Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Eating In - No Dining Challenge Tips!

Are you doing the March No Dining Challenge? My family is & we are doing great so far! I wanted to share a few tips to help you to choose Eating in vs. Eating out!

Eating In is healthier & Less expensive, but for our family it's a challenge sometimes. When we have busy nights, we tend to eat out too often, so I'm using these tips to help us to stay on track! I hope that you will find these tips helpful & I hope that they inspire you to Eat In more often!

Tip #1
Write a Menu Plan! We have really had to step it up on our Menu Planning this month! This helps drastically! I sat down with DH and we filled in dinner meals for every single night for the month of March (with the only exception of Birthdays). Now we know what's for Dinner, so we are less likely to even think of eating out!

*If you are new to Menu Planning, check out my post Here for a lot of Money Saving Menu Planning Tips!

MSM has some Free printable menu plans Here that are very helpful!

Tip #2

On a night that you expect to be hectic or busy, plan a crock pot meal! Throw it together the night before & stick it in the fridge. In the morning start it & it will be ready when dinner time rolls around!

You can find a ton of Crock pot recipes Here! And more recipes Here!

Tip #3

Cook & Freeze ahead. If you are cooking a meal that can be frozen, cook double & freeze half. Than you'll have an easy meal during hectic meal times!

Once a Month cooking, or Freezer cooking is a great idea. It will save you time & money! You can find more information about Once a Month Cooking or Freezer cooking Here.

Tip #4
Make sure to establish a back -up plan for busy or hectic days or nights, or if someone in the family gets sick. It is also helpful to involve the other members of your family to spend quality family time together cooking a meal!

Tip #5
If you know that you need to leave right away in the morning, make sure to have a fast & easy breakfast to grab to go, such as Pop Tarts, cereal bars, fresh fruit, yogurt (the drinkable kind or in a tube), or bagels. These are just some idea's.

Pack your lunch if you need to run errands in the afternoon, or if you work outside of your home.

It is also helpful to just stay home during meal times if at all possible. If you stay in, you're less likely to eat out.

Make sure to have snacks on hand. Separate snacks into small Ziploc bags so that they are easy to grab & go.

Also make sure to have drinks available so that you won't want to stop through a drive thru or convenient store to get a drink!

If your a coffee drinker, brew your own coffee at Home! This will save you a lot of money! Even though Starbucks is awesome, it's a better choice to stick to making your own coffee! Here's a nice recipe for an iced coffee drink Here!

Tip #6
Make it yourself! Replicate a favorite restaurant recipe! It not only is less expensive to make it yourself, but it will probably taste better too! You can find copy cat restaurant recipes Here!

Do you have any tips to add to my list? Please leave a comment & share!

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