If you are leading a busy lifestyle and you are dining out frequently, making a point to eat at home more often can increase your lifespan, health, and happiness. Here are just a few ways:
Restaurant food is more expensive because it has the addition of the restaurant’s costs, labor, and profit added to it, a large markup on drinks, and a tip to the service staff. For the cost of one $40 restaurant meal for two, you could feed those same to two people for 3-4 days cooking at home. If you saved $30 a week by reducing your eating out by just one time per week, that would add up to $1560 a year. Earning a conservative 6% interest, money saved from that one act would grow to over $185,000 over 30 years (assuming 3.2% inflation).
Feel Better and Live Longer
To keep costs down, most restaurants will use the cheapest cooking oils, meats, vegetables, and other ingredients they can find. This may result in low quality or unhealthy ingredients being included in your meal. At home, you can use the freshest and highest-quality ingredients and also know exactly what you are eating. Fresher, higher quality food usually contains more nutrients that give you increased energy, better health, and greater longevity: A study published in 2011 in Cambridge University’s journal Public Health Nutrition followed 1,888 people age 65 or older and found that people who cooked at home for about 5 times per week were 47% more likely to be alive after the 10-year study concluded.
Grow Your Relationships
Eating together is fun! One of life’s greatest pleasures is sharing good food with someone you love, either in a romantic relationship, or simply a family member or friend. It can also help you live longer. A 20-year Mayo Clinic study of 4,000 seniors showed that those who engaged in ongoing social activities as they aged generally lived longer.
If you have a family with children, over the past 15 years researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family dinners at the dinner table (not at the TV) with many behaviors that parents strive for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience. The icing on the cake is that regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. What else can families do that takes only about an hour a day and packs such a punch?
For more on this, see Benefits of the Dinner Table Ritual.