The post about how to stop EATING OUT was quite popular. Now, let’s figure out a plan on how to eat in, more often. And most importantly, how to enjoy it 1000% more than we usually do.
A lot of times we go out to celebrate some fun events, but OFTEN it’s because “there’s nothing to eat here.” Or nothing FUN to eat at home. Or we have nothing prepared, and we don’t want extra work in prepping food, and then having to clean it up. Or perhaps we like to eat out, because it’s entertainment and “something to do” on top of the food. If we ate out more often, it would be because everyone in our family can get something different to eat, without me having to prep five different dishes.
But these are all excuses, and if you really want to EAT IN more often, let’s get it done, and let’s put together some easy strategies to STAY in and enjoy it even more than a meal out.
Recognize that eating out may be eating at your health. I have done plenty of eating out, and I am not here to hurt the restaurant industry (because I know that the billions of dollars we are all spending eating out is not going to stop), but know that staying in and eating your own food, is so much better for your body & mind.
Many restaurants (and more every single day) are amazing, and they do everything they can to source the best products, the best ingredients, from the most responsible vendors – but many do not. The amount of high fructose corn syrup or antibiotics or hormones, or farm raised animal products are only on the rise. If your sauce needed to be made with an egg, it’s very doubtful it’s an egg from a chicken that was pasture raised, and raised hormone free. Most of the time, it was a chicken who has never seen the light of day. We are what we eat, and the more we eat at home, the more control we have over what we put into our bodies.
If you make your very own spaghetti and meatballs, you may not be adding mass amounts of salt and sugar to this meal, but a restaurant, which wants everything to taste delicious might. Often, when eating out, we don’t even realize half of everything we are ingesting, just because we aren’t the ones preparing it.
If you make your own fries, you aren’t frying those fries in an oil that’s been out there for a few days frying other grub. Usually, you are making fries for a single family serving, and that is it and usually using the least amount of oil and salt possible, or what you need to make it taste good.
Celebrate by eating in! Because we work from home, eating out for us would not be convenient, but even so, every few days, we make a meal and celebrate something. I know it’s corny, and hard to imagine how it can be special, but it’s fun! Perhaps we’re celebrating something silly, or fun, or maybe we’re celebrating a FUN and cool meal we’re having. The kids love TACOS, so TACOS are always a celebratory night. Maybe it’s burgers, or maybe it’s a meal the kids helped create – boom, another reason to celebrate and make us all feel special, by eating it.
Leftovers I love leftovers. I’m part of the camp that believe food really does taste better the next day. So even if you aren’t a fan of cooking and cleaning up EVERY single day or night, you can make a bit more and have for the next several days. I don’t meal prep technically, since we are often home, but meal prepping is a great idea for so many. Make a ton of grub on Sunday, and have a fridge or freezer full of options. Then, during the week, you can eat what you’ve already made, or you can make limited foods, without giving yourself a ton of work.
As the days go on, I am starting to realized more and more about the importance of having a constant INFLUX of GREEN RAW GRUB into our bodies. So, this means, that there is always a salad, or a big Tupperware full of cut up raw grub in the fridge. Yesterday, for lunch I had the last bowl of my salad bowl which included: romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli. I took it out of the fridge, and put feta cheese on top (because Feta cheese is LIFE), and added some Cesar dressing. I took my salad to our lanai, and started munching on this amazingness, that took 3 seconds to plate. The best part about this was that my little peanut butter of a daughter, wanted all the bites. She decided she wanted just the romaine lettuce, and ate everything I had in there, which was SOOO FREAKEN AWESOME. I hope this is the START of her eating romaine lettuce and greens each and every day. (Of course she woke up this morning and asked for a Starburst, so win some lose some.)
It’s fun eating IN, because that’s all she knows and hopefully something she will look forward to as she grows.
Create super easy meals for yourself and family. Because eating out is 99% of the time not an option for us, I have a ton of easy quick fast meals I can put together for the kids and I. Whether it’s pierogies, or pasta, or we have frozen chicken, or I can quickly make a rice stir fry, or even waffles or eggs for breakfast OR dinner – having access and the ability to put together really fast meals is fun and makes eating in so possible.
Shakes. My kiddos love the shakes, and they are SO EASY, and a nice change for the palate. Whether they are having for breakfast (my son 90% of the time, and our 15 year old 100% of the time), or eating with dinner, shakes are a nice way to get a ton of nutrients, and protein, and good fat, and just vitamins in the body. Everyone has at least one per day, which means 1 or 1/2 a meal is taken care of without any extra work! Last night for dinner, my son had two of them, with his noodles and olive oil. He was both thirty, and hungry, and it was awesome tat so quickly he could get quality protein into his body.
Buy those extra groceries. So I’m the first one to preach about eating through our cabinets, and fridge, and freezer, but if you are committing to EATING IN and not EATING OUT, plan out some fun meals, and do buy those “extra” groceries you usually say no to. This might mean that you will make an awesome burger night, or lasagna, or a grilled veggie evening, or maybe even some beautiful wild caught fish evening – – – whatever it may be – buy it from the grocery store, and assemble it yourself.
For us, if I’m going cray cray at the grocery store, it’s either an Indian meal I want to put together, or for my husband, it’s some sort of jerk chicken dish – or any meal that takes more than 5 minutes to put together. But we then KNOW it’s special and rare, and a real TREAT.
This is my daughter making keto grass-fed & organic lamb & beef meatballs last weekend (a special treat, meat from Aldi) and here she is making bread (that we turned into cinna-buns) yesterday!
I’ve never subscribed to the Hello Fresh or any of those grocery delivery systems, BUT I have cooked plenty of those meals (because my neighbor would bring over Blue Apron and we would all cook together) and those are SO MUCH FUN. It was always a learning process, and full of new ingredients, and a nice way to STAY IN, but with also that element of SURPRISE. If you want to invest in such a system, especially when stating out – it’s a great idea.
If you and your kiddos are always on the run (which is legit the life for so many people), make a plan of how to create travel and food packs, and bring everything with you. Between freezer bags, and lunch bags, we can pack whole day of grub, and make sure we bring with us, so that we aren’t utilizing those super convenient nacho stands.
BRING FUN FOOD TOO. Eating in isn’t always about staying 100% on your diet plan, or never eating something you would consider an eating out meal. Recreate some of your favorite plates from your favorite places. This way you get to engage all of those senses of luxury, and fun, and food freedom, BUT still stay in! When I travel, my favorite thing in the world is eating restaurant fries. With a bit of mayo and ketchup, and I’m in heaven. I haven’t traveled in a while, BUT if I’m really ready and craving some fries, I”ll make them myself and go all out. It will be FUN to indulge, but still better than actually GOING OUT, and spending the cash on store bought and restaurant fried fries.
If you do want to go out, PLAN IT. Often, many people end up eating out or driving through the drive through, but they didn’t plan on it. It just happened, or it was late or easier, and boom, $75 later and a full fat/sugar/carb meal later, everyone feels a bit sick. PLAN a nice meal out, at a special restaurant, and enjoy the WHOLE process. Eating out is certainly convenient, but make eating IN MORE convenient than anything else, and eating out a REALLY SPECIAL treat.
If it’s too hard to make meals, make small meals. I’m often and always assembling meals that restaurant wouldn’t have on their menu. I’m mixing and matching and letting my children eat a variety of things. Maybe it’s a bit of pasta, and some left over chicken, or a turkey roll up, and some pineapple, or a cut up apple, or maybe some banana over milk and cereal. Don’t think you have to create super elaborate or luxurious meals. So many of us already have ENOUGH on our plates, we have to keep it simple, and we should never complicate it further by eating out too often.
Make your own plan. You know what works best for you and your family,and you probably already know deep down in your heart what you WANT and NEED to do. Create your own schedule and system, ones that work best for you – and then adjust from there.
Cheers to YOU beautiful people, and cheers to staying IN eating IN and making it the IN thing to do!