Eating out is often the easiest answer for college students constantly on the go. Making your way to that favorite restaurant booth or fast food drive-through is often a lot more appealing than having to do the labor yourself (especially when you think about all those dishes). However, eating out can be expensive for both your wallet and your waistline.

People consume less healthful foods when eating out as opposed to dining on homemade grub, according to a 2012 article from Nutrition Reviews.  This study analyzed and compiled the results of previous studies revolving around the association between eating out and body weight. 

Research has shown that people who eat more meals outside of the home tend to have a higher body mass index.

“Consumption of food away from home has increased in frequency in the last few decades and is an important potential factor contributing to weight gain,” according to Nutrition Reviews.

Some factors leading to this conclusion include larger portion sizes, higher consumption of soda and sweetened beverages, higher saturated, trans, and total fat, higher sodium, and other various additives. The mentality toward eating out is a contributing factor as well. Rarely do people consider meeting the fruit and vegetable quota at a fast food restaurant.

Swinging by Jimmy John’s on your way home may seem like the ultimate answer, but spending money eating out can take a toll on your wallet. While it may be convenient, eating out is by far more expensive than cooking at home.

In fact, a 2009 article from Mayo Clinic actually shows that a homemade burger is 4 cents cheaper per ounce than one from McDonald’s. Plus making the burger yourself ensures that you actually know the quality of its ingredients. Homemade meals allow you to monitor what goes into your food, thus allowing you to make more nutritious decisions.

For those of you who view eating out as an experience to try new cuisine, get creative in the kitchen by browsing a new food blog for an exotic recipe. Have fun perusing the grocery store looking for hidden ingredients or use it as a reason to hit up the Asian food market you usually pass by.

You do not have to be a great cook to make the switch from eating out to dining in. Start simple by getting ideas from the foods you have been eating. Love Taco John’s? Make tacos at home and switch it up by using black beans instead of meat. 

Still think you don’t have time to cook? Try setting aside a few hours on Sunday to prepare meals for the week or invest in a slow cooker. A little extra time can be manageable in the long run as you start to see how many calories and dollars you can save.

Try your hand at some restaurant copycat recipes to get all the benefits of dining in with the taste of eating out:

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits

2 1/2 cups whole-grain biscuit baking mix

3/4 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons cold butter 

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup grated low-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine cold butter with Bisquick until the mixture is pea-sized. Add the cheese, milk and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix with a fork until just combined. 

Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop about 1/2 cup portions of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until light brown. 

Combine the melted butter with the parsley and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Thoroughly brush the top of each biscuit before serving.

For more copycat recipes visit

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