Happy New Year to all my couples out there! The other day I discussed what you can do MORE of in 2018. For the month of January, I will be sharing one new goal a week as part of my New-trition Goals for the New Year series. Each week I’ll be discussing a key goal you can work on as a couple to set you up for a successful 2018 when it comes to your health goals. This week’s goal is: COOK MORE AT HOME
The new year can mean many changes for couples. Perhaps you just got engaged (Congrats!), are moving in together, or have simply decided to start the new year on a fresh page. As we ease our way into January, I’ll be sharing a goal to work on each week. For even more ways you can work together as a couple, make sure to check out my 52 Weeks to Your Happily Health-fully Ever After weekly email series.
New-trition Goals for the New Year:
Goal #1: Cook More at Home
This week the focus is on cooking more meals at home. If getting into better habits and a healthier lifestyle is tops on your list this year, then it starts with making more of your own meals. From waistlines to your relationship, cooking at home more often can have a ton of benefits!
MORE CONTROL OVER MEALS
The biggest benefit of making more of your own meals is knowing what’s going in your food. Dining out frequently can lead to excess intake of sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars. Not to mention portion sizes aren’t exactly skimpy when we takeout or dine out. Cooking more meals at home means you choose what you’re putting in your food. Want to cut back on sodium? Use low-sodium options or spices/seasonings in place of salt. Looking to limit added sugars? Use fruit puree in its place. You will also have significant more control over your portion sizes when you portion out your own meals. Aim for ½ plate of vegies and fruit, ¼ plate lean protein, and ¼ plate whole grains.
If 2018 is the year you plan on getting financially fit, then let’s start with where your money is going. It’s no secret that dining out is as unkind to your wallet as it is to your waistline. Preparing your own food is a significant cost savings, especially when multiple people are involved. When Mr E and I dine out, not matter how cost efficient we try to keep it, we’re dropping $30-40 per meal. If we ate out every single night, that would cost us $210-280 a week, or $840-1120 a month. And I’m only talking about ONE MEAL here. Remember that we have to eat several times a day, and that stuff adds up. Making more meals at home saves you money by buying items in bulk, using items already available in your home, reduced labor costs, and accounting for leftovers to enjoy as another meal.
FUN ACTIVITY TO DO TOGETHER
Sure, going out to eat is probably one of the most common date nights you do with your significant other. But how often is it a fun, romantic outing versus a necessity? Making a meal at home together with your significant other can be a great Date Night change up. Crack open a bottle of wine and get some heat going in the kitchen. Maybe you split up the responsibilities by one person doing the main item, while the other handles the side dishes. Or perhaps you make each part of the meal together. Either way, your efforts together will be a reason to smile and laugh. And you can say the meal is definitely earned!
A few easy ways to get started cooking at home:
- Make a plan of WHEN you will eat together at home
- Have a few favorite or simple meals in your back pocket – make these meals first if you’re not comfortable trying a more unfamiliar recipe
- Write out your meal plan for the week
- Go grocery shopping to have ingredients on hand
- Plan your days accordingly when you plan to cook meals
- Have shortcuts on hand – prep your veggies in advance or have frozen items for quick needs
- Make items in larger batches, such as grains and veggies, for simply side dishes
- Just start and don’t wait – today is as good a day as any!
Create a tracking system for the days you cook at home to see how much more often you’re cooking at home compared to last year. Perhaps with that money you save, a new vacation and new clothes can be the reward for doing MORE cooking at home this year. And when you do go out, not only will it be more of a special occasion, but you may even be able to check out some of the more upscale spots on your “To Visit” list given the money you save from not eating out so frequently. Not bad for cutting back on your dine out and take out habits.
How do you and your Significant Other plan to cook more at home this year? Don’t forget to track your progress! If you need some inspiration, check out my Recipes for some meal ideas. Or check out my Meal Planning Website and App for even more simple meals to make at home. And if you’re a Jersey Shore Local, make a date to check out one of my Meal Prep Meet-Up Events.