Everyone likes to eat out. What’s better than someone else preparing your meal and cleaning up after you? You simply sit, order and wait, pay and then leave! There’s no extensive prep time or clean up; believe me, I understand. Unfortunately, if you aren’t satisfied with your current weight, eating out is most likely contributing to the problem. The Obesity Action Coalition reports that portions are exceptionally large at all restaurants, from fast food joints to fine dining establishments. The calorie and fat content of meals ordered out are over-the-top. I remember my Food Science professor teaching that fat produces flavor and satisfying mouth-feel. Restaurants are looking to make people feel happy and satisfied, not skinny. Adding a lot of fat brings customers back. A new study published by The Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that eating at a nice restaurant is not any better than eating fast food, as far as calorie and fat content are concerned. The statistics report 92% of large and local chain restaurants exceed the calorie recommendation for the average person. Some meals exceed calorie needs for the entire day! During this study, multiple take-out meals averaged to contain about 1500 calories. If you don’t exercise at least 5-6 days per week and you’re a woman, you need around 1600 calories/day (give or take). After a 1500 calorie meal, what are you left with? It seems like it saves a lot of time. Unfortunately, research shows it doesn’t. Think about what you can do with your free time if you simply packed a lunch. You could read a book, listen to a podcast and catch up on your personal email! I use to set an alarm for 25 minutes and take a nap in my car! It was glorious! Guess what else brown bagging saves? That’s right. Money and a lot of it! The average American spends $232/month eating out. For $232 a month, you can buy a new outfit or three. You can get two manicure/pedicures and still have money left over for a new lip gloss at Ulta, a new top at Target, and 3 new pairs of panties at Victoria’s Secret! If you’re a dude and panties aren’t your thing, you can put the $232 toward that new paddle board you’ve been wanting or a new tool or electronic gadget! I’m thankful that restaurants are now required to show the calorie content of foods on menus but, experts say that once an oversized meal is placed before you, overeating continues to be an issue. My husband and I recently visited Westbound & Down Brews in Idaho Springs, CO (super cool place, btw). Mike noticed that someone received half of a cheeseburger. Nice! I hope the next step in the restaurant industry will allow consumers to order 1/2 portions and that prices will reflect those smaller portions. Well done, W&D!