Written by Caralyn Dea
A little while ago I read an article that was circulating on Facebook called ‘The Busy Trap’ about how busy Americans are. Everybody is busy. Many complain that they are too busy too eat at home so they pick up a fast food takeout meal.
This article is going to take the concept of fast food vs home cooked meals and show you that there is a way to eat quick and healthy on a budget.
Time is the new four letter word. The time trap is the result to trying to do too many things in too little time, and curse time for it.
One of the major reasons that people get takeout or fast food is, time. I often hear things like; “I don’t have time to cook,” “It’s too late when I get home to cook,” “Cooking a meal takes too long.” I often ponder this and think of the underlying reasons that people choose take out over a healthy and inexpensive home cooked meal.
Why People Choose to Choose Fast (Takeout) Food Instead of Home Cooked Meals
- Skill. The ‘art’ of cooking is swiftly disappearing. How many people these days can successfully poach an egg? Can quickly slice an onion without crying? Can make a light tomato based pasta sauce from scratch? Not many.
- Confusion. People often don’t know what to cook that is balanced, satisfying and healthy. There are so many messages flying around our world telling us what we should eat and how many times per week we should eat these things that unless you have a PhD is impossible to tell what information is correct and how to apply it to your life.
- Organization. Coming home after a long day of work and extra curricular activities your mind is generally fried and you are suffering from decision fatigue. (It is a newly documented condition). Deciding what to cook for dinner is hard work and the last thing you can be bothered doing.
- Repertoire. Not having a go-to meal that is fast, easy, satisfying with ingredients that you generally have in your fridge.
Are any of these reasons ringing a bell in your mind right now?
Arming yourself with basic cooking skills and a little bit of organization will change your world and your diet and ultimately your waistline. I am going to go out on a limb here and also say your bank balance. It is cheaper to eat at home!
Know the basics of cooking. There are loads of workout videos on YouTube. [editor’s note: Fitness Blender’s are my favorite]. They will show you how to do things the right way and once you do it a few times you will be a wiz. My mum wont cut up an onion because it makes her cry. Learn to do it the right way and no tears I promise. Some of my favorite clips are by Curtis Stone for a grocery store chain in Australia called Coles. Check them out.
When Preparing a Meal Think About 3 Things
- Most of my plate should be colorful non-starchy vegetables.
- The protein that I have should be no bigger than the palm of my hand.
- The carbohydrate that I have should be no bigger than the palm of my hand. That includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, brown rice, quinoa, pasta etc.
That is All You Need to Remember.
At the start of the week or on the weekend, whenever it is that you have some free headspace plan what you are going to have for dinner each night. These days you can purchase meal planners from those cool stationery stores that stick to your fridge. Fill it in, write your list and take a trip to the grocery store. This takes away you needing to make decisions at the end of a long day when you are hungry and most susceptible to poor choices. The difficult question of fast food vs home cooked meals will not trouble you any more.
Choose a Meal That You Can Make in Your Sleep
For me that is a stir-fry. Stir-fries are a meal that are heavy on vegetables and give you a moderate serving of protein and carbohydrates. They can also be made in under 20 minutes. I am fairly good in the kitchen so chopping up vegetables takes me not a lot of time at all. However, if you are not keen on slicing, dicing and chopping up a rainbow of food then the grocery stores do it for you. They also have sliced chicken or beef ready to use in a stir-fry. If you purchased your vegetables and meat already prepared then your stir-fry would take less than 10 minutes. Throw in some noodles and your favorite stir-fry sauce and you have a balanced healthy meal in less than 15 minutes.
Time is A Luxury
There is no doubt that time is indeed a luxury. But, this shortage of time doesn’t have to mean that your health suffers too. The next time you are caught in a time trap with the question of fast food vs home cooked meals, think of your healthy alternatives and the example you set for your children.