As the weekend approaches, spending time in the kitchen is likely the last thing on your mind. Whether it’s date night or you need a solid dinner-for-one, days off mean dining out. And being the healthy guy that you are, skipping the drive-thru for a sit-down restaurant likely seems like the better idea. But turns out, that’s not always the case.
According to a study published in Public Health Nutrition, eating at either a sit-down or fast food restaurant means taking in 200 more calories, on average, compared to dining at home. Restaurant meals also contain more sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, according to the research, which included survey data from 12,000 adults ages 20 to 64.
The extra 200 calories from the fast food or full service meals made up about 10% of participants’ total daily intake. The study estimated there was a 20% increase in daily sodium from the restaurant meals, only 13% from fast food meals, making the restaurant meals worse in some cases. What’s more, researchers note that on days when study participants dined out, they didn’t cut calories during other meals.
Bottom line: Save your cash and skip the extra calories by cooking more meals at home. Your body and wallet will thank you. Need some culinary inspiration? Check out our healthy recipe finder.