Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Eat-In May! April 29, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 4:07 am
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Leave that restaurant table empty!  You've got a date with some fruits and veggies.

Leave that restaurant table empty! You’ve got a date with some fruits and veggies.

I just wanted to add my voice? pen? computer? to Lauren’s to ask you to join us for Eat-In May!  She shared some pretty crazy statistics about how much Americans eat out.

I’ll add my two-cents in.  When we started thinking about this project, I remembered reading somewhere–maybe in Fast Food Nation–that Americans consume one-third of their calories away from home.  I looked it up, and found research from the USDA that confirms this:


* In 2005-2008 Americans consumed 32% of their calories away from home.   (USDA Economic Research Service) I wonder how that compares to the past 3 years?

* Furthermore, the USDA determined that food away from home was higher in saturated fat and sodium but lower in dietary fiber.  This seems like it should be obvious.  But still, in case you needed the reminder, there it is.

* It seems that 30% of American calories come from desserts, sugary drinks, alcohol, and salty snacks, with the top five food items that contribute calories to our diets being: soft drinks, pastries/desserts, hamburgers, pizza, and potato chips (UC Berkley News).  Notice these are all items we more frequently eat away from home.

* And my favorite quote from Berkley Professor of Health and Nutrition, Gladys Block: “…such healthy foods as vegetables and fruit make up only 10 percent of the caloric intake in the U.S. diet. A large proportion of Americans are undernourished in terms of vitamins and minerals. You can actually be obese and still be undernourished with regard to important nutrients. We shouldn’t be telling people to eat less, we should be telling people to eat differently.” (UC Berkley News)


Hear, hear, Gladys!  I’m all about not eating less…but yes, I’ll admit that I need to “eat differently.”  And to kickstart ourselves to eat differently, we’re launching Eat-In May.  Join us!


Don’t worry.  I’m creating my own two exceptions (because the point is to change habit and lifestyle, not to make things impossible).  Maybe you have one or two exceptions, too, but the point is to nix the casual coffee stop and the “I-don’t-know-what-to-make-so-we’ll just-pick-up-pizza” moments.  My exceptions:

  1. family birthdays/anniversaries–because I like my in-laws and would like to stay on good terms with them.
  2. travel–we rarely go away for the weekend, but there was this killer Groupon deal…well, you know how it goes.  While I’ll reduce our eating out by packing food for some meals, it’s a bit stressful to go away for a weekend without eating out once (and the stress of packing all meals might mitigate the relaxation of a weekend away…which would be a waste of a perfectly good Groupon).


So there.  Exceptions notwithstanding, WHO’S WITH US????


Lauren: Eat-In May April 27, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May — lkcook20 @ 6:18 pm
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Outdoor Cafe

Did you know? 

Americans spend about $1,000/year eating out for lunch. (

8 out of 10 Americans eat out at least once a month (

44% of Americans eat out at least once a week (

2 out of 5 people say eating out at restaurants is an essential part of their lifestyle (

There are 990,000 restaurants in the United States (

When eating out, people tend to eat more unhealthy foods (

Cheese fries as an appetizer from Outback have 3,000 calories and 90 grams of saturated fat, the maximum amount a person should consume in four days. (


I don’t know about you, but I found these numbers a little surprising and disgusting (I’m talking to you, Outback fries).


Why eat in? 

1. Save money! Eating out just costs more than cooking at home. Plain and simple.

2. If you cook the food, you know what’s in it. We try hard to avoid trans fats, hydrogenated junk, and high-fructose corn-syrup at home, but all bets are off when ordering out.

3. There’s less temptation for eating high-fat foods. I don’t know about you, but when I go out, I don’t want to spend $12 on a salad. I want something extremely delicious that I probably wouldn’t make at home. Translation: Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake.

4. You can spend more time together as a family. Everyone is able to be involved in the shopping/cooking/cleaning and has a chance to talk about their day, theoretically, at least. With a preschooler and toddler, I might get to say one or two things before a fork gets flung across the table. . .

So, for the month of May we’re eating in. It’s going to take some more planning and cooking, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Who wants to join us for Eat-In May?


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