How Often Should We Cook and Eat Out In Retirement?
Your diet is important no matter how old you are. Deciding to eat out or cook at home is one of the most basic dietary choices, but it’s one that deserves some consideration. There are advantages to both options, so finding the right balance between a cooking retirement and an eating out retirement is very important.
Cooking at home offers a variety of advantages. It gives you an opportunity to learn new things and stay occupied during your retirement. Cooking also offers the sense of fulfilment that can only come from making something with your own hands. Keeping track of your diet and staying healthy is often easier for people who cook for themselves, since they have the chance to get intimately familiar with everything that they eat. It also tends to be much cheaper than eating out, which can be a major advantage for frugal retirees.
It’s hard to overstate the value of hobbies in retirement, and a cooking retirement is a great choice for people who want something to do with their time. Even if you have never cooked before, it’s never too late to learn the basics and get started. Learning new recipes is a good way to keep your brain active, which has been shown to improve memory in old age. Many people also get a great deal of satisfaction from making something on their own, and cooking is a great way to get that feeling. After all, it’s one of the only options that makes something that you need anyway. Even if you don’t enjoy making things, you can still have a good time in the kitchen if you work with a friend.
Cooking also has practical benefits. It’s easy to stick to a diet if you cook for yourself, since you get complete control over the food in your home. It’s a lot harder to slip on your diet if you only fill your home with healthy things that you like. Ingredients are cheaper than finished meals, so it also offers a chance to save money for other activities.
The main downside to cooking is the inconvenience. Cooking takes time, and so does cleaning up after you finish. You can reduce the inconvenience by choosing recipes that only use a few dishes or foods that cook quickly, but cooking will almost always take more work than eating out.
Why Eat Out?
Eating our also offers plenty of advantages. It’s usually much more convenient than cooking, and you rarely have to worry about accidentally making something that tastes bad. It’s also much easier to host a gathering at a restaurant than it is to host one in your own home.
Convenience is the biggest benefit to eating out. Cooking can be fun, but it can also be a lot of work. Eating out means that you don’t need to worry about buying ingredients, working in a hot kitchen, or cleaning up after the meal. An eating out retirement can save a lot of time that you can use to pursue other hobbies and interests.
That convenience is only magnified if you want to eat with your friends. Cooking a meal for one or two people already takes time and energy. Cooking a meal for eight or ten people takes much more. Hosting a dinner party in your home also means cleaning it to prepare it for your guests and then cleaning it again to deal with the mess that a party inevitably leaves behind. Hosting your party at a restaurant gets rid of that problem. It also removes the risk of embarrassing yourself by making a mistake in the kitchen and ruining the meal for your guests.
The downside to eating out is the cost. You can save a lot of money by shopping around to find the right restaurants and by eating at the less popular times, it’s very hard to make eating out as cheap as cooking for yourself.
Finding the Balance
Very few people will want to choose to only eat out or only cook at home. Most people will find that they want a balance between the two, but the precise balance is going to be different for every individual. If you love to cook, you will probably want to do that most days, but you might still benefit from the convenience of a restaurant if you plan on hosting a party for your friends. If you prefer the convenience of eating out, you should still consider cooking every now and then to save money and flex your mental muscles. The best way to find the right balance is to experiment until you find the pattern that makes you happy.