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The Truth About Eating at Restaurants

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There are a lot of reasons why we eat at restaurants: not having time or energy to cook, wanting to have a delicious meal, as a leisure activity.

And, just like everything, in moderation, eating out can be a fun part of a balanced lifestyle. But the problem comes when people start to make a real habit of eating restaurant food not knowing just how unhealthy it can be.

You might not realize it, but your restaurant habit can actually be really harming your well-being.We’re not saying that you should stop going out to eat or ordering in entirely.

But learning the truth about eating at restaurants can potentially help encourage you to make healthier decisions like replacing some of your restaurant meals with weekly meal prep or even meal prep delivery.

After all, knowledge is power, right? So let’s rip off the band-aid and hear the cold, hard truth.

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The Portion Sizes Are HUGE

Let’s start with the truth that is hidden right in front of our eyes: restaurant portion sizes.

As you probably know, one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and manage your weight is portion control. But the size of a meal at a typical restaurant, especially in the United States, is almost always entirely out of proportion with healthy serving sizes.

For example, the recommended portion size for meat, like a steak or a chicken breast, is three ounces, which looks like about the size of your fist. And if you were to make yourself a hamburger at home, chances are pretty good that you’d be able to stick to that.

But restaurants tend to serve portions three or four times that size. As a result, the average meal or snack eaten away from home has 134 more calories than the same food eaten at home. It may not sound like a lot, but this can really add up.

And, sure, you might be one of those people who tell themselves that you’ll just take home part of your restaurant meal and eat it later. And that is a good strategy for consuming fewer calories when going out to eat.

But the reality is that human beings evolved in times of food scarcity, so we’re just not very good at controlling ourselves when it comes to food.

When there’s a plate full of food in front of you, tantalizing you with delicious smells, it’s just hard to stop yourself from continuing to eat it, even when you’re full.

That’s why it’s so dangerous to be served such a large portion size to begin with.

They're Packed Full of Salt and Sugar

Look, we all know that added sugar and salt aren’t exactly healthy for us.

Consuming too much sodium can lead to stiff blood vessels, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and osteoporosis.

Too much sugar is associated with a higher risk of tooth decay, acne, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. In short, all things that we don’t want. Yet, what can we do?

Salt and sugar are the things that make food taste good. So we use them in moderation.

When you cook at home or use meal prep services, you can know exactly how much salt and sugar you’re eating and do your best to keep it to a minimum. But not at restaurants.

You may think that a restaurant chef would use approximately as much salt in a pasta dish as you would put at home, but that’s just not true. A typical restaurant meal will contain around 4,000 milligrams of sodium.

That’s nearly twice as much as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation of fewer than 2,300 milligrams per day. The same goes for sugar.

For example, the Cheesecake Factory’s Chinese chicken salad, an option that would typically be considered one of the healthier choices, has 61 grams of sugar.

Wendy’s apple pecan chicken salad has 40 grams.

The recommended daily sugar intake for an American adult? Between 25 and 36 grams

Extra Fat is Everywhere

It’s not just salt and sugar that restaurants use in much higher quantities than you would cook with at home or when using meal prep recipes.

Oil and butter are a restaurant staple, used in sauces, salads, and pretty much anything you can imagine. While you might choose leaner cuts of meat to cook with at home, the meat used in restaurants tends to have a much higher fat content.

After all, that’s why restaurant food tastes so good.

The right kind of fat, in the right quantities, is actually good for you and an important part of a healthy diet. But the saturated and trans fats that can be found commonly in restaurant food in large amounts carry risks of heart disease, weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 

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They're Missing Healthy Nutrients

Finally, let’s not forget the fact that restaurant meals aren’t just full of unhealthy components like salt, fat, and sugar in high quantities. Perhaps even more problematic is how much they lack the healthy nutrients that your body needs to properly function.

Restaurant foods tend to be low in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, all super-healthy foods that provide key macro and micronutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

If you’re only eating out every once in a while, this is okay. But if restaurant foods make up a large portion of your diet, you might be missing out on important nutrition.

As we said, all this isn’t to say that you should never visit a restaurant again. After all, there’s a reason why we like to go out to eat so much. It’s fun, it’s delicious, it’s easy. But knowing what you know now, it should be clear that replacing some of your restaurant meals with home-cooked ones or a healthy meal kit is a great idea.

The good news is that cooking at home doesn’t have to be tedious or excessively time-consuming.

There are so many easy meal prep ideas that make sticking to a healthy diet - whether it be paleo, vegan, keto or something else - a breeze. And if you can’t be bothered to look for healthy meal prep ideas, the best meal prep services will do it all for you with just as much focus on keeping things as healthy as possible as you would keep at home.

So if you’re looking for a sign that it’s time to kick that restaurant habit - this is it.

Let's eat better together!



Rosemarys Farm to Fork Meal Prep is a premium food delivery service. We currently deliver to select cities in the Greater Sacramento Region and San Francisco Bay Area Communities.  It's the easiest way to eat healthy, paleo, gluten-free, fully prepared, ready-to-eat meals that are perfect for anyone looking to improve their diet and nutrition while saving time. Start your week off right with nutrient-dense and mouth-watering Rosemarys Farm To Fork Paleo Organic Meal Prep Delivery today!

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