The average American family spends over $200 per month eating out. Much of this has to do with convenience and I get that, but it’s costing us our money and our health. My husband and I decided to cut back on eating out and it has been a real eye-opener. We eat at home throughout the week, but then we tend to eat out 2-3 times on the weekends simply because it’s fast, tasty and this momma wants a break from cooking. However, I don’t want to continue feeding my family junk just because I “deserve” a break.
I’ve found that eating at home more often requires planning and a shift in thinking. So here are 6 easy tips that have helped me to avoid eating out.
Creating a list of meals for the week is a great way to save money, eat healthier and avoid eating out. If you need help in this area then you can check out my post on how to menu plan here.
Keep Snacks in the Car or at Work
Keeping a stash of nutritious and portable snacks in the car or at work is a great way to avoid last minute drive-thru stops. Having things like nuts, dried fruit or peanut butter crackers on hand helps to get through busy days away from home.
Use Convenience Foods
I cook mostly from scratch because it’s healthier and more frugal than buying convenience foods, but if keeping a frozen pizza in the freezer will help you avoid eating out then it is a great option. I try to plan simple meals like this for the weekend because I know I won’t feel like cooking.
Do Some Freezer Cooking
If you’ve been reading this blog for very long then you know how much I love freezer cooking. Taking a few hours a month to prepare home cooked meals for the freezer is a great way to save money and avoid eating out on busy nights. You can also make things like homemade burritos, muffins or bread to freeze for when you need them.
Trying to eat healthy with a busy lifestyle can be challenging, but setting aside an hour or two per week to do things like chop vegetables, boil eggs, cook meat, shred cheese, etc. will set you up for success the rest of the week. Some people even pack lunches for the entire week on Sunday nights so they can just grab and go the rest of the week.
Plan for Events
If you know that on Wednesday nights you will be at soccer practice during dinner, then make a plan to pack something easy such as fruit and sandwiches. Planning ahead is a great way to keep your family eating healthy meals on the go.
Count the Costs
What is eating out really costing you? Add up how much money you are currently spending in this area to see how much you could save by eating at home. Also, compare how much a home cooked meal costs vs. a fast food meal. Doing this will cause you to stop and think before you drop $20-$30 on one meal when you could make the same thing for $5 at home!
Change is hard and it you’ve been eating out all your life (like me) then trying to stop will be a challenge, but with some commitment and planning you are sure to succeed!
How many times do you eat our per week? What do you do to avoid eating out? I’d love to know!
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