Everyone prefers a home-cooked meal, but not everyone has the time, money, or skill to cook their own meals every night. Sometimes you are driving home after a long day at work and decide it would just be easier to pick up some McDonald’s.
Studies show that the main reason why Americans choose fast food is convenience. We know fast food is bad, but eat it because it’s quick. And although fast food is cheap, sometimes costing only a few dollars for a full meal, cooking at home will save much more money in the long run.
One of the most inconvenient and frustrating things about cooking from home is going to the grocery store to buy a few ingredients and spending a ton of money. For people who don’t cook often, the prices of spices can send them into serious sticker shock.
Keep in mind that these are ingredients you will use over and over again. Once you build up a good supply of staple ingredients and get your kitchen well-stocked, you will find yourself going to the grocery store less and less.
If you see a useful item on sale – butter, broth, and rice, to name a few – buy a lot while they are as cheap as possible. It may be worth it to spend some time clipping coupons, especially if you are looking for more expensive items to freeze and store, like meat.
Vegetables are your friends – not only are they healthier than meat, but they are much cheaper, too! Recent dietary studies recommend that as much as half your plate should be vegetables. Meat should take up the smallest part, just a quarter of the meal.
You can also save money by switching your meat for an alternate protein, such as eggs or nuts. This gives you nutrients that meat might not contain, and is lower in fat than meat.
Planning ahead can make it easy to have a good, healthy meal mid-week. Invest in a slow-cooker, or make soup in bulk and freeze individual portions to defrost throughout the week.
A vegetable-rich soup can be either a main dish or a delicious side. These recipes are usually versatile and easy to bulk up. One tip – if you’re making a cream-based soup, wait until you defrost it to add the cream. Otherwise it will separate.
Learning how to cook can be frustrating at times, especially when you are struggling with a finicky or complicated recipe, but once you get the hang of it, it will be very rewarding. Nourishing yourself and your loved ones is a great feeling, and once you start to eat home-cooked meals, fast food will lose its appeal quickly.
If you have kids, this is a great activity to do with them and an essential life skill for them to learn. Good luck, and enjoy!