How to cut back on takeaway food and start cooking at home

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Are you someone who routinely tells others how you ‘can’t’ cook? Do you have a kitchen that gets absolutely no use besides the microwave and toaster? Are you always getting food delivered to your front door and regretting how much you spent once the meal disappears into your tummy?

These are all common symptoms of ‘no motivation to cook’ syndrome, which can be quite devastating to your health and your wallet if allowed to continue for too long. Simply put, you are hurting both your physical and financial health by avoiding home cooking.

It’s no secret that it’s way cheaper to cook with raw ingredients at home than to pay for takeaway food. Even eating canned soup everyday is going to be less cost-effective than simply making your own soups in bulk at home.

With all that said, let’s take a look at some tips you can leverage to cut back on your takeaway spend and cook more in your home kitchen.

Structure your supermarket trips

Of course, if you make an effort with planning what you will cook each week, you are much more likely to stick to it and avoid ordering takeaway food. Having all the ingredients you need for a dish ready-to-go in your pantry/fridge will make it much easier for you to find the motivation to cook from scratch when you get home from work.

All you need to do is spend around 30 minutes on Sunday evening planning what you are going to have for dinner for the rest of the week. Come up with the dishes first, then break them down into their ingredients so you can mix/match as needed.

This is also going to help you save a significant amount of money during your weekly trips to the grocery shop, on-top of the money you would have otherwise spent on takeaway food. Knowing exactly what you need to make dinner when you are in the supermarket aisle means you are less likely to make guilty pleasure purchases or buy ingredients you don’t actually have a use for.

Organise your cooking space

While filling up you kitchen pantry and fridge with ready-to-go ingredients is a great measure, it won’t count for much if the actual food preparation area looks like a disaster zone. Having a dirty and/or cluttered kitchen space isn’t going to help you much with motivation to cook and also presents hazards in the form of nasty bacteria that can make your family sick.

Cleaning up and keeping your kitchen organised is one of the first things any cook learns about – make sure you don’t forget it! Keeping an organised kitchen will also speed-up your cooking since you won’t waste time looking for a specific utensil you’ve misplaced.

Discover new recipes

One of the best ways to get motivated for home cooking is to discover new recipes you want to give a try. If you are someone who enjoys cooking but has just experienced a slump in motivation, then learning a new recipe that sounds interesting, or just yummy, is a good place start. Try making a delicious bacon & fetta pasta and add some zucchini in for an extra health kick.

Use a meal-kit service

In recent years, businesses have been emerging that provide ready-to-cook ‘meal-kits’ which cut out all the ‘boring bits’ of cooking by sending you ingredients that are pre-portioned with simple-to-follow recipe instructions. These kits are an amazing alternative for people who don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience of not having to plan a recipe, shop for groceries or portion the ingredients.

These meal-kits are highly customisable and can be altered for people with special dietary requirements or preferences. While you will probably get accustomed to a few dishes you really like, the beauty of meal-kits is that you change things up and can try something new very easily by altering your weekly order.

Involve family and friends

Finally, the best way to get into home cooking and to avoid relying too much on takeaway food is to turn the kitchen into a fun social space where you involve other people. Be it family, friends or both – you can get people to help you speed up the cooking process by performing tasks on your behalf and by keeping you company with great conversation.

Children will benefit greatly from being exposed to home cooking in this context as they will see it as a social activity and not just a necessary chore to get dinner made. It will benefit you in that spending time on cooking won’t take you away from other people if the other people are there cooking alongside you.

Conclusion

Unless you are a passionate foodie or are pursuing a career as an aspiring chef, you probably don’t care too much about the ‘joy of cooking’ that others claim to experience. If you simply want to enjoy the benefits of home cooking (health, money etc.) then the steps listed above should make the process of transitioning away from takeaway food much easier for you.

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