Dine in or eat out: Which is better for you and the planet?
RyanJLane/Getty By Michael Marshall It’s dinner time and you’re shattered. You have a fridge full of food but lack the willpower to cook. Maybe you will just go out to eat, or crack open a ready meal from the freezer. Problem is, you are trying to be healthy, and make better decisions for the planet. What to do? When it comes to your health, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is growing evidence to suggest cooking food at home is better for you than eating out. For instance, a study of 9500 adults found that people who cooked regularly ate fewer calories, and less sugar and fat, than people who mostly ate out (Public Health Nutrition, doi.org/f6975k). Another study published this year found a similar pattern, and also noted that home chefs tended to spend less on food (American Journal of Preventative Medicine, doi.org/ccqx). It’s all very well worrying about your own health, but what about the health of the planet? The production of food takes a huge environmental toll. Globally, food production occupies over a third of Earth’s land surface and creates about a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. So is it better to cook at home, or to eat out – or, for that matter, to buy industrially produced ready meals? “Most people assume that home cooking is beneficial from an environmental point of view, but you could ask why,