Ordering takeout can be your best friend and worst enemy. How easy can takeout get? You order the food you want, and it comes to YOU. Most times, plates/and or containers, plastic wear, napkins, and your occasional condiments are included. That can be a top luxury and convenience to the busy college student athlete. Sometimes, after a long day of class and practice, you don’t feel like going to go get or make something to eat, so ordering food is an easy answer. So what’s the big deal?
Ordering takeout is a surefire way to burn a hole through your wallet. All of the conveniences of ordering takeout come at a price. Your meal itself may only cost so much money, but after the additions of the delivery charge, the included taxes, and the gratuity, you are subject to paying almost double the price of your actual meal. In addition, once you find a place you really like, you are subject to ordering from them time and time again. In my freshman year, I wasn’t fond of the cafeteria food, so Dominos and Grape Leaves Grille (a local Mediterranean restaurant) was was my go-to. I ordered from Dominos and Grape Leaves Grille so much that every time I called to place an order, they greeted me by my first name and even knew what I want to order! Again, the meal you want is usually not that expensive, but after all of the extra charges added, your transaction is twice as big as originally projected. Also, the majority of companies that deliver food make you order at least ten dollars worth of food, so if what you want costs less than ten dollars before all of the extra charges, you have to order another item off the the menu, which is another unnecessary fee. I did not notice the heavy impact of ordering delivery had on my wallet until I began looking at my bank statements. Almost $20 various times a month began to add up! All of my money was quickly going down the drain.
The other downside of ordering delivery is that it sets you up for unhealthy eating. The food selections when ordering out will not always be the healthiest. For example, the food selection in the image above was and still is my favorite selection to order from Dominos. It’s delicious; it is Chicken Carbonara Pasta, filled with tender grilled chicken breast, onions, bacon, the most savory blend of seasonings, and an Alfredo-like cheese based sauce all put into an edible bread bowl that is evenly baked to perfection. Sounds fantastic right? Well it was. Extremely rich and tasty food like this will make it more and more easy to overeat. As a college athlete, you have to consume at least 500-2000 more calories a day than the average person, so you can afford to have a little extra on you plate, but it feels like it is twice as easy over do it by eating takeout, no matter what type of food it is.
So what is the solution? First, instead of ordering food for delivery, try to pick up the food yourself. Yes, that will make it a little less convenient on your end, but that will eliminate the delivery charge, gratuity, and you can order something that costs less than the delivery threshold because you are the one retrieving the food from the place. It is extra work, but your wallet will thank you in the end. Also, look into cutting down your consumption of fried foods, and look into more low sodium, whole wheat options, or options that include more fruits and/or vegetables. As more information is being given on nutrition facts, and the law that most food companies have to show the amount of calories in each entree, these food companies that you are ordering from are continually trying to integrate healthier options into their menus without compromising taste. Sometimes all you have to do to get a healthier version of what you want is ask!
The best solution would be cutting out delivery completely, unless you are having a party or having a special occasion. I have not ordered takeout since my freshman year, and I have seen the dramatic difference in my spending. I am able to save more, and by making my own meals, I cut my food costs more than 75%. Along with saving more money, I have gotten a little bit more slimmer since I have stopped ordering out. When I was ordering out all the time, I was about 5-8 pounds heavier than I am. I did not gain a crazy amount of weight because I was constantly working out, but I definitely feel the difference being a little bit lighter. My face also cleared up, because I am not consuming as much foods that are high in fat, sugar, and sodium. Overall, cutting out ordering takeout positively effected me.