Whether it’s fast food or fine dining, eating out has become an increasingly common part of America’s diet. It’s become so common in fact, that today nearly half of our food money is spent on dining away from home.

We’ve heard time and time again that fast food is making us fat, but eating at restaurants may not necessarily be a better option.  In fact, multiple studies have linked eating out more often with obesity.

Why you should reduce your restaurant visits

You eat more

Restaurants tend to serve large portions that psychologically entice you to eat more. Think about it, no one wants to leave food on a plate they already paid for. Even if you don’t finish your meal in one sitting, doggy bags and take-out boxes are usually automatic requests. Cooking at home can help you avoid the problem of overeating by allowing you to prepare just enough food for your meal.

You don’t realize you’re not eating healthy

When was the last time you saw the nutrition facts of your meal posted in a restaurant? Restaurants lack transparency when it comes to saying exactly what goes into their food. At least fast food vendors have made it clear that their products are not healthy, they put the nutrition facts right on the label. When you eat at a restaurant it’s easy to be unaware of the fact that what you’re eating is loaded with calories, sodium and fat, which is usually the case. Cooking at home means you know exactly what is going into your meal.

It’s expensive.

It’s easy to rationalize that spending a little more to get a great tasting meal isn’t going to affect your checkbook, but those costs really add up. Cooking meals at home is a much more cost effective way of eating, you can buy food in bulk, you don’t have to worry about tipping, and you can take advantage of coupons and sales to make eating in an easy way to cut down on your overall food spending.