How Eating More Meals at Home Can Help You Lose Weight and Improve Your Overall Health

A growing body of research associates eating out with weight gain and other health complications

In so many ways eating out—whether you use Seamless to have Chinese food delivered to your door or you actually sit down to eat at a restaurant—is infinitely more convenient than preparing a meal at home.  

You don’t need to plan ahead, make a trip to the grocery store or most obviously, spend time putting everything together in the kitchen.

Yet, eating out on a regular basis has one inconvenience that kind of trumps all of the things that make it easier and less complicated: the inconvenience it places on your health.

A growing body of research continues to show that those who frequently eat outside of their homes are at a higher risk for being overweight and obese because restaurant meals tend to have more calories, more fat and more salt.

One 2014 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who cook and eat more meals at home typical eat healthier meals that have fewer calories.

Compared to the people who cooked at home the least (once a week or less), those who cooked at home the most (six to seven nights per week) consumed about 200 fewer calories a day and also tended to eat less and more nutritiously when they did eat out.

But weight gain isn’t the only health risk associated with frequently eating restaurant-prepared meals.

One recent study from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore also found an association between eating out and high blood pressure (hypertension) in young adults.

According to the study’s authors having high blood pressure at young age increases the risk for developing full-on hypertension later in life, which is the number one risk factor for death associated with heart disease.

The study found that 38 percent of the young adults surveyed ate away from home more than 12 times per week. Those who had pre-hypertension or hypertension were: less likely to prepare and eat meals at home; on average had a higher body mass index; were more likely to be smokers; and had lower physical activity levels.

The data found that eating even just one extra meal away from home a week increased the risk for pre-hypertension by six percent.

So, not only is it likely that preparing and eating more of your meals at home (which means you have greater control and knowledge of what goes into your food and your portion sizes) is a smart strategy for maintaining a healthy waistline, but chances are it will help to protect you from other healthy issues like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Of course, preparing meals at home isn’t always easy. It does take more time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Check out the following resources that can help make eating at home easier and more convenient.

Dietitian-Approved Tips for Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy

10 Healthy Eating Obstacles (And How to Overcome Them)

Tips and Tricks that Help Make Eating Healthy Easier

8 Tips for Eating Healthy on Campus from a Top Nutritionist