Are you looking for a way to save money, improve your health, and get creative in the kitchen? Look no further than the challenge of eating at home for one month (or more if you want!). There are many reasons to challenge yourself to eat only at home for a month. For instance, eating out can quickly add up and it often does not provide the best nutritional options, so taking part in this challenge is a great way to break away from unhealthy habits as well as save some extra cash.
5 Reasons To Challenge Yourself To Eat At Home
Need some reasons to take on this challenge of eating ONLY at home for a month?
1. Eating at home is significantly less expensive than dining out.
Obviously, right? But it’s something to think about as you embark on your challenge.
When you cook your own meals, you purchase the ingredients yourself and can choose cheaper options that suit your budget. Even if you don’t have much extra money to spend on groceries, it’s still much less expensive than restaurant meals.
2. You get to control what goes into your food.
Eating out means you don’t always know the exact ingredients in your meal or how it was prepared; by eating at home, you can avoid unhealthy additives like added sugar and sodium and opt for fresher ingredients instead.
Moreover, if you have ever had food poisoning from a restaurant’s food, you know how valuable being able to control what goes in your food is. You can ensure nothing that looks or smells bad goes into your food, you can wash your food how you want to wash it before eating, and you can keep anything that irritates your digestive system (milk, spice, etc.) out of the food without worrying whether the waiter and chef will get it right.
3. You can save time by meal prepping and batch cooking.
Eating at home doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen every night. Instead, you can take some time on the weekend or an evening when you don’t have a lot to do and cook up several meals — from entrées to side dishes — that you can use throughout the week. This will save time and energy since you won’t have to cook during those busy workdays or stressful evenings when you just want to sit down and eat.
4. Eating at home helps reduce food waste.
Although you can take your food home from a restaurant, it doesn’t always happen. So a lot of food ends up going to waste when you eat out. When you cook your own meals at home, it’s much easier to customize portions and avoid throwing away leftovers that would otherwise go to waste.
By the way, you may want to get yourself a vacuum sealer for your food as this helps reduce waste even more! You can cut up vegetables and keep them in your freezer for months with technique, not to mention leftovers.
5. You get to ‘order’ exactly what you want.
Restaurants sometimes don’t make food the way you would really like it. Why pay for that?
When you cook at home, you can add extra olives or make your dish creamier than any restaurant would be willing to do. You can make your food exactly how you like it, which is always worth the price of eating at home.
10 Steps To The Eating At Home Challenge
1. Make a recipe plan for the month
What do you like to eat?
What do you want to try at home?
What restaurant foods will you crave and want to make at home?
Make a recipe plan based on your answers.
If you can’t figure out what you want, or you want to try something different, then you can easily find meal plans online. For instance, here’s a vegan meal planning membership from one of the top vegan bloggers out there.
2. Make a grocery list
You know what you want, so now make a grocery list. If you’ve got a meal plan from somewhere online, you probably already have your grocery list available to you.
If you created your own recipe plan, then include all the ingredients needed for each dish and maybe even include some snacks too for those extra times you want to veer off the recipe plan and have something special. This will keep you from going out to eat when cravings hit.
Try to be mindful of your budget when making your list. You don’t need to buy the most expensive ingredients.
3. Check your pantry and refrigerator
Sometimes you already have what you need in your house. Before you go grocery shopping, check your fridge and pantry to see if there’s anything that could be used for this month’s recipes.
You may even find some things that you didn’t know you had and change up some recipes you want to make, and, of course, you are likely to find food that is expired or no longer good to eat – throw these out so they won’t take up space.
4. Grocery shop and prepare your food
Go grocery shopping for the items on your list. If you are on a budget, try to buy what is in season, or look out for store discounts.
If you plan on meal prepping, after you finish grocery shopping it’s time to start cooking and prepping meals. Try to cook enough food for multiple meals so that you have leftovers that can be reheated for lunches.
5. Store your food properly
Food storage is very important in order to make sure the food lasts longer and stays fresh. When buying groceries, buy foods that don’t spoil easily like grains, legumes or canned goods.
For all other items, check for expiration dates on what you buy and try to store items in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
6. Get excited about eating only at home for a month
If you are excited about this challenge, it will be easier to stick to it. Get excited about doing this for a month and experiencing what it’s like to only eat at home. This will be one of those experiences you will learn from and remember for a long time to come.
7. Track your progress
To keep yourself motivated and accountable, track your progress in a notebook or calendar. Write down your daily meals, your feelings, and any other challenges or successes that can help keep you on track.
8. Reward yourself
When it comes to taking on a challenge, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to reward yourself along the way. This isn’t just a little pat on the back, but a real celebration of your progress and accomplishments.
Why is this so important? When you’re working towards a goal, it can often feel like you’re swimming upstream. Every little bit of positivity and reinforcement can give you the strength you need to keep pushing forward. Rewarding yourself helps to create a sense of excitement and motivation around what you’re doing.
9. Reflect on your experience
Take a few minutes at the end of the challenge to write down some of your thoughts and reflections. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What did I learn?
- How did this challenge affect my life?
- What can I teach others after doing this challenge?
- What would I do differently next time?
Writing things down helps us remember our experiences, so it’s important to take some time to reflect.
10. Move forward with your new knowledge
Once you have completed the challenge, move forward in life with the new knowledge and habits that you have gained. Think about how you can continue using these lessons for future challenges or goals – whether it’s eating out less often or saving money – use what you’ve learned to help you succeed.
This challenge is a great way to practice self-control, save money and gain new knowledge about cooking and eating healthily. Taking on this challenge can be difficult but the rewards are worth it – so take the plunge, prepare yourself mentally and physically, and start eating only at home for a month! Good luck!
Note: Here’s a grocery list template you can use. I left the top blank so you can add whatever you want in there for the headings. I got it from Canva. If you want to make your own templates, you can go there and do so.