This article was featured on Yahoo today, regarding America’s unhealthiest restaurants.  Among the worst offenders are places Hubs and I often eat at–Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Baja Fresh and Carl’s Jr.  Of course, walking into these restaurants, I know in the back of my mind that what I’m about to eat is probably not healthy, but when my belly is screaming for a chicken burrito or cheeseburger, I got to give it what it wants.  I regret it afterward, but that burrito sure tasted good at the time!

This article has made me think more about the health costs of eating out.  Hubs and I have both put on weight since we got married less than a year ago, but we’ve always said its because we don’t exercise enough.  Looking back, it probably has more to do with our diet than anything.  To gain a pound a week, one just has to consume an additional 100 calories per day (roughly) over their daily calorie limit.  Its so easy to go over…we’re just talking about one extra chocolate chip cookie here!  Conversely, to lose a pound a week, one has to trim 500 calories per day from their daily diet…which is a lot!  No wonder exercise has to be a part of successful weight loss programs…I definitely couldn’t lose that weight just on diet alone.

Yesterday, Hubs and I were comparing the financial cost of eating out.  The first time I had ochazuke was at a popular Japanese restaurant nearby.  When the waitress brought my dish to me, my first thought was, that piece of salmon is pretty small.  Like I could finish it off in two bites, small.  There was a little teapot of broth for my rice and a side dish with some nori flakes.  My other thought was, I can make this at home.  That single order of ochazuke cost $12 ($10 plus tax and tip) at the restaurant.  The two servings of ochazuke I made yesterday for Hubs and I cost only $3 total.  What a difference.  Having this dish in the restaurant for the two of us would have cost us $25 easily, when you figure in tax and tip…so I guess we saved $22 eating at home for just one meal.

My point in all of this is, in reflecting over our diet and eating habits, clearly the healthier, more inexpensive option is cooking and eating at home.  I’ve known that for a long time, but the fun and convenience of eating out always gets us, as it probably does for many people.  We don’t eat out often, maybe just once or twice a week, but when we do, its usually at unhealthy restaurants like the ones on America’s Unhealthiest Restaurants list.  I’m going to try something different for the month of April and cook all our meals for that month, including our date night dinners.  It’ll be fun–cooking has always been relaxing for me–and it’ll probably help us save money and stay healthier.  Stay tuned for upcoming recipe posts.  🙂