Advice | Money | Finance
Break the Fast Food Cycle
“What a marvelous resource soup is for the thrifty cook — it solves the ham-bone and lamb-bone problems, the everlasting Thanksgiving turkey, the extra vegetables.” by Julia Child
One good thing that’s come out of this Pandemic is the resurgence of home cooking. Trapped in our homes with a stockpile (if you were able to stock up) of ingredients, many people have turned to home cooking as a way to pass time.
It’s also a great way to save money.
The increase in meal delivery services has trained us to rely on others to do the preparation of finding a recipe and shopping for the ingredients.
‘Fresh Prep’ is a local service in Vancouver, that specializes in delivering exactly the right amount of fresh and delicious ingredients for you to prepare meals in your home. Their food is amazing because they focus on four key areas: variety, diversity, quality food, and halal foods.
The food arrives with a recipe and each ingredient is ready to use, right down to the measured packets of spices.
The trouble with relying on this type of service is three-fold.
-You don’t have a supply of ingredients on hand when you decide to make a homemade meal on your own.
-It’s expensive to buy small amounts of some ingredients such as spices. if you shop for yourself, you can build up a supply of a variety of spices over time.
-Relying on a food service takes away your ability to adapt your cooking to the ingredients you have in your cupboards. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have. If you buy staples and cook often, you’ll be able to create something because you are experienced.
It’s a family joke that I never prepare a recipe exactly as the directions state. I always make some change, even if it’s the first time I’ve prepared it.
I can’t help it. It’s a skill set that’s built-in.
Back in my nine to five days, there never seemed to be enough time to make lunch in the morning. Sometimes it felt too late to start cooking a meal at night.
I always found it easier to stop in at the local pizza place or to grab something at the drive-through.
Eating out is quick and easy, that’s for sure, but I always end up eating more calories than I should. The cost really adds up too.
It’s a vicious cycle.
When you do have time to cook, you don’t have what you need at home. You’re missing some essential ingredients so you can’t make the dish you want. You end up eating out. It’s a vicious cycle.
One really great way to break the fast-food cycle is to learn to cook. I decided to make Sundays my cooking day and made a plan.
Take the cooking challenge.
Learn to cook one new dish this week. Make more than you need for one meal and you can freeze the rest.
- Choose a recipe that you like, there are a lot of great recipes online.
- List the ingredients you need and take the list with you when you go shopping. Tip: Store the list on your phone for easy access.
- Remember to find freezer containers to store the food in. They are a good way to bring food to work if you have a microwave.
- Ziplocs are an inexpensive way to freeze meals for fast and easy dinners.
- Lasagna, meatloaf, and chili are all easy to make foods that freeze well in single servings.
- Buy a single whole chicken and roast it with potatoes to make several meals.
- Learn how to make soup. You will be amazed at how inexpensive and delicious soup can be.
Here’s why you want to break the fast-food cycle:
- You will save money — eating out is expensive.
- You will eat healthier meals — fast food is full of calories and sugar.
- You will impress your friends with your cooking skills.
- You save time when you cook once and eat many times.
I used to be an accountant in another life and I’m full of advice about money — just ask me.
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