child cooking with mother

Photo by Brooke Lark from Unsplash

Eating out is a convenient way to get some food on the table without having to worry about groceries or cooking prep. However, DoorDash bills can add up, and eating out isn’t usually the healthiest option. Cooking at home can help you save money and provide nourishing meals that still taste good.

When you eat out, you will never know exactly what is going into your food. By cooking at home, you are in control. You know what’s in your food because you made it, and the portion sizes are up to you because you plated it. A recent study by University of Washington researchers found that when people eat more at home, they are more likely to eat healthier than people who rely on takeout.

At the same time, however, it’s easy to get bored with eating all of your meals at home. It can also be hard to have to think about what to make on a random Wednesday night. Another recent survey found that 60 percent of people have experimented with an ordinary recipe to try to end their boredom, either by adding different spices, incorporating fruits and veggies in a unique way, or combining different flavor profiles. Additionally, a third of survey respondents reported going to Google to look for creative recipes to try.

Understandably, between the hustle of life and just not feeling up to cooking, it’s easy to just hit the local fast food drive-thru. With a few helpful tips, however, you’ll be well on your way to making weeknight cooking your newest hobby.

Prep your meal ideas ahead of time

It can be hard to constantly come up with meals to eat, and before you know it, places like Chipotle are on the menu again. If you want to start cooking most of your meals at home, it’ll make things a lot easier for you to have a plan. Pinterest, tons of food blogs, YouTube, and even TikTok are all great resources if you’re looking for new recipes.

To start, try picking out one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner. Once you’ve gathered them, try to plan out the ingredients you will need the weekend beforehand and create a grocery list. If you find that meal prep helps you, try to prepare your meals on Sunday so that they’re ready to grab and go throughout the week.

Healthy Meal Prep
Healthy Meal Prep (© Fevziie – stock.adobe.com)

Keep the cabinet stocked with staples

Cooking at home quickly becomes a lot less exciting when you realize you’re out of olive oil. Even if you don’t have the main ingredients, having staples can make sure you’re ready to pull a quick meal together far more often than not. Oil, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and sauces are all ingredients to consistently have in your kitchen and ready to use whenever you need them.

spice containers
(Photo by Pixabay from Pexels)

Get some fun kitchen equipment

This is one of the biggest tips I have for home cooks, especially if they struggle to eat healthily. Garlic mincers, lemon juice squeezers, vegetable spiralizers, and vegetable slicers are tools that can make things a bit more enjoyable while encouraging you to add more veggies into your meals. Having some affordable kitchen gadgets can also allow you to spend more time actually cooking rather than chopping, cutting, etc.

Woman cooking meal using slow cooker in kitchen
Woman adding veggies to a slow cooker (© Pixel-Shot – stock.adobe.com)

Bottom Line

Fast food isn’t something any of us should be eating often. Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel like the only option on a random night when you’re rushing to just get stuff done and also not miss dinner. You don’t have to cook every single day for every single meal, but incorporating more home-cooked meals will help you build healthier habits and give you more control of the foods you’re putting into your body.

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About Shyla Cadogan, RD

Shyla Cadogan is a DMV-Based acute care Registered Dietitian. She holds specialized interests in integrative nutrition and communicating nutrition concepts in a nuanced, approachable way.

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