Teaching your family to eat at home (more often)

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by Sandy Coughlin
The Reluctant Entertainer

For every family there are nights when the kids have after-school activities, or you have a late meeting, for us many soccer games, only to get home late, with an empty fridge, and hungry stomachs that are screaming for food.

Are you prepared or do you eat out?

With some easy planning, and very little cooking times, thank goodness we don’t have to run to a restaurant to eat out every night. Can you imagine the food bill for the month? I don’t know how families do it. And for us, in this stage of life, we save most the eating out for “date nights” for my husband and me. The kids do well making their own dinners anyway, and they like to be creative in the kitchen.

It’s true, as the times we’ve asked our kids to come, they say they’d rather make a nutritious meal at home! I never thought I’d hear those words, so I guess our hard work of “controlling” what goes into each dish, and our teens listening, has paid off.

How to Avoid Eating Out:

1. In the morning, or even the prior weekend, think ahead to what dinner will be and either use the slow cooker, or take meat (or food items) out of the freezer.

2. Prep in advance. Choose a day where you can cook extra foods, or get meals ready for the week.

3. Make extra when you cook; try to get 2-3 meals out of one larger recipe. IE, cook two whole chickens, eat one for dinner, use the other and leftovers for chicken soup with pasta and enchiladas (adding rice and beans).

4. Take advantage of your freezer. Learn which foods freeze well and which don’t.

5. Always keep your pantry stocked. Keep a list in the pantry of food items/dishes to cook using pantry items. Show your kids!

When you save money, and you eat healthy (knowing what you’re putting in), it feels good to be good stewards of our finances and bodies, doesn’t it?

And now that my kids are all teens, one almost 20, I can give myself a little pat on the shoulder (good Mom!) knowing I’ve taught my kids well.

Not perfectly, but well.

What’s your struggle with eating out, or are you disciplined when it comes to home-cooked meals?