Of course, we all love heading out for a meal at the trendy new place in town. But sometimes it’s just necessity that causes you to buy food from outside, because the last thing you want to do is bang around the kitchen with five hundred pots and pans after a long hard day at work.
But eating restaurant food often is not a very good idea. Not only is eating out not always healthy, but it also takes up a significant chunk of your finances every month. And sure, there are places that claim to be healthy and use organic produce, but you know those places just cost extra.
When picking up the delivery menu has become such a routine of your life, it can seem impossible to give up. Luckily, there re a few things you can do to train yourself into eating more homemade meals. Maybe the first week, you cut the number of restaurant meals from 8 to 6, and then 4 and so on.
This is how you trick yourself into eating out less:
1. Learn To Cook
Yeah, it seems obvious, but if you want to eat homemade meals, you need to learn how to make them. We’re not saying you need to know how to make an entire Sunday roast in the next couple weeks, but you should definitely learn to do simple things like boil pasta, saute vegetables, and cook rice. When it comes to meat, you should start with chicken because that’s the easiest to learn. You could take a beginner’s cooking lesson or just watch a few of the thousands upon thousands of cooking basics videos on YouTube. Before you know it, you’ll be a master!
2. Prepare Ahead
So, we know that one of the main reasons why people don’t like to cook at home is because they don’t have the time – or energy – on certain days. That’s why its a great idea to prepare a few meals ahead, portion them out, and store them in the freezer. Things like cooked meat and soups will stay good when frozen for months. You could do this over the weekend or whenever you have time to spare. And when it’s meal time, all you need is to pop a container out, heat it and you’ve got yourself a hearty homemade meal.
3. Get Your Mise-En Plus Ready
I don’t know about you but one thing that annoys me the most come meal time is all the peeling and chopping I know is ahead of me. Often times, it motivates me to avoid the entire process completely. What I’ve found helps a lot is having certain vegetables already peeled or chopped, i.e. onions, garlic, etc. ready in the refrigerator. I tend to do this over the weekend or whenever I’ve got some free time, sat in front of the TV.
So, you can now watch The Bachelor and when you start sobbing like a maniac, just blame it on the onions!
4. Try New Recipes
Trying new recipes doesn’t mean you have to run out to the specialty supermarket and buy a bunch of spices or spend hours slaving over the hot stove. Just a little bit of variation can make a lot of difference. For instance, one day you could make noodles with Italian flavors like thyme and garlic and switch it up the next day and make it spicy with chilli and shrimp. All you need is a bit of imagination.
5. Use The Internet
Forget an imagination. Whenever you have some down time, try and search recipes online. You know you’re going to be staring at your phone anyway, so why not put it to good use? Th internet is an amazing, free database for pretty much anything you like, and there are literally millions of recipes for you to try. Don’t have that ingredient this recipe calls for? The internet’s probably got a solution (substitute) for that as well!
6. Make Extra
Make good use of time you do spend cooking and make double the amount of food you usually would. Making pasta for dinner? You could store the extra sauce in the fridge and repurpose it for lunch the next day. Most families in South Asia and other parts of the world have this as an actual practice. They make a vegetable or meat-based curry with rice for lunch and use the leftover gravy for dinner with flatbread. What a neat idea!
7. Stock Up
Putting together simple meals is pretty easy if you know how to properly stock your pantry. You might have no other choice but to buy fresh fruit and vegetables every week or so, but pantry staples like canned food, pasta, and grains will last forever. It’s pretty simple to boil a bit of pasta and dump a tin of canned tuna into it. Chop up a few onions and garlic, squeeze a bit of tomato paste, and you’ve got yourself a delicious and nutritious meal.
8. Treat Yourself
We’re not saying you should give up eating out entirely, but it should definitely be something that’s a treat and not a necessity. Ironically, a good way to motivate yourself to eat homemade meals is by treating yourself once in a while. Instead of eating from fast food places and cheap restaurants several times a week, make food at home and save up on that money. At the end of the week, you can treat yourself to a nice meal at a fancy restaurant. The entire experience will be a lot more exciting and you’ll definitely appreciate it more.