Now that you’ve got lunch under control, it’s time to talk about what’s for dinner. And more importantly, where you’re eating it. Here are some statistics to show the current norm in North America:
- A survey in 2010 showed that 23% of Canadians ate out once a week and 17.3 % ate out once every 1.5 to 2 weeks. 1 out of 15 Canadians ate out EVERY day!!
- According to one site, Americans spend more on dining out than groceries for first time ever, with Millennials leading the charge.
- In another survey, the eating-out national average in the US was 4.5 times per week. L.A. was at the high end at 5.2 times per week and Boston at the lower end at 3.8 times per week.
That’s a lot of restaurant food! Just like eating a packed lunch, there are few different reasons why eating at home is much better for you and for your carbon footprint.
When you eat at a restaurant, you don’t always know what’s in your food or how it’s being prepared. Even if you’re at a restaurant that will tell you what’s in each meal, you don’t know where to food was sourced, how much waste was created in making your meal, whether the food was grown ethically and sustainably… there’s a lot that can go into making a meal.
When you choose to make your own meals, you get to decide where to purchase the food and determine the quality of the ingredients. You also spend less money on groceries than you would at a restaurant, and if you’re buying food from your local farmer’s market (more on that in another email), you are voting for local food with your dollars.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you never eat out at a restaurant again, but I would suggest making it a special occasion for you and your family. If you’re struggling to find time to cook at home, try prepping meals on the weekend, or cooking with a slow cooker. You could also try sharing the workload by having different people in your family cook on different nights of the week! It’s a great way to younger family members or less experienced chefs involved in making meals.
If you’re eating out more than once a week right now, try cutting it down to once a week – like a special treat on Friday or Saturday to wrap up the week. If you’re already at the once a week mark, try every other week or even once a month. Once you make the commitment and break the habit of going out, you’ll find it’s easier than ever to enjoy healthy food at home with your family.