Eating out V Eating in
“Food away from home” is a common term used by researchers when studying the effects of eating foods not prepared at home. The term food away from home literally includes any food consumed away from home from the snickers bar you bought at the vending machine to the five-course meal at your favorite restaurant. Overall, researchers conclude there is a relationship between “food away from home” and obesity (Gillis & Bar-Or, 2013). Not only are foods away from home contributing to our increasing waistlines, but our frequency of consumption has just about doubled from the 1970s (Guthrie, Lin, Frazao, 2002).
I live in Las Vegas, and now it is a lot easier to find healthy restaurants than it used to be. It still however, is not always easy. Most healthy restaurants are located near the biggest gyms. There are not many in residential neighborhoods. If you happen to workout out at some of the biggest gyms it is not a problem, in fact it is a huge plus. Imagine being a busy person with just barely enough time to workout and eat…you probably do not have to imagine very hard.
People who are new to the fitness lifestyle will often sign up at the bigger gyms, so it is a great location for these businesses. People who have been eating healthy and working out for years probably intentionally avoid the bigger gyms and would have to drive out of their way for healthy food. When you are busy person who has found an awesome little gem of a neighborhood gym it can be hard to work in healthy meals to your schedule. Meal prepping solves most if not all of those issues. I used to never leave my house without at least three meals and a couple of snacks just incase I never had time to go home, and working on the strip meant I would be surrounded with high calorie foods. Even just eating one meal from the casino would overload my system with calories and sodium, and I was just not interested. Now I do not venture far enough for long enough to pack more than a snack most days, so there are occasions where I find myself being forced to eat out.
If you are lucky enough to live in Hawaii or California you have access to fresher and healthier foods, however, it comes at a price. Sometimes you can find people who are running small meal prep operations out of their homes…I doubt they are fully licensed…or licensed at all, but they are obviously more affordable. Other options include Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. These are not quite meal prep services, but they are close. It is more than grocery delivery because you have all of the ingredients and instructions to make a really cool meal you probably would not have thought of otherwise. These options sometimes make larger portions than people would like to eat, so they often save them for later…making it even more like actual meal prepping. One of the easiest things you can do is simply pack a muscle muffin. The macronutrients are fantastic, and technically there are two servings per muffin, so it would not kill you to eat the whole thing as a meal replacement. No, you probably would not do that on a competition diet, but it is a better option that fast food! Not to mention, I actually did a video review on muscle muffins, which you can find on my YouTube. They are incredibly delicious! You would never know they have protein in them if they did not tell you.
Whether the answer is meal prep service delivered straight to your door, preparing your own meal prep, or finding healthy affordable restaurants in your area, do your best to limit the consumption of food away from home. It will help both your waistline and your bottom line.
Gillis, L. J., & Bar-Or, O. (2003). Food Away from Home, Sugar-Sweetened Drink Consumption and Juvenile Obesity. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 22(6), 539-545. doi:10.1080/07315724.2003.10719333
Guthrie, J. F., Lin, B., & Frazao, E. (2002). Role of Food Prepared Away from Home in the American Diet, 1977-78 versus 1994-96: Changes and Consequences. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 34(3), 140-150. doi:10.1016/s1499-4046(06)60083-3