One big money trap is fast food. We all fall into this trap at one time or another. Soccer practice runs over, a meeting goes a little too long and by the time you are on your way home it’s almost time for dinner. It seems easier to drive in, pay for our food and go home than to think about cooking.
With a well-stocked kitchen, it can be a simple matter to prepare a healthier meal at home in less than the time it would take you to wait in the long lines at the drive-thru. Here are a few simple ways to cut your costs and your calories by having ready-to-eat or nearly ready meals at home:
- Consider crock-pot cooking—you can prepare your meal in a few simple steps earlier in the day when you have more time. It is so nice to come home to a hot meal that cooked while you were away.
- Pre-cook meats before storing in the freezer. Pre-browned ground beef means the 1st step of every beef casserole is already finished. You can also use this to make chili or tacos. With the meat already cooked, a taco dinner would take around 10 minutes to prepare at home.
- Keep pasta ingredients on hand. Spaghetti is another meal that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare when the sauce and pasta are waiting in your pantry.
- Refrigerated entrees and side dishes—Bob Evans, Hormel and Tyson all make good ones that cost less than drive-thru, cook in under 10 minutes and are much healthier.
- In case of emergency, consider hitting the grocery deli for dinner instead of the drive-thru. It will cost less and be just a little bit healthier.