5 Tips to Stop Eating Out – But Mom I Don’t Want To!

burger and fries

burger and friesWith New Year’s Resolutions popping up every where, I wanted to make a few that were more reasonable than ones I have set in the past! With several kiddos in sports, after school activities and doctor appointments galore, we are always on the run! So sometimes fitting in dinner is a quick run through our local drive through restaurant, eat in the van and then drive to our next activity. With this comes a lot of issues, cost, nutrition, health and “But mom I don’t want to eat at home!”. After a visit to the doctor yesterday for my youngest daughter, I was advised that her eating habits were not exactly what they should be. She is a very picky eater and basically of the 4 things that she eats, all 4 are on her no eat diet. And all 4 are items we pick up at our local drive through restaurant on a regular basis! Not to mention the cost of eating out, seems to increase every time we go! With 6 of us at a burger place we can spend $50 easily. Multiply that by 4 times a week and that is more than my weekly grocery shopping budget! So I made a plan and here are some tips to help you and your family hit the drive through less!

My plan is simple, 5 little things I am going to do to each week to lessen our visits to the drive through!

Make a Meal Plan: Each week I use to make a menu of what I was going to cook and then cooked it. We ate out less and had healthier meal options! But each day seems to get busier and busier, putting it on the back burner. The health of my family is my priority and I need to make sure I do everything I can to keep them at their best! Having a plan will help with the I don’t know nights of what to cook, meaning we eat out! So be on the look out for my weekly meal plans and be sure to share yours with me as well!menu plan monday orgjunkie

Plan a Bulk Freezer Meal Cook Day: Again I use to do this all the time and it was great to be able to grab a bag, leave it on the counter to thaw during the day while I was at work, running errands, toting the kiddos to all the appointments and activities and then come home and throw it in a pan, cook for 30 minutes or so and have dinner! This is great if you have older kiddos that beat you home from work! They can simply throw the meal in a crockpot and turn it on for you, dinner will ready by time you get home. This is also a great way to spend a half of a day cooking with your kiddos and getting them involved in making healthier meal options! What are your Bulk Cooking Plans?

Stockpile at the Grocery: Now I know if you are around here at all you have to see all the posts I share about grocery store sales and great deals each week! When you see these items, these are the times to stockpile as much of them as you can at the lowest price to help keep your food budget down, but to also allow you to have food readily available! How many times have you simply ate out just because you didn’t have all the items you needed to cook dinner. And instead of piling in the car, running to the grocery and getting what you need, you simply just called pizza for delivery! If you have food in your pantry, you will be less likely to call for take out!

Simplify Your Meal Plan: Yes if you want to impress the neighbors with a 6 course meal with all the fixins on your night to host book club, then go right ahead! But on a normal basis, your family will love your meal just the same if it is simple, quick and allows you more time with them instead of slaving over the stove! When planning out your menu for the week or your Bulk Freezer Cooking Day, make items are that staples that everyone in your house loves but can go with anything! I will cook several pounds of chicken on Sunday and use it for 3-4 nights during the week for meals like Tacos, Chicken Noodle Soup, Chickens N Dumplins, or Salads!

 chicken salad blt

Don’t Give In & Make an Incentive: One of my biggest problem for eating out, is not being able to say no! There are many times that we simply ate out because I just couldn’t say no! There are times when we will be heading home and we all exhausted but it is still 6pm, plenty of time to head home, make a quick meal and then start bed time routines! But one of the kiddos will ask for that yummy burger we had last week from the burger joint we will be passing in 3 minutes and it will just be so much simpler to stop, eat their yummy food, not have to cook, not have to clean up and just go home and lay on the couch, veg out to the latest American Idol episode until they need baths! I know, sounds amazing right?!?!? But even though all of that sounds great, I should just tell them no, we will be home shortly and I will make a even better meal at home! You can also throw in a little incentive! That if we don’t eat out this week, we can go to a nice dinner and movie later in the week in exchange for the everyday stops! 4 times a week at $50 is $200, where a nice dinner ($75) + movie tickets ($40-$50) is $110-$120, it is a bit of a savings but extra time doing something with my kiddos is the ultimate payoff!

So what are your tips or ideas of how not to eat out? Share below

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Homemade Oatmeal Bags

So thinking more and more everyday of new ways to help save time and money, I read over at Money Saving Mom how she makes homemade Oatmeal bags and thought that this would be a great addition to my bulk meal plan.

My plan for this was very simple; Oatmeal, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon- that is it! My girls are a little picky on certain meals and I wanted to make something that I know they would eat. They can always add fresh fruit in the morning when they make it, but this way I have pre-made breakfast in a bag, ready to go!

Here are the ingredients that I used to make 9 Ziploc bags of Homemade Oatmeal:

  • 1 Container of Oatmeal (3/4 of a cup in each bag)
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar (about a spoonful in each bag)
  • A Sprinkle of Cinnamon in each bag

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Batch Cooking Plans and Recipes!

MuffinsMy plan was to have one batch cooking day under my belt before school started. But with all the crazy things are family had planned all summer, it did not get accomplished. But once my coupon class, back to school supply drive and first day of school is over, I will have a little more FREE time.

My plan is to start off with a batch cooking day of items for my hubby and 2 oldest kids for lunches. Then I want to have a huge batch cooking day for our dinners. So for the last few weeks I have been searching the internet to find recipes that are easy for their lunches and some new dinner recipes. I do have a plan for the next 13 weeks of dinners, which I will share later. I thought I would share for now some of the places that I have been finding some really great recipes and some of the ones that I will use and share at a later date!!

Parents.com– Beef Nacho Casserole, Mango Magic Pops, Sweet Potato Chips
19 Chicken Salad Recipes -Buffalo Chicken Salad, Apple Juice Chicken Salad
Healthy Snack Recipes – Cinnamon Raisin Trail Mix, Bruschetta
All Recipes– BBQ Pulled Chicken or Pork Mini Sliders, Orange Chicken Stir Fry
Grilling Recipes -Grilled Pizza, Onion Chili Burgers
Copy Cat Recipes– Chili’s Southwest Chicken Chili, Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits

Once I get my plan together, I will share more!! Do you batch cook? What types of things do you make?

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This Weeks Menu

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  • Vegetable Soup
  • Spaghetti, Bread and Salad
  • Beef Stew (crock pot)
  • Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Taco Salad
  • Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, Bread and Salad
  • Appetizer Night

So after looking into Bulk cooking for about 2 weeks now, I set a date. February 21 I am planning to cook 30 meals. I am working on getting a menu for March and a list of all the ingredients that I will need. Once I get it all planned I will share. I will also post pictures while I am cooking that day. If you have not heard of Bulk Cooking, here is how it works.

  • Plan a menu for 30 days (My plan is to double or triple some of the meals that I know my family likes and just spread them out throughout the month)
  • List all the ingredients that you will need for those 30 meals, also purchase enough Ziploc bags to store all of these dinners
  • Pick a day to cook. Most likely this will take at least 10-12 hours so make sure to clear your schedule since you will be in the kitchen most of the day
  • Pick a variety of meals so that you and your family do not get burned out. Find meals that you can cook a large amount of a certain meat and use it for several meals. Ground beef is great for tacos, meatloaf, meatballs and so much more.
  • Get your shopping done
  • Start Cooking!!!

I will post soon my plan of attack!!!

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