Eating Out Is Not Always A Bad Thing For Busy People

We’re told that we shouldn’t eat out very often. I’ve even suggested that a time or two at Hip Diggs. But sometimes eating out is better than eating at home.

Lately, life has been busy for me. I’m a single dad with a full-time job. My daughter and I practice karate two or three times a week. She has after-school activities. Things can get complicated and crazy.

So what’s wrong with eating out more often? Here are the two biggest arguments:

  • It’s unhealthy
  • It’s too expensive

Don’t be fooled. Neither one is true 100% of the time.

When It’s Just Fast Food At Home

I’ve noticed something: We eat worse at home than we do when we eat out. Because our time is so limited for cooking and cleaning up, we tend to eat quick prepackaged meals more often.

Whenever I buy fresh products, they seem to spoil before we can eat them all. That winds up becoming just as expensive as eating out.

Annie has been eating vegetarian for awhile now. This also complicates cooking at home. I’m not an expert on vegetarian meals and I don’t really have time to become a vegetarian chef.

One good side-effect of Annie becoming vegetarian is that I’ve been eating much less meat.

Note: Annie actually gave up being vegetarian since I originally wrote this post. She remained vegetarian for almost a year.

Eating Out Doesn’t Have To Be Unhealthy

Since Annie quit eating meat, we’ve found some great options for eating out.

Our best find is actually the hospital cafeteria that’s just three blocks from our house. They have one of the best salad bars in town and the prices aren’t bad.

I find kale, spinach, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, beans, olives, and much more, If I buy the same variety of ingredients at home, most of them would spoil before we could use them all.

Another great option is Mod Pizza where you can build your own pizza or salad and choose a variety of healthy toppings for only $5.

Obviously we can’t eat out every day or the expense would get out of control. Or would it?

Eating Out Once A Day Can Be Reasonable

We don’t eat out daily, but if we did it might not be as bad as you think.

Breakfast is easy. I can make oatmeal at home. Lunch is simple, too. Sandwiches and fruits as a packed lunch work perfectly.

But what if we had a salad out every night?

Let’s do the math:

It would cost about $10 a day. That’s $300 a month. If I’m only spending another $150-$200 a month on breakfast and lunch supplies, we’re still only spending $500 a month. That falls within the moderate range for a family of two according to the USDA.

Eating Out Could Be More Healthy In The End

I want my kid to eat healthy. I want to eat healthy. But if fresh foods just wind up spoiling in our refrigerator, what’s the point in bringing them home?

Not only do we get more healthy foods by eating out, it also relieves the stress of cooking and cleaning at home in the evening after a long day. Then we have more time to walk or ride our bikes.

Going out for a salad several times a week might just be the perfect solution for busy families. It’s healthy, inexpensive, and good.

Don’t let popular opinion trick you into thinking something is always good or bad. Think about it. You might not be spending as much as you think. And if you benefit from eating more healthy, isn’t it worth a little extra cost?

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James Ewen
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