Ok, I know what you’re thinking: Nothing is better than Chipotle. (Except lately the lack of Chipotle-caused stomach illnesses. That’s definitely better.)
But still, my point remains. I, the former self-proclaimed Queen of Takeout, have fallen in love with eating at home. With cooking and grocery shopping and recipe hunting. And while it’s definitely more time consuming than just driving through McDonald’s on your way home, trust me–it’s better! Here’s why:
There’s a huge myth floating about that it’s more expensive to eat healthy than it is to eat fast food. But take it from someone who has tried out both lifestyles: that’s a lie. Don’t believe it! If you stop right now you’ll save your wallet and your belly $$ and pounds.
My boyfriend and I used to “eat out” (take out, drive thrus, or sitting down in a restaurant) almost constantly. We don’t live together which makes grocery shopping a little more complicated and we’re busy people, so, in a lot of ways, grabbing something quick was just easier. But after perusing my credit card statements in confusion more than once, I realized that the majority of what was driving up my balance was food. And while I am food’s #1 fan, that just seems like a waste of money to me, not to mention most of what we were eating was unhealthy. So we started doing weekly grocery store trips and–in all honesty–that didn’t work out much better. Buying a week’s worth of food was too much food for people who didn’t eat together/in the same place every night, and so a lot of food went to waste.
Now, we plan our meals out day by day and often do the shopping the day of to minimize waste. Yes, it can sometimes feel like just one more chore at the end of a long day, but buying two pounds of chicken (several meals’ worth) for $3.50 is way cheaper than buying chicken nuggets (only one meal) for around the same price.
I love burrito bowls just as much as anyone. Probably more than your average human, actually. But when you do a lot of take out, you kind of end up stuck in a rut. When I was at my peak of picking up pre-cooked meals, I basically had the same four or five restaurants in rotation: Taco Bell, Chipotle, sushi, Tropical Smoothie, occasionally pizza. It got boring honestly. When I started to cook more, not only did I enjoy the process, but my meals started to taste way better. Instead of having the same thing twice or three times a week Xs infinite weeks, I could pick and choose what I was in the mood for or something totally new. Not to mention that fresh cooked food is always richer in general.
You learn to cook!
One of the best things I’ve gotten out of eating at home more is the most obvious: I was forced to learn to cook! It’s been cool to learn all these little nuances I never knew before and rewarding to see my skills progress with each use of the oven. Also it’s, like, a pretty vital life skill to learn anyway.
If you commute to work or still live in a dorm and are generally low on time, eating at home/cooking all of your own meals might sound a little too daunting for now. But while it does take some extra time out of your day, once you get the scheduling down it becomes so worth it. Try it out slowly at first: vow to cook at least three of your meals next week at home, whether it be something as simple as baked chicken and frozen veggies or something complicated like a homemade creamy soup that requires a roux (…what really is a roux anyway?). You’ll surprise yourself with how much you come to enjoy it and how much money you save in the long run.
Do you cook at home a lot already? What are some of your favorite recipes? Easiest go-to meal? Comment below!
Featured image via Tumblr.