A five dollar latte here, a six dollar salad there. A bakery cookie that costs a dollar. Four trips to the corner liquor store for diet sodas and chips. All these insignificant costs certainly add up, and so do the calories.
Even if you make it a regular habit to buy the diet or sugar or fat free versions of foods, chances are you are paying a premium for individual sized portions or you are ingesting a ton of additives and preservatives. These are not substances that you want to put in your body.
We know you’re pressed for time, we all are! But you don’t want to sacrifice convenience for the chance that someday all those chemicals and not-so-good-for-you ingredients (and extra fat) will build up and create diabetes or heart disease in your body. You only get one body!
Give cooking at home a chance and see how it will shrink your waist and fatten your wallet. Here are three steps to help make this happen.
- Start with breakfast: We’ve all heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve noticed that eating a crappy breakfast sets the tone for an entire day of crappy eating. Conversely, a nutritious and filling breakfast means that you will probably eat that way the rest of the day.We like oatmeal sprinkled with chia seeds and fruit for breakfast, as well as Greek yogurt or toast with peanut butter. You also want some protein in your first meal of the day. Eggs are an obvious choice here, but if you don’t have time to scramble an egg with some bell peppers and toss that into a whole wheat wrap, then consider boiling and peeling a few on the weekends and munching one straight out of the fridge.
- Beat the lunch crowds: The best way to make your lunch is to cook extra for dinner and take leftovers the next day.Sometimes, if you are really stuck in the habit of going out a lot, you could start off with brown bagging it two or three days and then going out the remainder of the week. Keep track of how much you spend on your lunch and think about what you could have done with that money. It might be useful to spend a little more on groceries that you actually like and then make lunches that you look forward to eating. We love making big fancy salads with a few good quality bleu cheese crumbles and bib lettuce, or hearty, simple soups with cannelloni beans and a chunk of a 100% whole grain baguette. Think quality over quantity.
- Stock Your Kitchen: Have you ever noticed how some people are always able to throw together dinner in just under an hour, or even less? These people have identified their staple ingredients, the things they and their families enjoy eating and that can make a lot of meals. We like to keep on hand whole grain pastas and jarred sauces, frozen vegetables such as broccoli, canned stocks and broths, sweet potatoes, eggs, a frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and much more.
There is no point in cooking at home if you make food that you won’t enjoy just as much as takeout or restaurant food, so buy what you know you will cook and love. Just be sure it’s real, whole food ingredients.