I know that in today's busy world, it is convenient to order in, go through a drive-thru, or stop for a quick bite. But there is a price to be paid for convenience. Not only will you be spending more on your food budget, but you will also be paying for it with your health, weight, and family time. Back in my mom's day, women cooked at home and ate at the same time every night, the family sat down to a meal. They talked about their day, or upcoming plans. They joked, laughed, and connected with each other over their meal. Somewhere along the way, this was lost. In most homes today, both parent's are working, if there are two parent's in the home. Longer hours at work, lead to stress and exhaustion, which leads to less family time. Even if the entire family does go out to dinner, so there is more time to talk, you are taking a gamble with your weight and health. Portion sizes today, are so out of whack. When you order dinner at a restaurant or fast food place, your portion will be at least two to three times bigger than it should, and you will more than likely eat all of it or most of it. The CDC has actually reported that restaurant food portions are FOUR times bigger than they were in the 1950's. Also, when someone else is preparing yours and your families food, you have no control over what goes in it. Restaurant food has extra sugar, sodium, and fat. They are in a business to make money, and these ingredients are pleasing to most people. They want it to be good, and addictive, so you will be sure to come back.
Am I saying you should never go out to eat? No, that's not even almost realistic. I eat out plenty myself, but there are some things you can do to make the experience a more healthy one. First, go somewhere where they offer a lighter, healthier menu. If you aren't sure if the restaurant offers one, check their website before heading out. Many restaurants do offer their nutritional values on their website as well. Immediately, order a glass of water. Preferably, with lemon. Cold water with lemon, helps to increase your metabolism, while filling up your belly to make you full. Also, politely ask the server not to bring your table any bread or chips, while you are waiting for your food. This is just mindless eating that will end up being a few hundred extra calories. If possible, split a meal with someone at your table. I bet you will find that you are full on only half. If you can't split, then ask the server to bring you a to go box, when they bring your meal. Immediately, put half of your dinner in the container. Even if there isn't a light menu, ask for what you need. Order your food to be made without oil or butter. Ask for butter, sour cream, or dressing on the side. It's your food. You have to eat it, and pay for it, so you should get it the way you want. What's more important...being less of a nuisance, or helping yourself live a healthier life?
Start taking a more active role in your families health and quality time. Plan your meals. Ask them what they would enjoy having that week. If possible, include your kids in meal preparation. Not only is it more time together, but they are more likely to eat something that they helped prepare. Make meal time a family event, that everyone can look forward to. No cellphones or electronics. Just communicating with one another. Is my house like this every single night? No, but I do my best. I plan our meals every week, and do my best to get everything to come together. You can't do it on your own, though. It takes the help of everyone to get it to come together.