March 2018

The Case for Dining Out

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

Eating at home is overrated. Cooking is time-consuming, messy and costly. Wait.
Costly? Yes. When you factor in the time spent planning meals, grocery shopping, preparing the food, and cleaning up, plus the cost of all the ingredients and the potential for some of it to go to waste, cooking at home is often a greater investment than what you would have spent at a restaurant, where all the work is done for you. So, if you value your time and want to conserve some energy for other activities, dining out can make a whole lot of sense. Here are six more reasons why dining out is cool:

Convenience: Long day at work? Can’t decide what to cook? Is the meat still frozen, or has the bread gone stale? Forget about it. Choose a restaurant, order what you want, and let someone else take care of the details. If you are stuck in a restaurant rut or are too exhausted to make one more decision, keep a list of restaurants you like or would like to try on strips of paper in a fishbowl. Draw and go, or call for a reservation.

Choices: At home, your options are limited to the food you have on hand or the effort you are willing to expend shopping for and preparing it. At a restaurant, you and your dining companions can choose whatever you crave. You want fish, he wants steak; your friend is vegan or gluten-intolerant; your kids are picky eaters and everyone wants something different; you are not quite sure what you want to eat. Not a problem! Most restaurants offer enough variety to satisfy every palate, and most chefs welcome the opportunity to accommodate special requests.

Variety: While making that casserole or big pot of spaghetti may seem like an economical plan, after eating the leftovers several days in a row, you may be thinking “not that again.” Spice up your life by eating something different every day, and expand your culinary horizons by sampling new foods and exploring a variety of flavor combinations. Area chefs are standing by.

Social: Whether it’s dinner for two, a family outing, a business lunch, or happy hour with friends, dining out is the perfect way to catch up with others over good food and shared conversation. Even if you are dining alone, interacting with the wait staff can give you a sense of belonging and being cared for as opposed to being isolated at home and eating cereal for dinner in your PJs. Becoming a regular at a local establishment also affords opportunities to meet new people, strike up conversations, and possibly form new friendships.

Relaxation. Perhaps the most compelling reason of all for dining out is the chance to take a deep breath, sit down, and be served. In today’s hectic world, your time and energy may be better spent catching up with friends and family or relaxing by yourself over a nice meal than rushing around the kitchen, nuking leftovers, or mindlessly noshing in front of the television.

Health: One of the most popular arguments for cooking at home as opposed to dining out is the matter of control over what you are eating and how it’s prepared. Most restaurants today are doing a fabulous job offering fresh, healthy choices—key word, choices. Just like at home, it’s up to you to select foods that fuel your body and satisfy your soul, while controlling your portions according to your individual appetite and goals. Yes, it is possible to eat out every day and be healthier and happier at the same time.

The best recipe? Reservations!

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