Eating out and ordering take-out makes us fat. I used to eat out A LOT. I’d eat out for lunch when I worked full-time. I’d pick up take-out food for dinner for the family. We’d order pizza – often. I regularly stopped at the drive-up window to pick up a breakfast sandwich. All of that convenience and fast food helped me get fat. Although, I’ve always enjoyed cooking and am fairly handy in the kitchen, one of my biggest challenges was that I had a picky family. They didn’t (and still don’t always) like what I prepare. Of course, I was also lazy. Planning, prepping, and cooking meals takes a lot of time and effort. It is a lot easier to pick up a quick meal than to prepare a fresh meal at home from scratch.
As I’ve lost weight and gotten myself fit and healthier, I WANT to eat at home. I WANT to eat food that I’ve prepared. I no longer crave all that processed junk and salt. I no longer enjoy eating out all that much. But, how did I get to this point? How did I get to the point that I’d rather eat my own fresh food at home than eat out?
1. Plan! Plan a menu. Plan trips to the grocery store. Plan for the next meal. On Sundays, post a weekly menu so everyone knows what’s for dinner every evening. With a planned menu, it’s easy to plan a shopping list. Planning ahead and having a well-stocked pantry and freezer saves the guess-work – looking into the fridge and wondering “What’s for dinner?” – will not happen. Last-minute trips to the grocery store will be few and far between!
2. Prep! Make it easy to eat veggies. At any given time, have some sort of green for a salad. Also, try to have some sort of cooked vegetable that is ready to eat…roasted peppers, green beans, beets, sweet potatoes, etc. Make veggies easy to prepare in a hurry…peeled and cut sweet potatoes…peeled and cubed squash….washed greens….cleaned, trimmed and snapped beans…par-cooked potatoes. Planning a menu and having sides ready to go, cuts down on prep work at meal time. It is nice to come home from work, have meat marinated, salad prepped, fruit cleaned and sliced and veggies ready to go on the grill.
3. Leftovers. Leftovers are fantastic! Instead of eating out for lunch, make extra meat and veggies and take it to work the next day. If you are grilling chicken, throw on a couple of extra pieces – chicken freezes well and is great to top a salad. Make it convenient to take food from home to work or out and about. Don’t rely on the drive-through or deli at the grocery store for lunch.
4. Partner. Having a partner at home who will eat the same foods makes it much easier to eat healthy. Trying to lose weight or eat healthy when everyone else in the house is eating take out pizza, Chinese food, and tacos is difficult. Get a healthy eating partner . . . then quit eating out! The whole family will benefit.
Of course, going out for a nice dinner is great – once in a while. But, make dining out be a time when the family catches up from a busy week . . . or a treat after a sporting event. . . or a celebration for good grades. Don’t rely on a restaurant or the deli to provide sustenance for your family! Get in the kitchen and COOK real food!
- Planning Your Menu With Some Help (nytimes.com)
- Menu Planning Tips and Benefits (mommyrunfast.com)
- Managing Meal Time: Tips from the Author of “Dinner, a Love Story” (blogs.wsj.com)