Eating out is convenient, easy, and can be great for your social life. It’s also expensive and most of the time- unhealthy. In the past year, I have eaten out more times than I could possibly count- and not only has my wallet taken a beating from it, but so has my gut.
In an effort to make a positive change in health and finance, I’ve researched a few things that we all can do to break the nasty habit of eating out.
- Find out why you typically order out. Are you one of those people who eats “socially?” Or do you always seem to look in your refrigerator and think, “there’s nothing to eat!” Too exhausted to cook after a long day at work? Acknowledging the reasons why you order out is the first step to curtailing this bad habit. If you don’t take the necessary time to understand why you eat out so much, and tackle the problem, you won’t succeed in breaking this routine.
- Plan ahead. Once you’ve acknowledged why you eat out so much, you can start to work on finding a solution. At the beginning of the week, plan out your meals for each day. It can seem intimidating to plan out your lunch for Saturday, on Monday morning, but this is the trick to staying on track.
- Meal prep. After you have drafted your weekly meal plan, you can start to prepare your meals. The meals that you choose should be ones that you can easily prepare ahead of time, or ones that are easy to put together right before they will be enjoyed (salads, veggies, sandwiches, etc.) If one of the biggest reasons you find yourself eating out is convenience, make portions ahead of time so you can just grab and go.
- Think of the financial benefits. It’s hard to find motivation, especially while giving up that delicious, juicy hamburger to-go. But the best motivation of all? You’ll save a lot of money. Calculate how much you will save by staying in, rather than eating out. Then consider the various things you can do with this extra cash- buy a new car, go on a vacation, or even plan for your child’s education. Keeping this financial goal in the back of your mind whenever you’re tempted to go out to eat will help you to stay on track.