What's better - Home-cooked meals or restaurant food?


Whats better - Home-cooked meals or restaurant food?

UAE's influencers voice their opinions

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Published: Fri 21 Apr 2017, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 21 Apr 2017, 2:00 AM

People are astonished that as a food and travel blogger I don't eat out all that often. In fact, this year I've tried to keep restaurant visits to one or two a month. I'd much rather eat at home most of the time. Here's why:
Throughout the growing season, I buy all my vegetables from the local, organic Farmers' Market on the Terrace at Bay Avenue. The produce is packed with vitamins and are freshly picked - something that bulk-purchased ingredients, flown in from across the world for restaurants cannot claim. To buy the majority of my food directly from the people who have grown it is a huge privilege and, over the years I've learnt so much through conversations at the markets stalls. My free-range eggs, raw honey, sour dough bread, goat cheese, olive oil and spices also come from small producers at the market.
Cooking at home also enables me to limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat that's in my food. Chefs tend to use these palate-pleasing ingredients with abandon. To make a bigger margin on their meals, many restaurants try to cut the cost of ingredients dramatically and use things that I avoid at all costs like factory-farmed meat, rainforest-destroying palm oil and GM produce.
The shopping, planning, cooking and eating experience is something I enjoy sharing with my family. My girls grew up sitting around the table with us every night and I think this has helped them now that they are independent. They both have a healthy approach to diet, cooking and budgeting
Finally, it's the treat factor. The enjoyment in eating out becomes diminished if you dine out too often. I adore the thrill of visiting a restaurant and want to preserve the pleasure and excitement.
- Sally Prosser blogs at www.mycustardpie.com. You can follow her @mycustardpie on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest 
When you make the commitment of becoming a full-time blogger who covers as many as 15 food-related events per week, you let go of having the freedom to choose between a home-cooked meal and a restaurant meal.
Most of my meal times are spent working out of a café or trying a new restaurant. I'm barely at home to even have the time to cook for myself. Many people misconstrue this lifestyle as easy or luxurious, but it really isn't. Eating out has more cons than pros. Not all restaurants are hygienic, not all of them are cheap, and not all of them are healthy. Do I endorse this lifestyle? No. Do I have a way around it? Yes.
A few months into becoming a blogger, I noticed my waist expanding, my muscle weight dropping, and my body fat percentage increasing. All the numbers were against me. I realised that this wasn't the life I want to live. So, after a lot of thought, I came up with a hack.
When eating out, I make it a point to order healthier food. I start with a salad (minus dressing) to fill myself up, try to get grilled food for my main course, and dessert is something myself (and other bloggers) order only to photograph. I even stay away from the freshest of fruit juices because they have no health benefits - it's just coloured water - and neither do I drink any form of aerated drinks.
In restaurants where my hacks cannot work, I practise portion control and take the leftovers home. Exercising goes a long way, too.
What I've learnt is that your health is in your own hands, and the decisions you make today will reflect on the weighing scale tomorrow. No matter what profession you are in, sometimes you just cannot avoid that lunch meeting or the dinner event. So, in all honesty, one can eat out every day, seven days a week. But be accountable of what goes into your body.
Lavina Israni blogs at www.ezrani.com. You can follow her on Instagram @lavinaezrani

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