For some, the eat at home challenge is not a challenge at all. We’ve got no place better we can go and eating at home seems to be the most cost-effective way to cut back during the COVID financial slump that many of us are seeing.
But eating at home doesn’t mean that everyone is eating home-cooked meals. Ordering in is pretty tempting, and we can get away with it by telling ourselves that we’re supporting the restaurant industry. Which, to be honest, isn’t a bad goal. It’s just not that cost-friendly either.
If you want to start cooking more and ordering less, then perhaps the best way to do that is to create your own eat at home challenge.
What is the Eat at Home Challenge?
An eat at home challenge is a way to help you build the habit of eating at home. Not the ordering type of home eating many of us partake in but actually making the food yourself.
It’s a great activity for those of that traditionally eat out of the house a lot and have succumbed to easy “meal planning” by way of Uber Eats or another easy-to-use food delivery app. If you suck at planning meals and you need to save some cash, this is a great way for you to get things back on track.
You can’t control everything that’s happening right now, but you can control what you eat. Now is the best time to get a handle on that.
Why Participate in the Eat at Home Challenge?
But ordering in is SO MUCH easier, so why would you bother committing to an eat at home challenge?
It’s a fair question. I, for one, love to order food in. Not only is it relaxing because you don’t have to worry about preparing and cooking food but it tends to taste delicious too. However, when I do finally get up and home cook a meal, it turns out that can be relaxing too.
There are some genuine benefits for doing a challenge like this, including:
- Creating the habit of making eating at home a priority
- Learning how to properly cook (a skill MANY of us could really use)
- Spending more time together, or if you live alone, away from your computer
- Eating healthier
- Saving money
I should also note that making eating at home a priority doesn’t mean that you can’t ever go out or order in. It simply means that those opportunities will become special occasions and treats, which will ultimately make them more enjoyable.
Make Your Own Eat at Home Challenge
1. Decide How Long Your Challenge Will Be
Your eat at home challenge can be as big or small as you want. If you just want to dip your toe in, try planning something around the seven-day or two-week mark. That said, most people go for a 30-day challenge. Whatever length of challenge you want to pursue is completely up to you.
2. Pick Themes
Picking themes can not only make your challenge fun, but it can help make choosing recipes and shopping for groceries easier. You could do your themes by day, like taco Tuesdays, fun-with-fish Fridays or meat Mondays. Or you can do them weekly, opting for themes like slow cooker week or pasta perfection.
If this challenge is your first real foray into eating from home, make sure that you pick themes that have recipes you know you’ll enjoy. While healthy food is the ultimate goal, it’s OK to include some comfort food while you’re getting to know your kitchen.
3. Roundup Recipes
With your themes secured, it’s time to think about recipes. I recommend checking out Pinterest or a food blog that you know and trust—if you don’t have one, it might be time to start looking.
Picking the recipes you’ll be cooking ahead of time can help reduce stress and make shopping so much easier. You’ll want to keep in mind your cooking skills when picking, no need to attempt a beef wellington if your current fanciest is a grilled cheese sandwich. And, if you want to include cooking with the family as part of the challenge, focus on recipes that everyone can help out with.
4. Create a Weekly Shopping List
I am a big proponent of shopping lists. I firmly believe they not only help you save time but money, and I know how fast things can go awry when you don’t bring one along. So, with your recipes in order, it’s time to figure out what you need to eat.
It helps to cut your spending, even more, when you use recipes that use some of the same ingredients. Especially the ingredients that come in bigger packs, like rice, pasta or even spices!
If you want to make your shopping even easier and your groceries fresher (especially produce), then I recommend planning two shopping trips per week. It takes a bit more time but helps to make sure you don’t have a fridge full of things you won’t use.
Have you created your own eat at home challenge? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
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