By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
Do you find yourself eating out less lately?
Rest assured, you’re right on trend.
Hard to believe, but in 2018, restaurant visits per-person dropped to a 28-year low! And the less we dine out, of course, the more we dine at home. (Home builders have even declared that the formal dining room, which had seemed to be disappearing, is now coming back in style.)
So why the shift from eating out to dining in?
The major reason is economic thriftiness; you can save mucho greenbacks by cooking at home. But there’s another big factor contributing to the upswing in home cooking: it’s gotten so much easier!
In just the last few years there’s been an increase in grocery delivery services, meal kits, the availability of pre-packaged convenience foods, and cooking education in the form of gourmet food magazines and online recipes. And of course, there are now some terrifically standout cooking shows (we’re not naming names….) so anyone can cook like a top (kosher) chef.
So while we’ll always be a fan of restaurants, there are some stellar benefits you can only get from the at-home eating experience.
Here’s why we love dining in:
1. It’s Right On the Money
It’s been estimated that eating out is nearly five times as pricey as dining at home. For a single person, that might mean the difference between a $3 dinner and a $15 one. If you have a family to feed, that difference can be astronomical: these figures mean, for a family of six, eating at a restaurant will set you back an extra 72 bucks — and that’s if you dine at a casual restaurant. Dinner at an upscale spot might just leave you recalculating those expensive summer vacation plans.
2. You Can Be a Control Freak
Perhaps you’re doing Paleo. Or Whole30. Or Keto. Or even celery juicing. Or, maybe you’re just simply trying to get more nutrients in your diet. Whatever the case, dining in gives you the most control over what you’re eating (and what you’re not!)
The best part of eating at home when you’re on a special diet? You can avoid that snarky look the waiter gives you when you ask him (for the fourth time) if those french fries really are gluten-free.
3. One Big Happy Family
Studies have shown that family meals improve kids’ emotional health and academic performance, and increase the overall happiness of the entire family.
But we don’t need research to tell us that sitting down to dinner together makes all of us more positive, healthier people.
And while you certainly can eat a meal with family at a restaurant, it’ll cost you, sometimes dearly (see #1 above). Also, if your kids are young (and manically hyper!) trying to sit down for a peaceful meal while they throw spaghetti at one another is not exactly the most conducive scenario to family harmony.
When it comes to eating with kids, there really is no place like home.
4. Consider it a Yoga Class
When done the right way, cooking a meal can be a bona fide meditation (let’s hear that ommm).
As you zero in all your attention on the methodical steps of chopping, measuring, and mixing, you allow your brain to get into the “zone” — that happy place that keeps your mind in the moment — and far from that rabbit hole of worry regarding that passive-aggressive text from your boss.
Calm. Take a deep breath. Now focus on folding those wonton wrappers into perfect little envelopes. See how nice that feels?
Yeah, yeah, we know that’s cooking is not always a meditation.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself at the supper hour, a mess of stress, slapdashing together a batch of sloppy ravioli. The kids are starving, the baby is shrieking, and you’re considering having your fifth cup of coffee for the day.
If you’re in the midst of one of those evenings, please hang up your apron. Go ahead and order a few pies from your local pizza shop. There’s a time and place for everything.