meal planning stop dining out

As I skipped breakfast this morning and then subsequently ended up missing lunch, I considered just going to a drive thru window somewhere to grab some food. But then I had this mini-internal struggle about a fridge full of food at home, the overpriced foods at restaurants, and my too often willingness to just go grab something when I have that craving for something quick and easy.

High Prices Equal Luxury

Not that a greasy burger is a luxury but considering a meal is 4 to 5 times more expensive than the cost of making that burger myself, I have come to the realization that I need to start treating dining out as a luxury.  Looking back at our bank accounts, it’s easy to see how small trips to the drive thru begin to add up. Between soccer practices, baseball games, dance class, and all the other things we volunteer for, leaves us less time to plan and prepare meals.

Big Waistline, Skinny Wallet

I always wonder that if I were to cut out all that fast food, could I lose those last 5 pesky pounds? We all know that dining out is directly correlated to the size and health of our gut so I know it’s in my best interest to eat healthy at home.  Not only could I slim down but I can fatten up my wallet too!

Willpower and meal planning may be the only way to overcome my weakness. If you’ve ever tried to overcome a bad habit such as smoking or cutting back on sugar, you understand how difficult it can be to maintain a strong willpower. Today all I could think about was a beef fajita taco but instead I came home and made myself a ham sandwich. Still not as good as my original craving but it filled me up nonetheless. Just like anything, it takes one small victory at a time until it eventually becomes a good habit!

Convenience has a price and the question is not whether you are willing to pay for it, but rather if you can truly afford to pay for those conveniences.  Ask yourself if your sticking to a 50/20/30 budget and if you’re able to save at least 10-15% of your income.  If you’re not meeting these basic goals, it gives you even more reason to avoid those conveniences and cravings.

My Plans To Overcome

Willpower can only take me so far as we all have those days where there is just no time to cook! I have been using a menu plan service for the past few months and while I love it, I still run into the issue of not having enough time to cook or prepare meals.  My husband had a great suggestion for me that I plan on implementing this week.  Instead of having a variety of dishes I prepare every week, he told me to pick 10-14 meals that I can cycle through every two weeks all the while limiting dining out to special occasions. “That’s what normal people do,” he told me.  It actually makes a lot of sense! So with my favorites pulled from the menu plan, it should make my grocery store trips faster and speed up preparation when I already know how to make the recipes without having to refer to the instructions. We’ll see how it goes!

 

 

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