Which is more economical? Eating in or dining out? Everyone will have their opinion, but common sense tells us that eating in is cheaper and almost always healthier than dining out. And by eating in, I don’t mean getting a take-out meal or buying a frozen dinner and taking it home to eat. We’re talking HOME COOKING here. You obviously save money because eating out costs more for the same things, for example, buying and cooking beef mince is generally cheaper than buying a hamburger in a restaurant.
With eating in, you know exactly what goes into your food and you decide on the portion size. With all the cookbooks out there, you can whip up a fancy meal in just about the same way as a fancy restaurant at a fraction of the cost. However, this all depends on where you live, what you eat and how well you can cook and does require some planning and personal effort. And if you shop like we do, you can save even more. (Check the ‘reduced to clear’ sections and buy in bulk the items you use frequently. I buy whole wheat flour in 10kg bags because I bake my own bread and it’s much cheaper to buy the large bag as opposed to the small 1.5kg bags, especially when you find it in the reduced to clear section!)
Home-cooked food is almost always healthier. Most restaurant meals are loaded with fat, sugar, and calories. Butter is the restaurant’s chef’s best friend. And for many people, dining out actually takes more time than eating in. Unfortunately, time can also be an issue. Many choose to eat out because they don’t have time to cook for themselves or their families. About 60% of mothers work outside the home.
Now I’m not saying that you should never eat out, but eating out should be used for special occasions or perhaps once or twice a month as a treat. Whether you go to the local chain restaurant or to that fancy place you’ve been dying to try, if you don’t go very often, you’ll appreciate it more.
In September 2011, The New York Times did a price comparison on fast food vs. home cooking.
(It’s been so long since I’ve eaten fast foods; that McDonald’s meal doesn’t even look very appetizing! I assume there’s a burger in between that bun on the right?)
So what do you think? Is eating in better/cheaper/healthier than eating out?