As the Treasure Valley continues to grow, so does the number of dining options. From fast food to mom and pop spots and chain restaurants, there are plenty of options to choose from and endless ways to have the food reach your plate. In the past year alone, Boise's dining options have grown so significantly that we've been able to introduce Uber Eats, GrubHub and most recently, Door Dash to our community. While takeout has made significant strides to include wholesome, vegan and gluten-free menus, a new study claims that eating meals prepared in restaurant kitchens, be it fast food or your favorite sitdown, could add harmful phthalates to your body.

The study, published in Environment International, used data from over 10,000 participants who had dined out in the past 24 hours had 35% higher levels of phthalates than those who didn't. That number was alarmingly up to 55% higher in pregnant women, children, and teens compared to those who had prepared wholesome meals made.

Why does this matter? Phthalates are a type of chemical commonly found in food packaging at popular locations (things like to-go boxes, food handling gloves, and more) and they have been linked to health issues including cancer, diabetes, and infertility. Naturally, this is something you'd want to avoid as much as possible.

So what can you do when you're hungry here in the Treasure Valley? The best thing you can do is to focus on meal prep and home cooking. Not only does this practice save you a massive amount of money, but you'll know exactly what's going into your food. If you can't meal prep yourself, there are meal prep services that ensure they use only the best handling products so your food comes out as low in phthalates as possible.

Having quality, wholesome foods has never been more convenient, but it's important when choosing food, to ensure you're getting only the best. Whether you're passionate about lowering your risk for cancer, diabetes, or you're trying to get pregnant, it's more important now than ever to ensure you're only giving your body the absolute best nutrition.