These days there is a vast choice of different international cuisines to choose from and for those of us who live in cities there has never been such an array of restaurants. Despite the recession, British consumers are eating out more than ever and in fact in London, diners eat out approximately 2.4 times a week compared to 2.2 times per week in 2009 and 2010. This is despite the fact that the cost of eating out has actually increased by over 6%. However, more and more people are dining out, including a high proportion at Fast Food Restaurants.
Unfortunately with more of us leading busy lifestyles, it is all too easy to resort to fast food, takeaways or eating out at the end of the working day. However, there is a price that comes with convenience, both on the money in your pocket and also the health consequences of a diet based on fast food and restaurant dinners. Fast Food dinners tend to be very high in calories and there has also been a trend in increased portion sizes in the UK over the years, so it’s easy to consumer far more calories than intended.
The other consequence of frequent eating out is of course on our personal finances. The cost of eating out is rising faster than inflation, with an average pub dinner now at just over £15 and a 3 course meal in a restaurant costing almost £21. Over time this can really add up.
Here’s my tips on how to maintain the waistline and the bank balance whilst balancing a busy lifestyle:
- Meal Planning – With a bit of thought and planning, you can organise delicious meals in the comfort of your own home. Spend a bit of time planning your weekly dinners and then organising your shopping list around it. It makes mealtimes a lot more stress free if you know what the dinner plan is and have all the ingredients ready.
- Do a bulk cook up once in a while and make freezable portions that you can pop in the microwave so you have dinner ready in minutes.
- If you must eat out the sign up to one of the many discount websites available and take advantage of offers available.
- Do sign up for some of the daily deal websites which may have some interesting restaurants at a fraction of the normal cost.
- Try to avoid alcohol with your meal as it really bumps up the price
- Don’t be embarrassed to order tap water rather than overpriced bottled water
- Check out what the service rate is at the restaurant
- Take advantage of early bird offers if available
Whilst the increase in dining out is one of the reasons behind the growing obesity problem, there are often more complex deep rooted emotional reasons causing people to overeat. Many people use food as an emotional response to various feelings such as boredom, sadness or anxiousness. Improved diet and exercise may not always get to the cause of peoples’ poor eating habits so people may end up in a cycle of losing and gaining weight. Counselling and therapy treatments can help. Hypnotherapy is one particular option that some find useful to understand the root causes of poor lifestyle choices.
Organisations such as The Therapy Lounge offer a range of treatments including specific hypnotherapy for weight loss to help the sufferer and control excess weight gain in the long term.
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