Do you ever feel like there’s less and less time to get everything done on your to-do list? Between work, hobbies, appointments, and family time, it’s easy to skip dining at home and stop by a drive-thru instead. However, family meals at home, especially dinner, can be beneficial for your wallet, well-being, waistline, and relationships, no matter if you’re single, married, or have a family that includes children.
Here are four important reasons why you should eat at home more often:
Reason 1: To Save Money
On average, meals purchased out of the home cost two to four times more than meals prepared at home. According to Health.com, “In 2007, the average household spent $3,465 on meals at home, and $2,668 on meals away from home, according to the national Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When you take into consideration that the $2,668 spent on meals away from home only accounts for about 30 percent of meals (according to historical data), that’s about $8 per meal outside of the home, and only about $4.50 per each meal made in your own kitchen.”
Reason 2: To Nourish Your Body
It’s no surprise that cooking at home, by and large, is healthier than dining out. According to an article on SparkPeople.com, “Meals prepared and eaten at home are usually more nutritious and healthy. They contain more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products along with additional nutrients such as fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, and folate. Home cooked meals are usually not fried or highly salted, plus soda and sweetened beverage consumption is usually lower at the dinner table.”
Reason 3: For Your Well-being
Preparing and eating meals at home gives you the opportunity to be present and forget about work, school, and other duties. Whether you’re with family or friends, conversing and connecting around a meal is an opportunity to grow together. Even if you’re alone, time to focus on cooking and eating can be a respite from your busy lifestyle.
According to the same article on SparkPeople.com, “Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging. It can be a unifying experience for all.”
Reason 4: To Relieve Stress
If you’re cooking for yourself or for a slew of loved ones, sitting down for dinner can help relieve stress. The same article on Health.com reveals that, “. . . if you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office.”
What tips do you have for getting your family and friends together for a great meal? Share with us in the comments!