Fast food and take out are stress free—except for the stress that they put on your wallet and your body. Knowing that we need to make the switch to meals made at home is not the problem. How to make the switch is.
Making the transition from regular restaurant eating to prepping food at home can be daunting. Add kids to the mix, and it’s downright overwhelming!
Let The Grocery Store Prep Your Meals For You
On your lunch break or on your way home, purchase from the grocery store one of the super quick meals that I list below.
If you shop during your lunch break, you may need to label and store your purchases in the break room fridge until the end of the day. Write yourself a note or set an alarm so that you don’t forget to take your dinner home with you.
Picking up dinner on your lunch break works great for a couple of different reasons.
First, while you are in the grocery store buying dinner, you can also grab something healthy for yourself for lunch. Consider these lunch options: a prepared meal from the deli, a salad from the produce department, or tuna and cracker packages.
Second, if you enter the store knowing exactly what you are going to get, you’ll have the opportunity to walk the aisles briskly to put some movement in the middle of your day.
If it works out better for you to pick up dinner on the way home, be sure to drop it off in the kitchen as soon as you arrive. Then take a few minutes to change clothes (maybe even take a shower) and unwind a bit before moving on to conquering dinner.
Savoring 15 to 20 of winding down time can transform the evening meal from that next to-be-conquered item on your todo list to a pleasurable experience that you can give yourself. If children are demanding your attention, tell them you’ll be able to give them more and even better attention after you’ve given yourself some. (Think oxygen mask demonstration by the flight attendant.)
Once the food is home, and you are in “home” mode, it’s time to set the table.
If that thought seems like too much work, maybe the idea of doing the dishes later is the problem. It’s ok to use paper plates and plastic forks. Water bottles are another good option to ensure good hydration while allowing minimal clean up. You won’t have to go disposable forever. Remember this is a transitional phase until meal prep at home becomes more natural. You can work your way up to real dishes later.
The point now is to see just how possible it is to eat at home in a way that’s convenient, cost-effective, and health conscious. In fact, you could even skip the table altogether. Spread a blanket on the floor and call it a picnic. (The kids will love it!) Throw the blanket into the washing machine after dinner, and clean up is done!
Now, just what exactly will grace your table (or picnic blanket)?
No Prep Meals You Can Enjoy at Home
•bottles of water
•bags of salad
•grilled chicken strips from the deli
•bottle of your favorite dressing
•small flour tortillas
•roll up and enjoy!
•bean dip or refried beans (warmed in microwave)
•a couple of tomatoes (4 minutes to chop)
•favorite sides from the deli
Consider combining any of the following ideas:
- Peeled and cut fruit from the produce department.
- Cold chicken and deli salads.
- Meat and cheese trays.
- Grocery store sushi.
- Hummus and pita chips
- Baby carrots and ranch.
- Summer sausage.
- Mini beef sticks.
- Turkey, pork, chicken, or beef jerky.
- Trail mixes.
- Boxes of raisins.
- Individual applesauce containers.
- Flatbread or prepared pizza dough, pizza sauce, and your favorite toppings.
Quick purchases that require no prep on your part make for a fabulous transition from eating out to eating at home. You’re likely to find that you spend a lot less than you’ve been spending eating out. You’ll feel good about the choices you are making. Plus, your body and your wallet (not to mention your taste buds!) will appreciate the change of pace.
Elizabeth Anne, a Shazzy Fitness guest blogger, discusses the joy that is possible in Jesus even after experiencing abuse—verbal, sexual, physical, emotional, psychological, financial, religious, childhood, adolescent, and marital abuse through books, speaking engagements, and blog posts at MyNameIsElizabethAnne.com. With an honest and uplifting style of sharing, Elizabeth Anne loves to spread JOY!