Cooking at home is healthier and less expensive than eating out, ordering takeout, or purchasing frozen dinners. But it can be difficult at times. Particularly if you work a lot and only have yourself to feed.
Here are five deceptively simple strategies she suggested for gaining control of your nutrition, meal budget, and pantry:
You Have To Make The Time To Cook
Groceries don’t magically appear at your door and start cooking themselves. You must spend time selecting your meal (whether at the supermarket or ordering it for delivery), preparing it, and cooking it. Campbell advises choosing a consistent day and time to complete your shopping and making it to the checkout every week. Being a home cook is a habit, just like everything else. You set aside an hour every week to watch your favorite Thursday night show or attend your favorite gym class, and this is no exception. This recipe from Magical Slow Cooker is great if you are short on time.
Ensure You Have The Must-Have Items In Your Kitchen
Nobody will be able to arrange every night of their lives in advance. We don’t always stick to our plans, and sometimes life gets in the way. But you shouldn’t have to eat takeout or go hungry simply because you didn’t go grocery shopping—nor should you have to purchase the same thing every week if you can purchase it in bulk and store it in the pantry for a while. Do you use spinach in a variety of dishes? Always keep a frozen bag on hand. Will most recipes necessitate the use of olive oil, salt, and garlic? (Yes.) Make sure your supplies are consistent.
Write It Down
The most crucial aspect of meal planning is, of course, the planning. Before you go shopping, sit down and plan out what you want to have for each meal of the upcoming week. Yes, each and every meal. And be honest with yourself: do you really want to eat that stew for every lunch and supper for the next week, or will you cave and order a takeaway by Tuesday night? Consider what you currently have in your freezer and how you may use the same items in different ways. Can you use the squash you’re using in the soup on a salad as well? Can you have it as a side dish with other foods?
Even if you’re simply cooking for yourself, it’s a good idea to cook in large batches—even if the dish isn’t necessarily a meal in and of itself. If you plan your meals well, you can utilize the same ingredients in multiple dishes. That wild rice might complement your pork chop one day, be ideal for your lunch salad the next, and be fantastic topped with the stew you grabbed from the freezer the day after. However, it helps if you’ve planned ahead of time and know that you want to eat that rice for 3 or 4 meals, rather than walking into the kitchen every night and thinking.
These tips should make it easier for you to prepare more food at home. Are there any other tips that you know of that could help? Please share some of them in the comments below.