SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, April 05, 2010

Five Ways to Break the Eating out Habit | Family Economics

By Tiffany

Cooking/eating at home is a great way to save money and eat healthier, but it can be hard to break the restaurant habit.

Here are five ideas to make the process easier.

1. Make a Menu Plan: Having a plan, even a simple one, can help you avoid eating out. Write it down. Rotate the same plan every week if you need. Chances are it is still more variety than you get if you eat out frequently. If lunchtime is when you find yourself standing in line at a restaurant, make your menu with leftovers in mind. Soups, stews and casseroles can be heated at the office. Grilled meats can be cut up and added to salads for lunch the next day.

2. Use the Slow Cooker: This is almost like having a personal chef. Dinner gets assembled in the morning and at night you come home to the delicious smells of a meal cooked and waiting. There are many healthy slow cooker meals that require very little prep work. It is much easier to pass by the restaurants when you know you will be greeted by a fully cooked meal rather than a package of raw chicken.

3. Gather a Few Easy Pantry Meal Recipes: Meals such as beans and rice or pasta with marinara come to the rescue on days when you didn’t get a meal in the slow cooker. Post these recipes on the inside of your pantry door and keep the ingredients on hand.

4. Time Yourself Making Dinner vs. Grabbing Something Out: Once you realize how quickly dinner can come together at home, you’ll stop being tempted to go out to “save time.” 

5. Find Copy-Cat Recipes for Your Favorites: Can’t live without that specialty drink from Starbucks? Have a craving for your favorite pasta dish from the Italian place? Do a search for a copy-cat recipe online. 

Are you ready to save money and be healthier by eating at home?

5 Comments so far

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On Tuesday, November 09, 2010, Sherry from Modesto,Ca wrote

We serve homeless and hungry folks at our church, we call it Friday Night Loud! We bring casseroles and desserts, bread and homemade meals of all kinds. we also have worship and a band playing worship music! it's really great to serve this way. I hope it catches on and spreads, there are hungry people out there, they are also hungry for compassion and God's Love! It gives a new meaning to me to serve and understand that this country needs to reach out to our own people. i get great recipe ideas that I can double or triple. Thanks for the help!

On Monday, April 12, 2010, K Kautto wrote

These are all terrific! I love the copycat of my favorites idea! :)

On Sunday, April 11, 2010, Laura from So. Cal. wrote

These are great ideas. It's important to cut back but not feel deprived. If you deprive yourself of things you're used to you're less likely to aquire new habits. Planning is the key.

On Sunday, April 11, 2010, Chris wrote

Meal planning is a definite plus. I look at my schedule to plan if I want a slow cooker meal or if I will have time to make a meal that takes longer. I really love the slow cooker meals. Fix them first thing in the morning while you are cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast and when supper time comes you have an extra hour to do something else. Great article! Thanks.

On Saturday, April 10, 2010, CherylK from Minnesota wrote

These are all great suggestions. I've tried all of them and they really do work. Honestly, I think it's easier than eating out and a LOT less expensive.

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