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3 Easy Ways to Avoid the Takeout Food Trap (and Save Money While You’re at it)

Top tips to help the busy Vancouverite make healthy food choices.

May 1, 2018

By Arianna Ardenne

Why is deciding what to have for dinner so. much. harder. just before dinner time? We’ve all been there – facing down the fridge, struggling to remember what kinds of meals you usually make and what components go into them. And why on earth do you have so much canned pineapple? What are you ever going to do with that?

This is the kind of scenario that ends in one of two ways – giving up and eating a can of pineapple for dinner, or giving up and ordering takeout. Neither are ideal solutions in my mind. Takeout meals tend to be more expensive, less healthy, and come with way more unnecessary packing than meals you prepare at home. And a can of pineapple…well…I don’t really need to elaborate on why that’s not the best dinner.

So how can we avoid this pre-dinner dilemma? Simple – a little planning ahead. We all know this already. But we also know planning is hard, so here are three ways you can make meal planning a little easier, and only order takeout when you really want, not out of rage and desperation.

1. Meal Prepping

Ok, yes, meal prepping seems like A LOT of planning, but if you ease yourself into it by prepping just a couple meals (or even meal components) a week you’ll see what an impact it can have. An easy way to lean into the meal prep lifestyle is to start small. Don’t try to prep a bunch of brand new recipes, choose a couple meals you know you love. Don’t try to prep every meal for a week right off the bat, start with two or three. You also don’t have to prep the whole meal – maybe you decide to have dinners involving chicken breasts Monday and Wednesday. You can cook all the chicken breasts you need on meal prep day. Once you start taking little steps toward meal prepping, you’ll soon gain planning momentum, and before you know it you’ll be instagramming your meticulously planned week of meals each Sunday.

2. Meal Kits

If you don’t know where to start with meal prepping, meal kits could be the answer. Meal kits are a great, easy way to try out new recipes without having to invest in a ton of say…sumac for a recipe and then have it languish in your cupboard until you move next when it gets tossed out. The downside is that most meal kits come with a crazy amount of packaging, and lock you into weekly deliveries with a subscription model. That’s why Be Fresh meal kits from SPUD.ca are so great. Not only do they use the most sustainable packaging possible, you can order them as needed (no commitment), and you can even customize them to remove ingredients you may have on hand (hello 5kg bag of rice you bought on sale). My favourite is the kimchi fried rice, but there are a bunch of great recipes!

3. Ready To Eat Dinner For Four

Let’s be real – some nights we’re just not going to have the time (or the will) to cook. For those nights, make sure you have a Be Fresh ready to eat dinner in the fridge. With options like butter chicken, Thai tofu coconut curry, and cheese-stuffed Italian meatballs (to name a few). They feed 4, come with free family-sized salad, and cost less than the average takeout meal. That’s a triple win.

With these three options, you can make sure you only order takeout when you really just want a pizza or a burrito – not because it’s the only alternative.

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