Every year I like to do a little budget or ledger of how my wife and I spend our money. I like to see the breakdown. I like to see if things are getting out of order in any area.
One big area is food. We tend to spend what seems to be more than most people at the grocery store.
But when it comes to our “Eating Out” spending it’s pretty much nothing.
Now, we do like to eat out on occasion. My wife especially likes it. Trying new dishes. Getting out of the house. And I like those things too.
But over the last five years or so I’ve come to really appreciate making my own food for a few reasons…
Eating In = Eating Healthy
Several years ago I made a discovery that changed my life. I had been working out, but not really losing weight. I had high blood pressure. I thought I was in pretty good health, but didn’t really feel entirely well and didn’t look all that great.
I decided to stop taking health advice from people that were overweight and sick. I started googling and came across a great site that led to me changing my diet. I haven’t looked back since. You can read the story in this blog post.
The basic change I made was cutting out carbs. Especially sugar and grains. Am I perfect? No. I still have a cupcake once in awhile. I still like a beer.
But for the most part carbs aren’t part of my diet. And what I realized all those years ago was that it’s really difficult to eat out if you’re on this kind of diet.
I think that has led to me eating in more often. Preparing my own meals. Making sure that I know all the ingredients.
And it’s also not easy buying things from the grocery store. One big item to watch for is sauces and condiments. Most have sugar as one of the main ingredients.
Eating at home allows me to have more control over what goes into my body. A big one is vegetables. Restaurants seem to kind of go toward the cheapest veggies. Usually some kind of potato. One trick I use is to shun the potato in favor of double veggies. Broccoli if it’s available.
It’s easy to feel misled by people that make food if you’re overweight. But ultimately it’s our decision. Nobody forces food into our mouths.
I can’t remember where I read it or watched it, but I think the basic way a restaurant works is that menu prices are split into thirds.
One third for the cost of the food.
One third for the overhead.
One third for the profit.
And I’m totally fine with that. But after several years of cooking more food for myself I find it more difficult to see the value in paying three times the price for a meal if I were to go to a restaurant.
I notice it a lot with seafood. I like to get a nice filet of salmon from the grocery store. I usually get a pretty large portion. If I go to a restaurant and get salmon I often find that I get a smaller portion for twice or even three times the price.
I’m not saying restaurants are ripping anybody off. It’s nice to have someone else make you food and clean your dishes. But I’ve found that for me I rarely see the value in going out to eat.
Finally, I’ve noticed that preparing my own meals gives me time to be inside my own head. To kind of live in the moment. To smell the smells of the food. To feel the different textures as I’m preparing things. To hear the sizzle of the oil on the pan.
It’s just a few little things, but in today’s world where we’re always connected and plugged in it’s nice to have an outlet for being in the present moment.
There are other arguments against preparing your own meals. Time is a big one. I admit that it’s probably faster to swing through McDonald’s than it is to prepare a meal at home. But it really doesn’t take that much time. No commute. And you can do other things while you’re cooking too.
Anyway, just a little thought for today that I hope you find some value in.