Tips for transitioning from take-out to home-cooked meals

Over the course of the pandemic, you’ve probably spent less time dining in
restaurants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been eating healthy
home-cooked meals. Thanks to the countless delivery service options now
available on your smartphone, nearly anything you’re craving can arrive at
your doorstep within minutes.

If you’ve been relying on takeout meals, now is the perfect time to begin
the transition back to a healthier routine. Home-cooked meals are less
expensive and can even provide you with emotional and mental benefits that
come from preparing your own food.

Ready to dial back on the takeout? Here are five easy ways to start:

1. Meal plan

When you finish with a long day at work, ordering takeout can feel like the
path of least resistance.

Attack that head-on by taking time each weekend to do meal-planning
. Decide which nights you’re at home and want to cook, decide on a menu,
and do your grocery shopping so you’ll have all the ingredients you need.
If you’re particularly busy, you can even batch-prepare some meals so they
just need to be warmed up when it’s time to eat.

2. Stick to a schedule

How many times have you come home starving, felt like you didn’t have time
to cook, and just ordered takeout instead? Something as simple as putting a
schedule in place for your week can help you achieve your goal of cooking
at home more often. Set a daily dinner time each night, and then arrange
your schedule to allow time for meal prep.

3. Recreate your favorites

Challenge yourself to make your favorite takeout dishes at home! You’ll end
up filling your spice cabinet and pantry with all kinds of exciting new
ingredients to recreate the flavors you love. Not only will you discover
what’s in them, you may even find healthier alternatives that still taste

4. Avoid temptation

When you’re trying to change a habit
, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to avoid
temptations that could cause you to backtrack. Deleting takeout and
delivery apps on your phone is a simple, painless way to reinforce the
change you’re trying to make. You can always order through a browser or
re-download the app if you need to, but making it just a little bit harder
to hit “place order” can go a long way.

5. Indulge yourself

Takeout is generally much more expensive than dining at home. If you want
to use some of that newfound money to make your new cooking hobby even more
fun, spend it on quality pots, pans, knives, and other kitchen tools.
You’ll be amazed how a cast-iron skillet or nice knives make you more
excited to spend time cooking in the kitchen.

Changing any kind of habit can be difficult. If you’re looking to make a
change in how you eat, set a reasonable goal: limit takeout to a few days a
week and slowly increase the number of meals you cook at home. If you stick
with it, eventually you’ll grow more accustomed to cooking at home and
those takeout orders will go from a daily, unhealthy habit to a rare treat
you look forward to.

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