While eating out can offer a nice break from the day-to-day responsibility of cooking and dining at home, it can also be costly and unhealthy.

Does that mean you should never eat out? Of course not! At M2O we love a fun evening at one of our favorite Chicago eateries.

But with a bit of mindfulness and organization, you can eat out less often – which will not only help your bank account but your waistline as well.

5 Ways to Eat Out Less

If you doubt you can resist the urge to eat out, try implementing a few of these tips to curb your appetite for drive-thru eating or fine dining:

1. Plan ahead. “What’s for dinner?” is a commonly asked question in most households around 6 pm each night. When you don’t have a clue what to make, it’s easy to jump in the car and head to your favorite restaurant instead of digging around your pantry for something – anything – you can throw together quickly.

To combat this problem, set aside some time each week to plan out your meals for the upcoming week (Sunday evenings are a great time to prepare for the week ahead). This way, you know what to expect and you can thaw out or pick up any ingredients you might need beforehand to guarantee dinner is on the table when everyone in the family starts grazing in the kitchen.

Not sure how to meal plan?

Use our FREE downloadable weekly meal planner to get you started!

2. Get groceries delivered. Between work, kids, activities and exercising, it can be hard to find the time to shop for what you need to cook. And according to researchers, it takes an average of 41 minutes to make your way up and down the aisles of your local grocery store.

Rather have that time to watch your favorite TV show, organize your overflowing sock drawer, enjoy a nice soak in the tub or get ahead on your meal prep? Then consider having your groceries delivered. Services such as Instacart, Shipt or even your local grocer make food delivery a breeze. Simply choose your items, pay online and wait for the food to come to you.

3. Get everyone to help. When it comes to mealtime, the responsibility usually lies with one person in the family. Not only does that person usually do all the meal prep/cooking, but they’re also the ones doing the shopping and the clean-up.

So who can blame them for wanting to eat out more often?

To keep a single person from bearing the load, encourage everyone in the family to pitch in. Divide up the tasks each night, alternate evenings where someone else is in charge or plan a time for everyone to come together and prep the upcoming week’s meals. Whether at work or at play, together is better!

4. Make your kitchen a place you want to cook in. One major reason people don’t want to cook at home is that their kitchen is not functional for the purpose it was intended. Instead, it serves as a drop zone for paperwork, mail and even toys.

It can be tough to get motivated in the kitchen when it isn’t working for you. So, take the time to declutter your pantry, organize your cabinets and clear off counters that may be cluttered with items that belong elsewhere.

Once your kitchen is set up in a way that works for you and for meal prep, then spending time in there will be a delight and not a reason to eat out again.

5. Try something new. Sometimes, cooking is just, well, boring. It can be tiring making the same spaghetti, tacos and hamburgers week after week. So why not try something new?

Whether it’s a recipe (if you love a meal at a particular restaurant see if you can find it online then duplicate it at home), a new cooking appliance (Instapots and Air Fryers are all the rage and easy to use), or a new type of cuisine you may not normally make (for instance Persian or Indian), trying something different can recharge your culinary cravings. It may be a big hit or a huge bust but at least you’ve given it your best shot. Plus who knows what new tastes you might acquire in the process!

Variety is the spice of life. Rather than continually eating out, consider adding some variety to your cooking routine with one of our five tips. With one or two tweaks, you might discover that dining at home isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Don’t forget to download our weekly meal planner to help you eat out less!

How could implementing one of these tips make a difference in how often you eat out?

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