### Survey: How many meals do you eat out or take out in a week?

Yep, I am curious how often do you eat out or take out from restaurants on an average week. To clarify the few definitions in hoping to keep the answers consistent:

We will be counting the numbers of meals, not numbers of days. If I were to eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, that will be counted as 21 times, not 7 times.

Getting a Big Mac for lunch counts as a take out, getting a donut and coffee for breakfast from Dunkin Donut counts as a take out, buying foods from the company caffertia counts as a eat out, but buying frozen meals from Lean Cuisine does not, pouring milk into a bowl of cereal does not.

I know, I know, it gets a bit confusing because many options appear to be in the gray area, but we need to draw the line somewhere, right? So please answer as best as you can in term of how often you eat restaurant foods. Thanks.

A) 0-2 meals a week
B) 3-5 meals
C) 6-11 meals
D) >11 meals

My answer is (B). On an average week, I eat out about 1 times (sometime 2 times), and do 1 take out from restaurants. However, I often split my single takeout into 2-3 meals, so my answer is closer to 3-4. Thanks.

P.S.: I mean your current lifestyle (think of your last 6 months to last year), not 5 or 20 years ago -- just to be clear.

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1. I'd have to say A. There is the occasional work week when I have a couple of work lunches at restaurants, so that might occasionally push me up to B. Or for example, when I travel for work (e.g. when I am out of the country for a week or two), I am closer to D. But in a normal week when I am working in town, then A. (There are some weeks when the answer is zero.)

I love to eat out and take out, but my husband does a lot of cooking, so we default to A.

1. re: Cachetes

:) Thanks. You got my point. On occasional travel, I definitely eat out 100%, but I don't travel very often. Thanks for your answer. I used to be more like (A), but I actually force myself to eat out more just to get better idea of restaurant cookings.

2. I shoot for eating out once every other week. Sometimes the convenience factor of moving around gets me once more. So A.

1. A)

On a tight budget now, but still when my fiancee and I have the same day off we will generally eat 1 lunch out as its cheaper, sometimes we will eat out at dinner instead though.

1. Until the new year a D, but have resolved to cook more of my meals myself, so I'm moving to a B, last week an A.

In an ideal world I'd like to eat about 6 meals a week at home.

If I buy some pastries at the market and bring them home I take it this would count as a home meal, but if I drive-thru Mc Donalds and get an egg McMuffin and bring it home, that is a meal out?

1. re: KaimukiMan

<If I buy some pastries at the market and bring them home I take it this would count as a home meal, but if I drive-thru Mc Donalds and get an egg McMuffin and bring it home, that is a meal out?>

I know. There is inconsistency here, and I realize it early on. So I am thinking more about "eating from restaurants vs everything else". But I totally understand where you are coming. I was going to do a poll on "Home cook meals vs others". The problem is that then we get into: What if I buy some prepared foods and mixed with some home cook foods. You know say, open a can of turnup green (prepared food) and mixed in home cook pork. Or is pouring milk into a bowl of cereal or pouring hot water into a cup of instant noodle. It just get too complicated for my mind. :P

I know it won't be accurate in some cases, but I hope the "general" trend will have some meanings. Thanks.

2. C

1. I am probably a B. Like many New Yorkers I enjoy eating out and sampling our terrific restaurant scene, but like many other New Yorkers, I am also not that rich! So I bring a virtuous lunch most workdays and treat myself to lunch on Fridays. Saturdays I am usually running errands most of the day so I'll pick up some light snacks along the way and perhaps meet friends for a meal in the evening.

1. probably A (once a week is "date night,") but just to confuse the issue more, would you count supermarket prepared food as takeout? i brown bag to work until we run out of things with which to make lunch, usually by Friday,then pick up a sandwich not from a restaurant or fast food place but from the grocery store.

1. re: rudysmom

<would you count supermarket prepared food as takeout?>

No, just to make the Q&A simple. I decided to keep it in the context of "Restaurant foods vs rest". So pouring milk into a bowl of cereal or buying prepared food from supermarket is still considered non-restaurant foods. I know this is a not a perfect question, and I apologize for not able to come up with a better question. Thanks for participation.

2. C
Closer to 6 than 11. Dinner out is once or twice a week, and we have pizza Thursday when a mobile oven from a brilliant pizzeria comes to town for a day. I do my errands mid-day and often grab lunch out. Not fast food, but I'll drop in somewhere for a bowl of soup or appetizer, or pick up a salad or sandwich from the grocery store deli.

1. We always dine out on Friday nights. Occasionally, we will get fast food or Chinese take-out for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

On average, I'd say two meals a week, but very close to three. Either A or B.

1. Definitely C.

Breakfast out 4 times per week
Lunch out 2-3 times per week (if on trial) otherwise 1
Dinner out 1-2 times per week..............

1. C or D depending on my travel schedule.

1. A

Right now (meaning the last couple of month) we eat out about once a week. We eat breakfast at home and pack our lunches

However if I look at the last 12-18 months it was probably B.
When I was working FT and my son sports schedule was more intense we often picked up the proverbial pizza on Friday nights, take out on a work day when we all we running late or the cafeteria lunch.

1. A in an average week as I cook seven days a week nearly 100% of the time. When traveling that changes, of course, as we travel out of the country regularly. Even then, if we are in Central Europe that number would be a B to a C as we do a fair amount of cooking at our house.

Part of the reason I would choose A generally is due to having dietary restrictions that make dining out difficult. However, I also enjoy cooking so much that I rarely desire to eat out. No only that but the nearest restaurant I can eat at is 300 miles away.

1. Probably B most weeks, sometimes C. Always eat breakfast at home or bring from home to eat at work. Usually will get lunch from the work cafeteria once or twice a week, otherwise I bring my own. May do dinner or a snack out once mid week, then either Fri or Sat. Usually get breakfast out Sat or Sun.

1. A or B depending on the week.

We go out once or twice a month, same amount with takeout.

But at least once a week I get some sort of takeout and cook the rest of the meal. Example- bought takeout grilled chicken, prepared rice, salad and broccoli

1. A. Probably every other week, up to once a week or rarely twice in one week. Small kids, one income, definitely couldn't do more, or want to for nutrition reasons (for the kids especially). MY DH eats lunch out fairly frequently, as he is at work.

1. D since the kids left. Drops to C in the summer.

1. C. Lunch 5 days a week and dinner about once. I've tried for years to bring my own lunch to work but it never lasts more than a few days. My goal is to be a B, maybe even an A if I could get it together lunch-wise.

1. I'm barely an A?!? One reason is purely \$\$... eating lunch/dinner out is just NOT in my budget. ANother, I like to cook. And third... I'm CHEAP!! Have co-worker who brings a TEENY container of Starbuck's oatmeal EVERYDAY?? WOuld love to get into habit of eating oatmeal every (or almost) day, but would go with at home... even if quick or instant.

1. I'm a C, although closer to 6 than to 11. My office buys us lunch every day, so that's 5 meals right there, and I occasionally make breakfast out of the pantry supplies here for another meal or two in my count. DH and I eat takeout/restaurant dinners no more than once or twice a week, usually less.

1. re: biondanonima

wow...where do you work? and are they hiring? ;)

2. My answer is A, because my husband and I eat out twice a week Oct-April. But it jumps to three times a week when i eat out with a friend which usually happens once or twice a month
year round. I'm retired so i enjoy making meals at home.

1. Usually A. I mostly work at home, am not rich (and am thrifty in some ways), moreover I live very close to a major public market (Marché Jean-Talon) and many shops from Italian to southeast and south Asian, onto Middle Eastern and Maghrebi... (and Québécois of course, with a mix of French and North American foods). I love to cook; it is one of my passions. I do like evenings out with friends, but that would not average more than one a week. Sometimes I meet clients and colleagues, idem.

Some other ways of counting takeaway might put me at the low end of B, as we get great Chinese bbq ducks for pretty much the same price it would cost me to buy an uncooked duck of the same size, without counting the time, other ingredients and energy fees it would cost me to prepare the critter.

You don't seem to be counting either coffees in cafés or drinks in bars. I rarely drink in bars any more; prefer to save my booze quota for wine with meals, but since I live in an old Italian district and there are excellent cafés that aren't very expensive, I do sometimes go out just to have a macchiato and people-watch.

1. at least B, sometimes C

1. A) 0-2 meals a week.

I'm a stay-at-home & like to cook, but we're also film buffs who live close to the Library of Congress Packard Campus National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, which shows free classic films 3 times a week. So when they're showing films we want to see, we dine out on those nights, which thus can mean anywhere from 1 to 3 times a week, although normally this works out to just once or twice.

1. C)

When I return to FT work, it will be 5 or 6 dinners per week, plus perhaps one or two lunches. Not voluntarily - they're eaten at my desk - and finding something that is sufficiently wholesome and nutritious as to be able to be eaten every day is almost impossible. Sushi is about the best thing that I've been able to find and, after having eaten it several times per week for years, I've developed a profound loathing of it.

1. re: mugen

Just recently I bought a mini-fridge and put it in my office (I work in a setting where this doesn't seem extremely odd, and our office fridge is way too small to handle our staff). It has transformed my work life. No more unhealthy, overpriced, nauseating food from our local places. I grill up chicken on a Sunday evening, chop it into pieces, bring bags of lettuce, dressing, etc., and I am set for lunches for the week. I also bring yoghurts and fruit for the week, and I bought a Keurig. No more schlepping lunches and breakfasts and coffee daily. I lost close to 30 pounds last winter/spring, and it has stayed off. I am a much happier worker now that I am eating what I want with a whole lot less hassle than bundling it in every day.

2. Usually C here. I try not to eat out at lunch no more then 2 or 3 days of the week. But we tend to have takeout on Fridays. If I eat breakfast on Saturdays it is always takeout. Lunch on Sundays is usually takeout too.

1. B -- 4 on avg; breakfast and lunch purchased/eaten at work once each on weekend; takeout x2 during week (takeout often spreads to a couple of meals but variable)

1. I guess B. SO currently works at home (for another week or so) so he'll go out to lunch to get out of the house despite there being plenty of food at home. I eat out for lunch once per week usually, and I usually eat at Chipotle, so it's not expensive (I get so few items in my bowl that they only charge me \$5, and I don't buy a drink). We'll eat out for dinner once a week, usually Fridays, sometimes twice if there's other sporting events going on on the weekends and we go to the bar to watch them. We pretty much never eat out for breakfast.

If it was just me I'd be in the A category.

1. A

Hubby and I both like to cook, and we think of fun stuff we want to make, so we just don't need to go out much.

Our grown children are in four different states, none where we live, so we travel somewhere every other month or so to visit for a few days. After a week of eating on the road, we have had ENOUGH restaurant food!

1. Normal = A
Holidays = C (usually cook a big meal at home and the rest of the week indulge ourselves in restaurants and takeout)

1. Thanks people. Here is the quick update. Please correct me if I misspelled your name or counted you in the wrong category. Thus far, it seems many Chowhounders eat out and take out equal to or less than 2 times a week.

Chemicalkinetics B
Cachetes A
thinks too much A
TeRReT A
KaimukiMan D
JungMann B
rudysmom A
alliegator C
Perilagu Khan A
bagelman01 C
ipsedixit CD
foodieX2 A
chefathome A
WhatsEatingYou B
cheesecake17 AB
a_s_mackay A
ferret D
KrumTx C
kseiverd A
blondanonima C
conniemcd A
lagatta A
babette feasts B
Bacardi1 A
mugen C
vttp926 C
DuchessNukem B
juliejulez B
jmcarthur A
fldhkybnva A

1. Lunch out every day of the week. Brunch every Sunday and out for dinner usually 3-4 times a week. Trying to reduce but just live to try new things. Seems I'm a C

1. re: MarkMiami

Not even an A. I RARELY eat foods prepared by someone else (except friends). It's a nutritional thing. I prefer to prepare things from scratch.

2. A) Either a dinner or a brunch on some weekends.

No time for breakfast out before work, and the location of my workplace isn't conducive to going out for lunch (unless I want McDonalds, Wendys, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W, Burger King, etc.). I kind of like to hit the gym and then relax on weeknights, so most of my meals out are meeting friends for a meal on the weekend. When I've got company in town we go out more because I like to show them the city.

1. I'm somewhere between B and C. I work in an office a few days a week and at home a few days a week. So in a week where I am on the wagon with my dieting, it is much easier/better for me to bring my breakfast and lunch to work. And when I work from home, I rarely go out for lunch.

Most weeks I cook dinner at least Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. On the weekends we tend to go out or do take out, though we might have lunch at home between kids activities.

In a week, where my dieting is not so good, I get lazy and tend to buy breakfast and lunch from the cafe at work. It gets expensive very quickly, not to mention that I often don't make the best choices nutritionally.

1. Currently A. I think I've eaten away from home 4 times since December 1. However, up until about 7 months ago, it would have been 5-7 times a week. I got a new toy for the kitchen (induction cooktop) and just decided I wanted to do more cooking and eating of my own food for a change. I was a committed (as in dedicated!) food explorer for a number of years and loved to try out new places; I did very little serious cooking at home but that has completely changed.

1. A. Once a week at most, generally speaking.

The husband prefers my cooking to pretty much everything else and we're both homebodies. But I need a break from cooking sometimes, especially if I'm having a bad day, so that's when we eat out.

Edited to add that there are two other considerations. 1. He's Muslim, so all food must be halal. There are a reasonable number of halal restaurants in Singapore, so that's not so much of an issue. 2. I have an astounding number of food sensitivities and allergies that make my life difficult - I have to be careful when selecting something on a menu. Food cooked at home is frequently just a lot easier to deal with - no guessing games.

1. I'm somewhere between B and C. On average, I eat out at least 4 times a week -- twice for dinner with my husband, once for dinner with friends and once for lunch with my mom. And I do take out once or twice if I'm having dinner solo. But I'm not sure how to count stopping at the Whole Foods salad/soup/hot foods bar and bringing something home. I guess that's takeout, too.

1. I probably average out to a low C, I think. I very rarely eat breakfast, and when I do it is almost always home cooked. Leftovers will often be lunch 2-3 days of my working week, so I'm eating out or taking out the other 2-3 days. Dinner is usually takeout 1-2 times a week, and I usually go out to dinner on Friday and Saturday.

So on the low side I'm eating out or taking out about 5 times a week. On the high side I'm eating out or taking out about 7 times a week.

1. D

1. A. I never do takeout. I workout early four mornings a week and have a workout breakfast at home before I do. My splurge is one breakfast, either coffee and good pastry or a real full breakfast on many Sunday mornings.
On rare occasions I will have lunch out, never dinner. It's expensive and usually too late for me to eat.

1. A. Mostly because I'm broke, though. I do love the little Chinese place in town with the \$5.95 lunch buffet....

Even when I wasn't broke, though, it might still have been A. B on a heavy week.

1. Another update. This time a pie display. The general trend is about the same. Almost half of those who responded eat equal or less than 2 meals a week from restaurants. Please correct me if I made the wrong assignment:

Chemicalkinetics B
Cachetes A
thinks too much A
TeRReT A
KaimukiMan D
JungMann B
rudysmom A
alliegator C
Perilagu Khan A
bagelman01 C
ipsedixit CD
foodieX2 A
chefathome A
WhatsEatingYou B
cheesecake17 AB
a_s_mackay A
ferret D
KrumTx C
kseiverd A
blondanonima C
conniemcd A
lagatta A
babette feasts B
Bacardi1 A
mugen C
vttp926 C
DuchessNukem B
juliejulez B
jmcarthur A
fldhkybnva A
MarkMiami C
Scoutmaster A
Jetgirly A
valerie BC
brucesw A
LMAshton A
CindyJ BC
MonMauler C
jrvedivici D
Hecetamom A
Kontxesi A

2 Replies
1. re: Chemicalkinetics

Late to the party but C especially when I'm working-it helps that I live in a city replete with some fabulous choices.

1. re: Chemicalkinetics

As a very analytical individual I appreciate your thought processes and charts. Interesting stuff.

2. Probably a here too. I'm pretty keen on nutrition, and like to know what goes into my meals. I bring my lunch everyday and cook dinner probably 6 nights a week. I pack my hubby lunch too, but he probably eats out a lot more at lunch than he admits to. I pretend I don't notice his lunch bills, he pretends he doesn't notice my purse bills. Fair system

5 Replies
1. re: sunangelmb

People who eat out often are not necessarily un-keen on nutrition.

Sometimes life just dictates that you are not, or cannot, be at home.

1. re: ipsedixit

Whoops, didnt mean it that way. In my town, eating out options are basically chain or fast food options. I forget that some hounds are super lucky to have a wide variety of delicious nuticious options. I have two boys,and a husband that play soccer 6 days a week, plus we both work,I get the cannot be at home thing, or too tired to cook thin. Didn't mean to imply those that eat out are less concerned...unless you're my parents...who happily eat out with abandon...at least 12 times a week, I'm jealous .

1. re: sunangelmb

Well, I didn't mean it that way either (and no, no offense taken).

What I meant was that sometimes, our jobs require us (like me!) to travel quite a bit. And if I'm on the road, then by definition each meal I am eating is "out" ... so to speak.

2. re: ipsedixit

Something I noticed- it's much harder to eat healthfully when out. For me, it's easier to prepare what I want and eat it home if I'm looking for a nutritious meal. Lots of times foods that seem healthy have so much crap in them.

1. re: cheesecake17

Something I noticed- it's much harder to eat healthfully when out.
___________________________________

And it really depends on what you meant by "out".

If I'm traveling, I essentially have two choices w/r/t my meals. I can either eat at a restaurant, or eat in my room. If I eat in my room, I'll either go shopping at local convenience store or a market. Most convenience stores these days, e.g. 7-Eleven, Duane Reade, Circle K, etc., have a selection of whole or cut-up fruits, prepared undressed salads and passable sandwiches. Between those items, you can eat just as about healthy as one can get while traveling and "out".

Restaurants are another story. Yes, it's harder, but if you don't have the mentality that this is a "one time splurge" meal, then eating healthy isn't that hard to do. And if you're like me, who travels quite a bit, eating "out" when traveling is less and less a "one time splurge" kind of meal ...

2. I am typically an A. Often go out one weeknight with girlfriends, maybe one lunch or dinner out on the weekend with DH. I don't remember the last time I did take out or fast food.

1. Final update. Thanks.

Half of the responders eat 2 meals or less in an average week from restaurant foods (dining out or taking out), and 2/3rd (67%) eat 5 meals or less.

8 Replies
1. re: Chemicalkinetics

It's no wonder that the Home Cooking board is the most active.

It's also quite a surprise why threads on dining out etiquette (e.g. tipping (or not tipping) or hogging a table) in restaurants are always so heated. If you're not eating out, what do you care (or know) about these things. It's like a Catholic priest opining about the lack of creativeness of the Missionary Position.

And, yes, I know about selection and responses biases and blah blah blah ...

1. re: ipsedixit

<It's also quite a surprise why threads on dining out etiquette (e.g. tipping (or not tipping) or hogging a table) in restaurants are always so heated. If you're not eating out, what do you care (or know) about these things.>

I disagree the cause. I don't think people who are heated in exchange in the dining out etiquette are the one who eat out or not eat out.

I think people are heated about these topics simply because they see etiquette as an extension of political conducts or personal morality. In other words, if you don't tip well, then you are an evil person who don't care for the poor, or if you hog on a table than you are a Republican who does not understand the importance of social justice; and vice versa for the opposite.

In short, in my experience, these topics turned heated because they turned personal or political.

P.S.: This is why it is more difficult to get very heated in a Home Cooking thread -- because it is difficult t politicize or personalize when someone asks you "How do I make English bread budding?" or "Can I use dark brown sugar for light brown sugar?" However, topics of "High Fructose Corn Syrup" can turned heated too. Why? Because you can politicize HFCS.

1. re: Chemicalkinetics

BBQ can get pretty heated ...

1. re: ipsedixit

Yeah, and I like to think because people take it very personally. They see barbecue as an extension of culture -- South Carolina barbecue vs Virginia barbecue. Kind of like football if you think about it.

1. re: Chemicalkinetics

Same way with chili.

1. re: Perilagu Khan

I liked many types of chili and bbq, but never saw football I liked. In fact the last Pro football game I watched/attended had Sam Huff playing for the NY Giants (1962).

BBQ or chili. I'll eat every month............

1. re: bagelman01

Speaking of football, perhaps soccer is your game. ;)

And I do eat BBQ and chili every month, or pert near.

2. re: ipsedixit

never mind Khan beat me to the punch

2. A

1. I hate to complicate things but does it count as a "home" meal or a "restaurant" meal when the dude and I eat in *my* restaurant, while we're working (I'd hazard a guess it'd be considered the same way dining at an office cafeteria would be but let me know).

We take at least four meals out at a restaurant each week; occasionally six, depending upon the number of days we're not required to be at work; so we're somewhere between B and C...

1. re: shaogo

Yeah.... I did not think of this for you who works in the restaurant business cooking for yourself. You know, in the spirit of the question -- it probably would still count as home cooking, even through it is not in the literal sense.

My original intent is really about how often people from an outside establishment.

2. C for sure, quite possibly D. I love to cook, and to have home-cooked meals, but I travel a lot. I logged over 100 nights last year just with one hotel chain, and there are certainly other hotels in the mix. I say C because I almost always skip lunch, which takes 7 meals away from the possible total. Obviously there are many weeks where I easily exceed 11, but I was trying to find some sort of average. On the rare complete week that I am at home? Then it's an A.

1. Got a few more replies, so I am updating again. The big picture remains relatively the same. Thanks for all replied. Appreciated.

Chemicalkinetics B
Cachetes A
thinks too much A
TeRReT A
KaimukiMan D
JungMann B
rudysmom A
alliegator C
Perilagu Khan A
bagelman01 C
ipsedixit CD
foodieX2 A
chefathome A
WhatsEatingYou B
cheesecake17 AB
a_s_mackay A
ferret D
KrumTx C
kseiverd A
blondanonima C
conniemcd A
lagatta A
babette feasts B
Bacardi1 A
mugen C
vttp926 C
DuchessNukem B
juliejulez B
jmcarthur A
fldhkybnva A
MarkMiami C
Scoutmaster A
Jetgirly A
valerie BC
brucesw A
LMAshton A
CindyJ BC
MonMauler C
jrvedivici D
Hecetamom A
Kontxesi A
Sam Salmon C
sunangelmb A
firecooked A
fourgirl A
shaogo BC
Cheez62 C

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