It’s daunting…There are so many other things to think about. I hear women talk about it all the time. It feels hard to make night time dinner at home. We have so much going on with caring for others, meeting our responsibilities, trying to keep up, and dealing with the food challenges with the people we love.
But the fact is that studies show that hands down, when we eat out, we eat more calories, more sugar, and more fat than when we eat at home. One of my most favorite things as a coach is helping you to make self-care easier. Here are some ways to make eating at home easier.
1)Make a Plan:
Don’t start thinking about dinner a half hour before you need it. Plan ahead. Write a simple plan for the next few days, week, or two weeks. Sometimes it will change but at least you have an idea. This makes dinner faster and less daunting.
2)Buy Foods that are Partially Prepared for You:
We have so many options now with pre-seasoned meats, precut veggies, salad kits, rotisserie chicken, and meal services. Take advantage of them. Yes, they are often more expensive. But they are probably not as expensive as eating out or medical bills that come from not eating healthy.
3)Account for Your Nightly Schedule:
Plan for busy nights or nights when you know struggles like sundowners or tired kids is going to be more of an issue. On the nights that I work or we have activities, I plan meals that are faster to make and eat. We will often eat soup or a one pot meal. I often think about meats that will be faster to cook like fish, eggs, tuna melts, or grilling meat.
4)Prepare Food in Advance:
Make a double batch so you can have it again as leftovers. The most daunting part of dinner to me is doing the protein, meat or otherwise. It is helpful to prebrown meat or grill a bunch of chicken or make a lot of shredded meat in the Crockpot or Instant Pot. Then you will have it for another night of eating at home. One trick I have found is that when you freeze the meat, that you will use for another day, right after you cook it, it tastes more fresh and heats up better the next time you use it.
5)Use Tools to Help Make Things Faster:
Use tools like a Crockpot, where you can put food in and let it cook for the day, or an Instant Pot that cooks things faster. Use websites or apps that provide meal plans or ways of organizing meal planning and grocery lists. Here is an article that reviews some of the available meal planning tools.
Dinnertime can be a daunting time to eat healthy. But there is a lot that you can do to make it easier. Simply start by using some of the hints above. Then keep it as simple as possible. Focus on the most important parts of the meal…having a healthy protein and fruit and vegetables.