The ambience is just right, the service friendly, and the taste exactly to your liking. A perfect meal then? A big, fat, sugary, salty NO. Despite restaurants around the world offering healthier options to lure today’s health-conscious audience, their menus still come laden with fat, bad cholesterol, and empty calories and stand no chance when compared to a simple home cooked meal.
Today there are more than 1 billion overweight adults across the world and the incidences of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension are rising manifold. The worrying statistics have a direct connection to the fact that millennials, as we like to call ourselves, are spending more money on eating out than in buying groceries. Shocking, but true. Before we come to a point of losing our generations to the global obesity epidemic and related conditions, it’s time we start occupying our dining chairs.
Here are 5 compelling reasons that will help you curb the ‘dining-out’ urge and don your cooking hat instead.
#1 Mind your waistline: Dining out might benefit the economy but it is disastrous to your waistlines. Research validates that home cooked meals are almost always healthier than restaurant meals. Not just weight gain, restaurant food is associated with an overall higher rate of mortality as statistics reveal that each 10% increase in the concentration of fast food restaurants in a region is linked to a 1.36 times greater risk of all-cause mortality.
#2 Get those nutrients: Most processed and restaurant food is low on nutrients as freezing, drying, cooking, and reheating causes nutrient loss by virtue of exposing foods to high levels of heat, light, and/or oxygen. Restaurant food (see infographic) is also high on Sodium – a major causative factor of hypertension and related conditions.
Home cooking gives you the choice of selecting healthier options like green leafy vegetables, lean proteins, good cholesterol, etc. If great taste is what pulls you to your favourite restaurant every time, try restaurant style food at home with specialized meal kit delivery services like AwesomeChef that deliver authentic, pre-measured ingredients with step by step recipes to help you make lip smacking gourmet meals at home – at a fraction of cost.
#3 Befriend your wallet: Data released by the National Sample Survey Office reveals that the proportion of household expenditure on dining out has increased steadily from 19% to over 30% in the last few years. Indians, traditionally known to spend money wisely are now spending heavily on eating out and losing precious cooking skills that are handed down through generations. The trend is worrying for we are not just losing our hard earned money but also bringing home a host of health conditions in the bargain. Hard pressed for time to cook? You should know that even a simple home cooked meal of something as easy as Dal Khichdi makes for a wholesome meal. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar vouches for it and even advises a generous dollop of ghee on top of it for better taste and digestion.
#4 Spare a thought for the environment: Home cooking requires less energy and resources and is therefore easy on the environment as compared to processed and restaurant food. Growing/producing own food consumes less than half of the energy it takes to process food. For example, 7 kilocalories (kCal) of energy go into producing food, but processing, packaging, and transporting it takes another ten.
#5: Get Your Pulses Back: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) has declared 2016 as the ‘Year of Pulses’. The organization says that the world needs plant protein to counter the double burden of malnourishment and obesity. Obesity costs the world $ 2.1 trillion annually and starvation deaths abound. Eating plant protein, which when combined with cereals, as in traditional Indian cuisine makes for a complete meal and can cut the risk of ‘Diabesity’ – Diabetes and Obesity arising out of chronically unregulated blood sugars, the root cause of that staggering trillion-dollar cost. The bottomline is clear – don’t eat what your grandparents never ate. Ditch the fancy quinoa, muesli, and brown rice and embrace your home cooked dal bhat, sambhar, idli instead.
You don’t have to be a MasterChef to rustle up a delectable fare
Food you cook in your kitchen where you have control over ingredient quality, portions, calories, and freshness – ought to taste better than a takeaway or creamy restaurant fare. Apart from being a whole lot less expensive, home cooked meals are a great way to bond with family and inculcate the love for food in kids by exposing them to different flavors, textures, and colors. Start small by selecting quick, easy recipes and once you’ve whet your appetite for home cooking, sky is the limit!