Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cooking At Home Saves Calories and Money

Doing a calorie comparison between cooking at home and eating out at a restaurant, you will almost always save calories by cooking your main meal at home.

You know exactly what goes into your meal at home. You know how much butter, oil, mayonnaise and condiments may or may not be used at home. For this reason, it's so much easier to count calories at home.

It's always nice to go out once in a while or get a to-go meal.

A friend of mine asked me how many calories were in a $10 to-go sashimi meal from a local restaurant.  So, I sat down and figured it out.

Combination Lunch To-Go Meal

  62 calories - 2 pc tuna sashimi
  21 calories - 1 pc white fish sashimi
  80 calories - 2 pc salmon sashimi
103 calories - 1/2 cup white rice
300 calories - 8 pieces California roll
  42 calories - 1/2 cup miso soup
  20 calories - 2 tbsp soy sauce
    2 calories - 1/4 cup mixed greens
  40 calories - 1 tbsp Italian dressing
  17 calories - 1/4 raw navel orange

687 calories - TOTAL CALORIES

Here is what I discovered.  It's more work to figure out how many calories are in a to-go meal than it is to figure it out home-cooking.

Honestly, the above tally is only an estimate because I don't know exactly how much mayonnaise was used in the California roll.  I don't exactly what was used in any of the food items or if anything was added to the soup.  I don't know what kind of salad dressing was used.

I also didn't add in the pickled ginger, which is an extra 30 calories, or the wasabi paste, which is an additional 15 calories.  All of that counts.  There are lots of calories in certain condiments and those need to be counted.

I would guess that this combination lunch would amount to a much higher amount, closer to 800 or 900 calories. And that's more than half of your daily amount of calories if you're aiming to eat 1,200 calories a day. This would be your biggest meal of the day or you would end up overeating and most likely, gaining weight on this meal.  You could always cut the food amounts in half or eat the rice and soup another day, but we all know that once you have a to-go meal at home, you eat the entire meal, extra items and all.

If you really need a fast meal to-go, think about the options.

There's always Subway for comparison. A 12" turkey on Honey Oat bread is 560 calories.  But there are a lot more carbs because of the bread.

There's also In-N-Out Burger as an option.  At In-N-Out, a hamburger with the bun, the spread, onion and veggies is only 390 calories compared to this to-go meal feast.  In my opinion, it's equally as filling and fewer calories.  But it's higher in carbs and fat.

Then, my sons love Chipotle.  I love their slogan:  Food With Integrity.  It sounds so healthy and low-calorie.  But... Did you know a chicken burrito at Chipotle is around 1,200 calories?!!!!  Let's not even talk about the amount of sodium, carbs and fat.  It's very filling, but it's your entire allotment of calories for the day because that doesn't count sour cream or some of the other extras.

Ah... decisions, decisions...

My advice... make it simple, lose some calories, and cook at home.

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