There’s something about summer that just beckons you to take your meal out into the garden. Eating at home is one of the best things about the warmer months but heading to a local restaurant and eating in their outdoor garden is another great way to spend time this summer. If you’re new to outdoor dining, you’re in a for a treat. There are plenty of places to take advantage of the opportunity and so many wonderful benefits that you’ll love. Here’s your guide to outdoor dining this summer.
Finding an Outdoor Dining Venue
Restaurants across the globe offer patios in their garden so that you can enjoy your meal al fresco. That includes budget friendly places where you can get a sandwich and a drink all the way to gourmet restaurants that serve a fancy meal in a special outside space. Look for places with a friendly staff and a welcoming ambiance. You also want to be sure the garden space is clean. Beyond that, you should choose a place serving the type of cuisine you want and that has space for your group. Once there, you can enjoy the following benefits of eating a meal outside:
Exposure to Vitamin D
When you sit somewhere in the sunshine you get to soak up the vitamin D from the sun’s rays. Many people are deficient in this vitamin, which is hard to get from food as there are very few sources. Spending time outdoors helps boost your stores, which in turns reduces your risk of a variety of health issues, including osteoporosis, heart attacks and depression. Use caution with sun exposure, however, since too much increases the risk of skin cancer. Moderation is the key but soaking up the sun is a great reason to book yourself a table in a restaurant garden this summer. If you are dining outdoors in the daytime, be sure to wear sunscreen.
Improves Focus and Concentration
When you’re suffering from mental fatigue, some time spent outdoors may be just the remedy you’ve been searching for. Research has found that spending time in nature restores mental clarity and is like a nap for your brain. At the same time, when your attention is flagging, going outside can help you refocus and concentrate better. Having lunch outside is a great way to boost your concentration and focus at work, so a meal in a pub/restaurant/cafe with outdoor space, a garden or a park anytime can also help.
Makes You Happier
Besides boosting your stores of vitamin D, which helps battle depression, having a meal outdoors can make you happy in several ways. Exposure to natural light, as opposed to the artificial kinds from the lights at work, your smartphone, computer or television, has powerful health benefits lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lowering your heart rate, both things that contribute to higher reported levels of happiness.
Wakes You Up
Nature is like a natural energy booster and can help wake you up during a dreary day. When you spend your days in the same place doing the same thing, you can get fatigued and start to drag. Going outside is enough to make your more alert but combining your time outdoors with a meal gives your body and brain energy and helps you battle through the rest of the day. So next time your energy is flagging, consider heading outside to eat and enjoy the benefits it has to offer. Even if you just eat your bagged sandwich from the corner shop, you’ll be reaping some big rewards.
There are Social Benefits Too
You probably know how great it is to sit down and enjoy a meal with beloved family and friends. Those benefits are dramatically enhanced when you dine together outside. Sitting down together gives you a chance to relax and unwind, something that lowers blood pressure, fights depression and builds relationships through shared experiences. Eating with your family and friends has been linked to better eating choices and building empathy. So when you eat together in a restaurant garden, whether it’s a picnic style place or a gourmet full service restaurant, you get all the benefits of eating outside as well as the social benefits of spending time with the people you love. What better reason to make a reservation do you need?
Eating outside generally boosts the immune system so it’s a great choice, even if you’re eating alone. However, eating with those you love boosts the benefits and gives you a memorable experience that will make you happy, even when winter comes again. Enjoying a meal in the garden is something you should be doing as often as possible. You won’t be sorry.
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What should you opt for when creating your first meal? Actually, you can go far worse than choosing the simple cheese toastie. The flavours don’t have to be subtle and you’ll almost certainly end up with something that’s truly satisfying. A great starting point.