Preparing food at home instead of dining out saves money, calories, and nutrition, though it takes time, effort and motivation. Finding innovative ways to put food on the table has been a challenge for home cooks for ages.
Yesterday, we asked on Twitter, “Do you cook almost every meal you eat? What tips or advice do you have for people looking to eat out less?" We received a number of helpful responses, which we've shared below.
@365foods: eating out less=using part of Sunday to plan ahead. Pick recipes, shop, pre-wash and chop, etc.
@browneyedbaker: Make a weekly plan - write out the meals you want to make and grocery shop for only those ingredients (plus staples)...
@GfintheCity: Plan ahead. Also, many ppl see cooking as too much work. Simply cooking more builds your skills, makes it easier, faster.
@nithyadas: grocery shop in advance and make it a Sunday ritual to cook a big meal that will leave you w/leftovers
@TheEasyEntree: Spend 30 minutes a week planning. Doesn't have to be fancy; you just have to know what you're having each night at home.
Make a menu
@Polleydan: We make a meal calendar and hang it on our fridge. That helps remind us we need to cook at home.
@PTWARachel: Menu shopping. Plan your menu for the week THEN go grocery shopping. Then you always have exactly what you need to prepare a meal!
@Userealbutter: planning a menu helps a lot.
@ElizabethCarls: plan a menu - you'll know what your choices are for dinner and won't be as tempted to go out as much
@100Miles: For me: keeping kitchen stocked with basics: onions, potatoes, garlic, cheese, eggs, beans, pasta, seasonings, frozen fish & meat
@Leslieconn: Must have stocked pantry. Stock freezer and fill fridge w/fresh veggies!
@klink84: be prepared! it helps to fight temptation when you are ready with a fridge of food or items you made when you had more time!
Cook in bulk
@comestibles: Try to cook things that you can turn into other meals, like roast chicken, then chicken stir fry, then soup.
@foodgalnyc: Make in quantity -- or chop up things on the weekend for salads, etc. -- and u'll have things all week w/out much prep.
@foodgalnyc: Also, casseroles, lasagna, stews, soups are great as make-aheads. Put in individual containers to take to work or freeze.
@N_Lesley: Cook for the freezer! in double or triple batches, or just freeze prepped ingreds. Makes it easy, inexpsve to eat well in a hurry
@Indianfoodrocks: make lists, plan, purchase grocery according 2 plan, cook for more than 1 meal, freeze half, supplement with salads/fresh veggies
Don't be afraid to use prepared foods
@N_Lesley: also jarred simmer sauces (indian, thai etc) +protein + preprepped veg = tasty and still cheaper than takeaway/restaurants
Keep it clean
@nobigwhoop: always clean up asap :) not walking into a mess or sink of dishes makes it less onerous.
@seattlefoodgeek: Transform cooking from a chore to a fun activity. Be creative!
@Shaeclaypool: Try to make dinner exciting. Pick recipes that imitate restaurants but are lower in calories and fat.
@GraciaMIA: Ditch recipes. Trust your instincts and learn to use items already in the fridge/pantry.
Final words of wisdom:
@WasabiPrime: Definitely cook more at home to save $, but results are worth it! You learn so much and it's an empowering experience!
Anything to add?
image by The Italian Voice