MAKING YOUR OWN MEALS
For the last month and counting, with the COVID-19 lockdown in place and househelp being scarce, have you had to challenge yourself to prepare all your meals at home, with no restaurant or take-out meals to depend on?
Did you notice that this has helped improve nutrition intake, develop better habits, and save money?
We don’t decide to change our whole lives with a flip of the switch and begin behaving like a different person without challenges, resistance, and obstacles. It never happens.
For us, eating out has ceased to be a special treat but a habit because we are too lazy to spend 20 minutes to make a healthy lunch or dinner at home. In fact, even sandwiches or salads from a chain restaurant aren’t usually worth the calories or money spent.
To help make cooking your own meals a habit, challenge yourselves to prepare all your meals at home in order to break the unproductive habit of eating out due to boredom or laziness. It’s not forever. It’s for one month to break the habit, build new healthy habits, and to remind yourself that you usually enjoy eating at home more than eating out, except for special occasions.
BENEFITS OF PREPARING AND EATING MEALS AT HOME
- More control of the ingredients in your foods
- Easier to control calories
- More likely to choose more nutritious foods (less temptation) Improve the quality of the foods you eat
- Save money
PREPARE FOR COOKING SUCCESS
- To be successful in this challenge, you will have to do some preparation in advance to make sure you have homemade food available to eat so that restaurant foods won’t be tempting.
- Loosely plan the meals you will eat. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but know in advance what you plan to eat for each meal all week.
- Grocery shop for enough meals for the entire week.
- Do any necessary meal prep, for example; you might pack lunches for work in advance, plan snacks when you will be away from home for a while, or cook protein in advance to make dinners easier during the week.
- Have a back-up plan. What can you prepare quickly in case you are shorter on time than anticipated? I like pre-cut vegetables and frozen cutlets that can be cooked in about ten minutes for a healthy, quick dinner, and if you pre-cook the cutlets in advance, even faster.
- It doesn’t mean you don’t get to indulge. Instead of hamburgers from a fast-food restaurant, make burgers on the grill. Get creative with researching how to make some of your favorite restaurant meals at home.
When you decide to challenge yourself, it’s essential to think through the obstacles that could come up, because we know anything worth doing will come with challenges.
- What if you have to work late?
- What if you have a mandatory work event?
- What if your kids have activities after school?
- What if a friend invites you out?
- What if there is a celebration?
Decide in advance what you will do in those scenarios. You don’t have to be perfect. You may decide in advance that if a legitimate celebration pops up, that requires you to enjoy a meal out, or a mandatory working lunch, then you will do that, but continue the challenge otherwise.
It’s not about removing yourself from your social circles, because time with friends and family is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and often that includes meals and drinks. But make your decisions before the challenge begins what will be acceptable to you. Your life, your challenge, you make the rules.
However, if you decide in advance that you will skip the post-run dinner and drinks with your running buddies, or a Friday night dinner with your co-workers, challenge yourself to hold that commitment to yourself. Remember, it’s just for one month. Your friends will be there next month.
Maybe your friends would be up for going to class instead of a restaurant, or a walk, or a movie, or a bowling game. All social engagements don’t necessarily have to be over a meal. This could be an opportunity to try something new. “Hey friend, I’m trying to reduce the number of restaurant meals I eat this month as part of a challenge, how about we watch a movie instead.” Or ask them if they have ideas.
Don’t let every offer to go out for a drink or meal throw you out of the challenge.
31 Mar, 2020