When you’re tired, hungry, and don’t have much more than ketchup in the fridge, ordering take-out seems like a great idea. You get to have a hot meal, made by someone else, in the comfort of your own home, without doing a single dish.
So why isn’t take-out as good of a choice as it initially seems?
Because when you think about it a little longer, there are some significant costs involved:
1. Health. Most restaurant food has more calories, more fat, and more salt than food made from scratch at home. So when you order take-out, it’s more of an indulgence that should be enjoyed occasionally – not a substitution for healthy, wholesome meals made at home.
2. Money. This cost is the obvious one: take-out is expensive. Even if you find a meal for $10 per person – a bargain – that’s still significantly more than if you bought groceries for the week and prepared some simple meals yourself. Many people argue that grocery shopping for healthy food is also costly, but if you plan ahead to reduce food waste and utilize ingredients in several dishes, you can drastically reduce your costs.
3. Environment. To-go food is usually packed in numerous containers, wrapped in a plastic bag, and accompanied by plastic silverware and bunches of napkins that all end up in the trash within minutes. (When we remodeled our kitchen a few months ago and had to get take-out much of the time, we produced more trash in 2 weeks than we normally do in 2 months!). Grocery shopping and making meals from whole foods uses less energy and creates less waste, and is thus much better for the earth.
Once again, food made and eaten at home reigns supreme!