The Showdown – Cooking In vs. Eating Out!

By Jia Chyi Chung

In a world where there’s an abundance of delectable cuisines on offer and a constant supply of new restaurants opening up in practically every corner of the globe, many of us are often faced with a paradox of choice: “What and where should we eat?” With an endless selection to choose from, what appears to be a simple decision can often prove to be challenging.

That said, among all the options up for consideration, has cooking your own meals ever crossed your mind? If not, we believe that cooking in instead of opting to eat out may just be the perfect solution to the daily struggle of deciding what and where to eat.

Not convinced? We held a fierce three round showdown that illustrates how cooking in would par with dining out. Curious as to which option came out on top?

Read on and let the battles begin!

Round 1: Nutrition

Round 1Before you take a bite into that delicious, melty pizza, are you aware as to how many calories you’re about to consume? You might dismiss our query by saying, “Life’s too short to count calories, plus I’m only going to have a few slices…” But before you do so, do you know that according to WebMd, as shared by Daily Mail Online, the suggested calories intake for an average (moderately active) woman is about 2,000 calories and for man, 2,400 calories per day? So with an average of 298 calories per slice, it only takes about 6-7 slices for it to add up the total recommended daily intake of calories!

Though we’re all for eating well, what you might not know is that though restaurants out there claim that they are serving a more ‘nutritious’ food option, the foods they are serving are usually loaded with a large amount of fats, sodium, salt and/or sugar. In other words, without realizing, you may be consuming more calories than you think! The good news is that you can avoid expanding your waistline through cooking in!

Preparing your own meals gives you the ability to monitor the ingredients and alter the recipes according to your own personal preferences and nutritional needs. For example, you can add more vegetables, use lean meats and/or exchange full fat cheese for lower fat options as your pizza topping(s). By cooking in, you can more easily determine and calculate the total calories of that pizza.

Round 1 infographicsInstead of letting your nutrition and health be controlled by others, why not opt to take control of it? Sure, it may take a little more effort to prepare your own meals to start but once you’ve made it a habit, we bet that you’ll gain so much joy and satisfaction from preparing your own food that you’ll hardly be tempted to eat out!

Round 2: Convenience

Round 2It’s been a long, busy day at work and you’re feeling tired and ready to dig into a hefty and scrumptious meal to reward yourself.

We know all too well that after an exhausting day, it feels almost impossible to make the extra effort to figure out what you’d like to have for dinner, prepare the ingredients, and whip them all up into a satisfying meal that you’ve been craving since you stepped out of your office. Not to mention that if you were to cook your own meals, you would need to clean up afterwards.

Simply put, just to think about the tasks ahead of you to create a meal can be too much to handle, so it becomes all too easy to opt to dine out or to order yourself a bag of takeaways. So, in this respect, eating out wins this round!

Round 2 infographicsBut on the other hand, eating out also has its sets of challenges, starting with that dreadful and confusing question of “What and where should I eat?” With all the options available, you may end up wasting time driving around town trying to decide what you will be digging into for dinner — chances are to avoid all the hassle, you’d end up settling for greasy fast-food.

Though it may seem like a lot of work, cooking in can be a more convenient option, especially during the weekends. This is a time when you can enjoy eating your favorite food in the comfort of your home without having to put yourself together to step out of the house. You can also use this time to sharpen your culinary skills and experiment with recipes you’ve been dying to try out. Last but not least, it provides an excellent opportunity for you to catch up with your loved ones over flavorful home-cooked dishes.

Round 3: Money spent

Round 3In general, people have a tendency to take the “easy” way out, and this certainly is true when it comes to food. We tend to opt to dine out or order for food to be delivered, when we are facing a busy day.

At first glance, buying ready-made meals may seem to not only be the more convenient choice, but also the cheaper option. But when it comes to these meals, did you know you are actually spending most of your money on hidden costs? The Food Network, for example, found that this covers anything from transport, branding, and packaging of the food to the environment of the place.

So instead of putting more money into others’ pockets, invest in buying your own fresh ingredients and preparing your own meals as it allows you to cut down your food budget dramatically.

Generally speaking, the amount you spend on a meal in a moderately priced restaurant is equivalent to probably three to four homemade meals. When you take a step back and look at the big picture, you will be surprise by how much you’ve saved just by cooking at home! In the long run, you may even have enough to indulge on that trip you’ve always been wanting to take! Enticed? Then it’s about time for you to visit more grocery stores instead of restaurants!

Round 3 infographicsIt may come as no surprise that by the end of the three rounds, cooking in emerges as the champion! Preparing homemade and fresh meals allows you to make healthier choices and spend less money all while looking out for your health and wellbeing. We do hope this showdown has convinced you to whip up more of your own meals instead of going out for a quick bite. Now go on and get cooking!

Whether you’re a beginner or a culinary novice, a cooking holiday can help in taking your skills in the kitchen to the next level. Discover and taste the world with BookCulinaryVacations.com. Your gastronomic adventure awaits!

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Jia Chyi Chung is the Community Manager of BookCulinaryVacations.com , a global food and wine focused travel site offering food & wine focused vacation packages that seeks to make your most scrumptious culinary dreams a reality. She is a food lover, has a passion for photography and enjoys traveling the world.

All images courtesy of BookCulinaryVacations.com
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