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Special Reports September 2015 Issue

Smart Strategies for Healthy Eating Out

With Americans spending more than ever at restaurants, here’s how to make sure you don’t pay with your health.

For the first time, Americans are spending more money eating out at restaurants than buying food in grocery stores. According to the US Census Bureau, consumer spending at restaurants narrowly edged grocery-store purchases in December 2014, $50.4 billion to $50.2 billion. That tiny gap has widened, with restaurant spending exceeding groceries by nearly 3% as of April. Factors driving the switch included an increasing trend to buying groceries in warehouse and “club” stores, with cheaper prices, and lower gas prices freeing up funds for eating out. The total doesn’t include ready-to-eat dishes purchased at upscale supermarkets, which further diminish what we’re cooking from scratch.

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