They tempt you with promises like of little to no effort, yummy food (even if you regret it 30 minutes later) and very minimal to no clean up. It’s hard to tune out their siren calls when all you want to do is relax on the coach and catch up with your favorite shows.
BUT dinner can actually be fun and a lot easier than you think!
AND making dinner at home is SOOO much HEALTHIER, CHEAPER & you may even have LEFT-OVERS for lunches!
I am a HUGE supporter of cooking at home. Especially since I’ve become a Vegan/Vegetarian I find that I love my home cooked meals so much more than restaurants AND I know exactly what is going into my body and I can always use my favorite ingredients.
For example, I order a lot of pasta dishes when I go out (easy Vegan option – ask for olive oil instead of butter and extra veggies) and they only come with 10 bites of vegetables and the plate costs $15! While I could make this at home, use as many veggies as I want and have it cost only $3!
Eat at home more often and you’ll notice a huge difference not only in quality, quantity but also price.
Now, I do enjoy going to restaurants and grabbing food from Chipolte (Josh and I are obsessed with their burritos) but not every single night. Overall, cooking at home is the best way to ensure you are putting nutritional, real, whole foods into your body.
Before you can get started jotting down your nightly meals it’s important to take a moment and really think about your life in general because I believe the most important part of Meal Planning is to be Mindful and Flexible.
Mindfulness with Meal Planning
What nights are you most busy and getting home later?
What nights do you have more time to cook a bigger/more complex meal?
When do you have time to prep during the week or weekend?
Are there certain nights you crave certain meals or types of food?
Thinking about your entire lifestyle and diet can help you be more proactive with your meal planning.
If you know that you usually have a late meeting on Wednesday nights be sure to plan on making something easy or making one of your favorite but quick dishes so you aren’t tempted to order Chinese food instead of cooking. Do you crave pizza on Thursday nights try making it at home for yourself that way you’re in control of the ingredients that are used and how healthy it is!
When you’re honest with yourself meal planning can be a lot easier and more fun because you’re not forcing yourself to make something you aren’t in the mood for or don’t have time to prepare.
Flexibility with Meal Planning
So you’ve been planning on making a delicious Veggie Pasta all day but then your train gets delayed and you’re home 30 minutes later than expected. Rather than taking the time to cook pasta chop up all the veggies and make a big salad. Or enjoy last night’s leftovers with a twist, like sauteing a handful of kale to go with your leftover rice and broccoli.
The point is, be flexible with your plans and mindful of your time.
Don’t force yourself to make something that you’re not in the mood for or really don’t have the energy to make. That’s why I don’t put down which day I am going to cook the meals when I plan for the week. Instead, I come up with 5 - 6 different meals that I could make any night of the week.
Also, there is NO problem with having oatmeal with fresh fruit and a big smoothie for dinner when you’re really tight on time. Obviously this shouldn’t be an every night occurrence BUT when you are really strapped or really stressed it’s still healthier for your body and your wallet than grabbing 2 big slices of greasy pizza.
So, those are the most important building blocks to ensuring that your meal planning is successful! Check back tomorrow for my guide to meal planning!
What do you think about cooking at home vs. eating out? Share your comments below! It’ll make me smile!