On busy nights, when you’re tired after work and activities with your kids, fast food can be your saviour. It’s convenient, tasty, saves time and there are tons of choices.
On the flip side, fast food can be unhealthy and is sometimes made of low quality ingredients. Not to mention, purchasing it regularly can blow your budget.
So, how do you avoid fast food and feed your family healthy meals when you’re constantly on the go? Keep reading because I have some suggestions for you.
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7 Practical Ways To Avoid Fast Food
1. Find Quick And Easy Recipes
After a long day, the last thing I want to do is head into the kitchen for hours. I want something quick and easy to whip up, that tastes great. I know that I am not alone in this.
When you are searching for new recipes, check for those that require minimal time, ingredients and effort to prepare. Pinterest is a wonderful source of ideas. You can find an endless number of 10-30 minute recipes that can make all the difference when you are desperate for something quick to give your family.
If you are not accustomed to cooking regularly, these kinds of dinners will be a great place to start to avoid fast food. Attempting to make fancy meals that take a lot of time is just setting yourself up for failure.
2. Slow Cooking
When you want to cook with little effort, consider the slow cooker your new best friend. All you need to do is dump your ingredients into the slow cooker and a few hours later, a delicious meal is ready and waiting for you and your taste buds.
3. Freezer Cooking
Freezer cooking is when you freeze a meal or ingredients for a meal for later use. It’s a genius way to enjoy home-cooked food regularly and avoid fast food.
When you make a casserole or any dish that freezes well, simply double the ingredients and make two. Cook one and freeze the other. That way, when you know you won’t have time to fix dinner, all you need to do is place the frozen meal in the refrigerator to defrost the night before and cook it the next day. It’s so stinking easy!
Marinate meats in freezer Ziploc bags and freeze them. When you need to use them, defrost and cook as usual.
You can combine freezer cooking with slow cooking. Take those same defrosted marinated meats and place them in the slow cooker. The result will be tender, flavourful food you’ll be sure to enjoy.
Check out my Pinterest Freezer Cooking and Slow Cooking Board for awesome recipes.
4. Meal Plan
Meal planning makes life a lot easier and can definitely stop you from eating too much fast food. Over the weekend, determine what recipes you will cook during the upcoming week. You can plan all of your meals—breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks.
Assess your calendar to see when your busiest nights will be and plan to have a freezer meal, slow cooked food or a quick and easy dinner then.
Meal planning is great because you avoid the sheer panic associated with realizing you don’t know what to cook. You’ll also feel on top of your game whenever you hear the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”.
5. Keep Food New And Exciting
One reason I find myself buying fast food is because I’m sick of eating the same old stuff every week. Don’t fall into this trap! Constantly try new recipes and find ones you and your family like.
However, don’t neglect oldies but goodies either! If there’s a recipe your family loves and never gets tired of, keep it in your weekly rotation.
6. Make Dinner Special
When you look forward to cooking, you won’t even think about buying fast food so do things that make dinner special.
Involve the whole family so you can spend time with your kids and teach them how to cook at the same time. Sit down at the dinner table and talk about your day.
Have a candle-lit dinner and indulge in some wine. Do whatever it takes to enjoy a meal at home so you’ll want to keep doing it.
7. Remember Your Financial Goals
One way to avoid fast food is to keep your financial goals front and centre in your mind. The money you spend on fast food is money that can pay off your mortgage faster or contribute to your emergency fund.
I started meal planning and eating more home-cooked food to save money. Every month, I was spending a fortune on ready-done meals and didn’t even realize it until I took a hard look at my finances. I was literally eating my money.
Even though it was shocking to see what I really spent each month, it was the best thing I ever did. Sit down with your significant other and get on the same page about your finances and goals as a couple. When you know what your expenses are, you can set aside money for treats like fast food.
Eating healthy home-cooked meals does not have to be difficult even if you have a busy life. You just need to make a plan and stick to it. Follow this simple guide to help you avoid fast food.