Tucking into home food

Healthy Bite

A decade back, eating out was saved only for special occasions, but today, people no longer wait for that special occasion, eating out has become more of a norm, bringing a boom in the food industry. But eating food outside on a regular basis has its own hazards.

Says Sarvana Parbhu, a software engineer, “I used to eat almost every meal out. I used to enjoy it initially, but soon the novelty wore off as I got sick, literally and figuratively. So I reduced the number from three meals to one per day of eating out. However, I always prefer eating at home, because I have control on all aspects such as taste, the way it is cooked, quantity, hygiene and quality.”

For Pavitra Kumar, a media manager, cooking is more of a novelty than eating out, as she barely spends time at home. “I cook twice a week and refrigerate it so that it comes to approximately five dinners a week. I either eat lunch brought from home or home-made sandwiches depending on time, but I am slowly increasing the frequency, as eating out at the end of the day is expensive both on health and pocket.”

And who doesn’t eat out these days? With both partners in most families working just to make their ends meet, who has time to cook?

Says Charudutta Jena, a communication manager, “Being a young working couple, it's not always easy to cook at home. Still my wife and I try to eat home food almost daily. It's easier said than done though, because of our hectic schedules. But the benefits are worth it. We know just how many calories we are taking in, and are assured that the food is prepared and served in hygienic conditions. Restaurant visits are reserved for the special days, or for occasions when we are too lazy to cook.”

A study suggests that while eating one meal in restaurant, we consume more than twice the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of sodium, due to salt excess, which means, on a daily basis it’s almost like pickling your body, apart from the obvious inches it adds to your waistline.

Says Dr Geeta Lalwani, a nutritionist from the City, “Eating out these days is almost unavoidable, but there are certain things you can do to make it less unhealthy, one can always balance it. Choose meals that contain a balance of proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole-grains like whole wheat bread and brown rice. Watch portion sizes. The portion sizes of fast foods have increased over the past few decades so that we are now eating way more than we need. Drink water or low-fat milk. Regular sodas, juices, and energy drinks usually contain ‘empty’ calories that you don't need, and also caffeine.”

“But cooking is by far the best option,” concludes Geeta. Actress Mahima Chaudhary, who recently started cooking after childbirth, vehemently agrees, “Outside food is processed, and full of leavening agents and starches. It’s literally pre-digested for you.
So when you eat it, you start feeling hungry in no time. Ghar ka khana, consisting of dal-chawal, even if it contains ghee, is far healthier, than the so called outside ‘low-cal’ preparations.”

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