Since the pandemic, most of the places I’ve eaten out at, have increased their prices by at least 30%! I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well. It is very easy now to spend $30 for a lunch out. Dinners with one glass of wine are often over $70. If you eat out only one lunch and one dinner a week, this adds up to more than $5000 a year!! And let’s be honest, many people eat out more than 2 meals a week. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend this kind of money on a trip, or home renovations or a new car…the list of things we can spend our money on is endless.

On the other hand, I understand the benefits of eating out. Many of you have headed back to the office on either a part-time or full-time basis by now. We’re all busy, and working out of the home only intensifies our busyness. We don’t want to spend our free time chopping veggies and cooking over the hot stove for hours on end. Especially during these beautiful summer months. This is why we so often turn to eating out. Here are the tips I follow, to enjoy more meals at home.

3 Strategies to Limit Your Eating Out Occasions

Eating out isn’t going away completely, and it shouldn’t. It’s a great way to socialize and celebrate with loved ones. But I do think it’s important for both our waistlines, and wallets, to limit the number of times we dine out. Try these tips to simplify your home cooking routine, so that you do it more.

1. Create a breakfast, lunch and dinner list.

Figuring out what to eat, takes time. Take a few minutes today, to build a list of your favourite healthy morning, mid-day and evening meals. Plan to rotate 1 or 2 of these meals into your regular weekly dinners to make things easier on yourself and still give your family some variety in their healthy meals.

Here are some ideas to get you started with building your meal lists:

  • Breakfast ideas: 2x hard boiled eggs + 1 cup raw veggies + hummus; homemade protein shake; steel cut oats + berries
  • Lunch ideas: homemade soup with beans or chicken; bagged salad with chicken breast; 1 slice whole grain bread + chicken breast + ½ avocado + fruit + 6 nuts
  • Dinner ideas: homemade chili; chicken breast + frozen veggies; tofu + veggie stirfries

These lists will save you a ton of prep time and keep you on your healthy eating track!

2. Food Prep is Key to limit eating out.

You will save a ton of time making your meals if you pick one or two times in the week to figure out your menu and do your food preparation. We often spend Sunday afternoons getting these tasks done:

  • Create the meal plan and groceries required for the upcoming week.
  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Wash and chop vegetables.
  • Pre-cook and freeze a portion of required protein.

3. Embrace ‘semi-homemade’ cooking.

Meals don’t have to be 100% “made from scratch” to be healthy. Embrace healthy ‘done for you options’ by using:

  • already spiralized zucchini & squash noodles.
  • already prepared cauliflower rice (I love the one you buy from Costco).
  • diced & frozen veggies & fruit.
  • bagged salad, shredded carrots & cabbage.
  • canned tomatoes & beans.
  • salt-free tetra broths.

Using all of these ‘partially prepared’ healthy ingredients, will ramp up the nutrients in your meals and save you time in the kitchen.

To Sum it up…Limit the Times You Eat Out

Eating out is quick and easy, and a fun way to socialize. However, I do think it’s important for both our waistlines, and wallets, to limit the number of times we dine out. Building a recipe book filled with your favourite healthy meals will make things easier on you. Home cooking is more manageable when you have a food prep ritual and you make ‘semi’ homemade meals utilizing the cooking shortcuts I’ve listed above. Give these tips a try and let me know which one worked best for you!