Eat Out Less This Year! 5 Game-Changing Strategies

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  1. Mom says:

    My newest plan is similar to #1 on your list. I haven’t started it yet, but just a week or so ago I decided I needed it way to rotate through all the food in my canning pantry. I tend to gravitate towards several favorites when going into the pantry to grab something for dinner. These means other things I have canned tend to sit on the shelves longer than others. As I was adding new shelves and organizing the pantry, I came up with the idea if setting up a ‘staging shelf’ in one of my kitchen cabinets. Each week I will ‘shop’ in my pantry and bring a selection of jars at to the kitchen and will make our meals from them for that week, making sure that I select a wider variety than just my usual go to items.

  2. Mom says:

    Sorry for the typos, I couldn’t figure out how to edit my comment 🙂

  3. Jessie says:

    In January we run an Eat at Home Challenge with similar tips! We eat at home every night except any planned meals (birthdays, etc). I remember when growing up a trip to McDonalds was a real treat- we could never afford to go! My children, however, felt it was just a place we stopped every day after school (ok not everyday- but close enough!) Now eating out really is an experience to get dressed up and excited and it’s not McDonalds!

  4. Christie says:

    This is great! I like the idea of meal planning, but it doesn’t work for our family–hubby or I often don’t want what was scheduled or something comes up that keeps me from making a more time consuming recipe on a busy day. Plus I’m also pregnant and there are days I spend on the couch!
    I’d been doing meal planning for a week, coming up with 5 meals, but keep finding that they don’t sound good. A month at a time is fabulous! Perfect compromise.

  5. Rhonda says:

    This is a great strategy, but I have to ask, on bottom of your list, do you really mean “goat pie?”

  6. Dawn says:

    First I want to say loved the article. As a family we cherish dinner time and appreciate the many reasons you have listed. Good tips also! I would just like to address the thawing of the meat in water. I used to teach food safety and I, myself, never use this method of thawing food. IMO there are 3 safer options… 1) in the refrigerator 1-3 days prior to the meal (depending on size of meat) 2) in the microwave or 3) as a part of the cooking process. Thawing food in water can be the least safe approved method of thawing because it takes much thought and attention by the thawer. If one chooses this method, it should be done ONLY in cold water not warm water. Food should be taken out prior only the amount of time needed to thaw (approximately 1 hour for the first pound and 30 minutes per additional pound). So, if you are cooking at 5pm and it is a 2 pound roast, the earliest it should be taken out and placed in COLD water is 2 1/2 hours previous or 3:30pm. Using this method of defrosting food safely, the water should also be changed every 30 minutes. The water naturally warms up and places the meat in the bacteria growth temp range. A good rule of thumb is to drop a few ice cubes in the water and when they melt, it is time to change the water. Also cold water thawing is not recommended as a way to thaw a very large amount of frozen meat (such as a turkey).

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Thank you so much Dawn! I was unaware of that. I thought that thawing in water was safer, because it thaws the meat more quickly than, say leaving it on the counter, which I’m not a fan of. I figured that speeding up the process would keep it out of the “danger zone” for an extended time. Thank you for that clarification!

      • Dawn says:

        You are for sure right about that! Meat should NEVER be thawed on the counter. Thawing in (cold) water is much better than the counter and certainly can be done safely if one is attentive!

        • Eryn Lynum says:

          Thanks Dawn! I tried the ice cube trick yesterday, and it helped me stay attentive and remember to change the water, and transfer the meat to the fridge when it was thawed.

  7. Dana says:

    Love this!! We are on track to pay off over 100K of debt by August and (mostly) eating at home really helps!

    Meal planning is the biggest factor for me being successful. But I have another unusual tip…increase your grocery budget a bit. Sounds crazy, right? But if you get too caught up in spending as little as possible, it will backfire on you. I am most tempted to eat out when I am bored with home cooked meals or don’t have any quick, convenience meal to make. But when I spend a little bit more on groceries, I can make more adventurous meals and keep an easy “meal in a bag” for crazy nights. The increase in my grocery budget is still WAY less than going out to eat.

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Great point Dana! I would whole-heartily agree with that. It has been the times when I try to decrease our grocery budget that I find we eat out more because we don’t have enough ingredients or options in the house. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jennifer Tilson says:

    I keep an inventory list of foods currently in my freezer on the door. That includes freezer meals and ingredients. I cross off and change quantities as I use them. Then, once a month, I’ll jot down a “things to use up” list that incorporates those looked-over items in the pantry and the freezer. Just having a handful of ideas outside of the typical spaghetti and tacos makes me excited to cook again.

  9. Anne says:

    I appreciated all the reminders and tips in this post. And I just have to say that as a native of Lawrence KS who now lives in Boston, I am so jealous that you got to have Oklahoma Joes! That is amazing barbecue–I’m sure you enjoyed every bite.

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Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!

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