic world. There are no boundaries and you go on and on learning new recipes, variations on dishes, cooking tricks, and even some food science.
Cooking at home also teaches you food economics. You will be more familiar with every expense that goes into various meals and dishes. Budgeting and prioritizing in the kitchen will become second nature to you in no time. Every penny you spend will go to a good part of the cooking equation.
It Is More Inclusive
When you cook at home, you automatically create many opportunities for fellowship and bonding. There is absolutely no denying that home cooking takes planning and effort. As such, it can also be an excellent way to bring the family together around a fun shared activity. They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and cooking brings that saying to life. You and your partner could jointly prepare a meal for the entire family, while your kids could experiment with some adventurous dish.
Friends can even come over and partake of the fun. It especially nice to see young people bond together over the activity of cooking or baking. It also brings back many special memories of happy kitchen gatherings.
Conversely, cooking at home can also be a solitary activity and serve as a much-needed meditative time. Home cooking has the power to rejuvenate and bring a sense of belonging and purpose. It also has the ability to reduce stress (as long as you are not under pressure to cook). The reward of this newfound creative endeavor is also instantaneous. You get to savor the delectable and nutritious dishes of your labor immediately with family and friends
It Is More Predictable
There are very few surprises when cooking at home (except for the occasional cooking disaster). You know exactly what you want and that is exactly what you get. This will range from dishes at specific meals, like what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the day. A sense of anticipation will allow you to look forward to a meal since you and the entire family know what is coming up. You will also be able to sift through various recipes and handpick the dishes that your family loves.
Planning is not only achievable daily for dish scheduling, but you can look at entire weeks as you create a culinary roadmap for eating at home. The frequency (or rarity) of specific dishes will become apparent as you see the meal landscape, and planning becomes much easier.
Be A Step Ahead Of Allergens
It is quite traumatic when you get a bad allergic attack from food. For those living with bad reactions to common allergens, a restaurant visit can easily turn into a hospital ordeal. For perspective, more than 30 million people in the United States suffer from food allergies. That is a big number. Food allergies are no joking matter. All it takes is a chef who prepares food in the same pan previously used with ingredients you are allergic to and bam! You can suffer through a host of symptoms. In extreme cases even death.
While many restaurants are good with being on the radar for allergies among their clientele, we cannot expect them to take full responsibility. Cooking at home puts you in control of allergic accidents or foul-ups. You can be 100% certain about what you or your family is eating. Everyone can be at ease with what they are taking in. You can be on the lookout for the usual suspects, shrimp, chicken, nuts, and all the other common food triggers.
For people with food allergies, eating at home is the single, safest way to avoid having an episode. Like we mentioned earlier in this post, you are in control, and in the know, in the home kitchen. It is reassuring to know firsthand that there are no peanuts in the piecrust.
Create Your Own Family Traditions by Cooking At Home
We usually break bread with the people we love, the folks who are dear to us. Eating is a shared activity that defines family. Many traditions are events that revolve around the dining table. For instance, who does not look back longingly at that special stew Granny would cook every Easter. Or how about that delicious pizza only Uncle Hector could put together for all the kids. Then there is that singularly scrumptious apple pie Auntie Betty would make every Thanksgiving.
Many of our life’s milestones revolve around family gatherings, and when loved ones come together, there is always sumptuous food. Regardless of culture or race, food will always be a great bonding force.
This post does not mean to put down restaurant eating at all. Many fabulous eating-places deserve every penny you pay. As long as you are discerning about where you eat, restaurant eating is entirely fine. For the sake of variety and breaking our routines, visiting these places is something we all do. Going out to eat at a quality establishment is certainly a treat we all deserve every once in a while.
However, for the most part, cooking at home is a routine that is practical and wise for any homemaker or family looking to stretch a budget. It makes optimal use of limited resources, but yields so many benefits for the entire family. There is no place like home, especially when it comes to the kitchen.