I recently had an appointment across town. It was about 6:00 in the evening when my daughter and I were driving home. We noticed as we approaced the city limits that a particular fast food restaurant was very busy, cars looped around the drive thru. We began to take notice of all the other fast food drive thurs through town as well as the parking lots at the various restaurants. Seventeen restaurants, yes 17. (Even though we live in a small town we have several restuarants.) Every drive thu was full of cars, wrapped around the building. Parking lots were filling up. This was a week night, a school night, and it seemed that everyone in town was eating out. Everyone but us…..
Janurary is the time of year when many begin making resolutions. Often times these resolutions involve diet, exercise, and healthly living. New faces show up at the gym. Diet groups form. People order special food. Healthy Living is so important to me. I myself have made changes over the past few years to improve my health and my families health. During this month I am reminded of that drive through town and the number of people eating out. I have done a little research that I want to share:
- 5.8 meals per week are eaten out
- 30% of children eat fast food on any given day
- 1/2 of food money is used eating out
- Average meal out cost $12.75 or $232 per month
- For the first time in history, more money is used eating out than buying groceries.
There are many health risk associated with fast food/eating out- weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, just to name a few.
Why not resolve to eat at home more this year? There are so many benefits and its not hard. Yes, you have time. Yes, it will be easy. Yes, you can! Here are some ideas that have helped me. First, plan your meals, make a menu. Last year I was given the most simple gift. A sticky note pad calendar that a magneticed to my refrigeator. I used it all year to quickly write down my meals. I did this while checking my phone calendar for special events or meetings that would effect cooking. (Let’s face it, there are times we need to eat out and that’s ok, occasionally.) Then, using the menus, write out a grocery list or use a handy shopping list app. I would do this every 2 weeks based on my pay schedule. No, I don’t mean big fancy meals. Even quick simple meals can be satisfying and healthy. I also recommend a good crock pot, one with various settings and timer.
Some of my favorites? Pasta with sause and a side salad. Tacos- brown and season meat and set up a topping bar – letttuce, tomatos, black beans, avacado, cheese, etc. Crock pot a pork roast, shred, add BBQ sause and make a side of slaw. These meals are easy and take very little time but much healthier, and they are cheaper than eating out! Have a recipe exchange at work or with friends for easy meals! Journey home….and cook!