What's for dinner? How to transition from the drive through to home cooked meals


How many times do you utter on the daily, what is for dinner? I used to find myself speaking these words nightly even after having my son Cooper. By the time dinner rolled around I was either too tired to cook or none of the options seemed appealing. Hence started the bad habit of grabbing something to eat or going out to eat on the daily.

This led to the second dreaded question of the day…..what’s for lunch? Often in a rush to get out the door in the morning, my lunch consisted of a mish mash of snacks or a frozen meal that I didn’t want. Both of which lead to “picking up something better” at work. I would be dead set on eating my lunch but at the moment of being offered something else I would bail. Does this story sound familiar?

With a lighter wallet, tighter pants and being tired of the daily stress of figuring out what to eat at the end of the day I resolved to do better.

Everyone will agree that weekly food preparation leads to better choices, more meals at home and greater disposable income to spend elsewhere. The problem is that people either equate weekly food prep with chicken, broccoli and rice or complicated daily cooking. I used to read cooking light religiously….and then go out to eat because the recipe list was a mile long with eighteen different steps.   

How do you go from having a drawer full of take-out menus to having a fridge full of prepared meals? The first step is to create an awareness of what you are doing. In this case start to track how many times you are eating out in a week.  Start paying attention to how you feel each time after you eat out. Tracking is simpler than you think.

On a calendar of your choice make a note each time you eat out. Be sure you are including things like coffee (unless it is black), snacks, etc. At the end of the week pull out your visual calendar of how many meals and snacks you are eating out. This weekly visual is an eye opening endeavour. Our lives our so hurried and busy that we often forget what we have done from one day to the next.

For most to-go style restaurants their goal is profits, not health. Say what you want  but in the end there are a lot shortcuts being taken to make food tastier, while adding to the bottom line. This is a recipe for less than stellar ingredients.

After you build awareness and you see a need to change you can work on a plan. I think the most integral step of the plan is making food prep fun. You may not think these two go hand in hand but they can.

The way that you make food prep fun is that you find things that you enjoy the most and make them a part of a habit that you are trying to cement. For instance do you love a good latte, obsessed with “Game of Thrones”, love pinterest or talking with friends. Make this a time where you integrate the two. For me, I love a good latte. So I make it a point to get my favorite latte when I am meal planning for the week, grocery shopping or food prepping. It gives me something to look forward to while I do something that I otherwise might not enjoy.

Seem too simple? Well maybe, but the simpler we make things in an overly complicated world the more likely you will stick with the program.  

Success is not found by making a change once in a while but by making a change and sticking with it day-after-day, week-after-week and month-after-month

Want to go from to-go menu to a full fridge.

Step 1: Start with awareness - how many times you are actually eating out and how it makes you feel.   

  • Building awareness

    • How many times do you eat out weekly?

    • How do you feel physically after eating out?

    • How does eating out make you feel mentally? Think about the stress of figuring out meals on the fly, adding one more thing to think about on the daily.

Step 2: Figure out how to make a task you might not enjoy more enjoyable so that you will want to do it.

  • What things do you like to do that could make all parts of food prep fun.  

    • Use this as a time to incorporate a treat for yourself that you otherwise wouldn't. You won't do things if they are not enjoyable so you must figure out how to merge the two.  

      • Listening to a favorite podcast

      • Watching a favorite TV show.

      • Treat yourself to your favorite coffee

      • Use it as a time to catch up with friend

Was this helpful?? Let me know how I can help more at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com