So… You haven’t heard from me in a while and I must confess that I am miserably failing my challenge to change our family’s eating out habit and save money in 30 days.
We did super good during the first week. I prepared a bunch of freezer cooking meals and we disciplined ourselves to eat every meal at home using mostly ingredients already in the home. Week two hit and my family revolted. They’d had it with my meal concoctions and I can see their point. The meals I was making were similar (a lot of chicken!) and repetitious. Since this development ruined my menu plan and I didn’t always have time to come up with a new meal option we went and got take-out several times. Ugh.
Three things I learned from this experiment so far.
The idea was good, but not realistic.
The idea was good. We certainly have enough food in the house to satisfy our hunger. Not eating out or purchasing our normal amount of groceries would save us money and help us eat healthier food.
Unfortunately, my plan wasn’t realistic. It would have been better to limit our eating out to one or two meals a week instead of none. There are times when our schedule gets unexpectedly crazy and the convenience of eating out, out ways proving some point and stressing out over eating a home cooked meal. Last week, for example, President Obama’s visit to Columbus coincided with my taking our daughter to orchestra rehearsal. The traffic was crazy, I was stressed out, and there was no way I would make it home in time to get a meal ready. So we ate Greek food at our favorite restaurant and enjoyed a pleasant family meal conversation.
Meal planning helps avoid eating out unnecessarily.
I still believe that meal planning is the way to go. Even if life gets crazy and you decide to go out and grab a meal every once in a while (thankfully, traffic isn’t usually that bad), you must have a meal plan for the rest of the week. Having freezer meals ready to go has been a huge help to me. I choose to serve these meals on days when I know I won’t have much time to spend in the kitchen.
Not planning for enough variety was another big mistake. I never knew it would matter so much, but hey, you learn something new every day. For the next two weeks we will definitely have variety!
It’s okay to give yourself a break.
Life happens. You may be having one of those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. You may be tired and exhausted. If you’re like me and cooking isn’t your most favorite thing, a little time off from the kitchen can go a long way. So give yourself a break. Your family will thank you. (Just make sure you have a meal plan in place and don’t make it a habit. :))
Here’s to another two weeks of eating at home more, using what you’ve got and saving money.
There are still two weeks left to the challenge and I am going to give it my best effort. I will, however, increase my grocery budget a little and allow for the occasionl take-out meal.
(Note- The links in this post may be my referral links.)