In or Out?

When one is on a diet, one challenging aspect of life that seems contradictory to the concept of dieting is dining out. When one dines in a restaurant or a fast food place, you have no control over the preparation of the food so often times eating becomes some sort of an act of faith. One hopes that the food has been prepared using the best and freshest ingredients. There are unscrupulous establishments who claim their food is ‘healthy’ when it’s really not.

So why do people continue to dine outside? For one, because they can afford to do so. Another thing is convenience. Another reason is wanting to try food that one doesn’t know how to prepare. Personally, this is my primary reason for dining out. When I do, I make sure to order food that I cannot cook myself. Rarely do I order food that I know how to cook because almost always I get disappointed. I know how to cook a few dishes and I do them very well. So I’m very particular when it comes to how this should taste.

But in the context of controlling what one eats, nothing beats eating at home. One real big reason to do so is being able to save money. Cooking at home gives one control over what goes into the dish, ensuring its high quality. Of course, this depends on whether one has a high standard of quality. Consider my two lunches: one yesterday and the other today.

lunch-out

The photo above shows Classic Savory’s Fried Chicken and Yang Chow Fried Rice. My family and I order these two regularly because we can’t cook chicken and fried rice the way Classic Savory does. Can you imagine the caloric content of this meal? In this situation, the best way to cope is probably to exercise portion control, short of being a nit-picky customer who asks the waiter what goes into a particular dish.

lunch-in

The photo above shows my lunch of fried galunggong (hard tail mackerel), rice, and ginataang langka (Jackfruit cooked in coconut milk). My household loves fish and pork in equal measure. And one can choose between them in almost every meal. The coconut milk may be rich, but this meal won’t equal the caloric content of the previous meal.

Dining out is a very pleasurable experience, providing gustatory adventure and exploration. But when you’re on a diet (like me), you must navigate these waters very carefully.

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