When you become a single mother, you inherit a great deal of added responsibility and it can be overwhelming to try and manage, especially in the first few months. During this time, it can be easy to resort to ordering takeaway in place of cooking a healthy home dinner, and we wouldn’t blame you for giving in now and then!
Eating junk food on a regular basis (god forbid every night) is obviously bad news for both your health and your wallet. Takeaway always seems to be ridiculously cheap when compared with the time and effort home cooking requires.
Luckily, avoiding the convenient take away option is easier than you think when you practice a few simple tricks.
Here are three easy hacks to resist those takeout temptations.
How to say no to a takeaway dinner temptation
1. Develop a meal plan
Planning your meals ahead of time is one of the most effective ways to avoid ordering takeaway every night. Us humans are wired such that if we make a plan to do something, we are far more likely to stick to it.
By making a physical list of the meals you plan to have, you are training your mind to accept those choices ahead of time. This means that on your way home from work you’re far less likely to start fantasising about take away options because you already have a plan for what you’re going to eat.
While sticking to a meal plan 100% of the time will be impossible when you first start, eventually you will train your mind to think about food differently and in turn make smarter food choices.
2. Switch to a meal-kit delivery service
Meal-kit services have become very popular over the last few years and it’s not hard to see why. They combine the convenience of ordering in with the fun of preparing your own healthy and nutritious meals.
How do they work? They’re really quite brilliant in their simplicity. You get a weekly set of pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards sent to your door. You can then easily cook delicious and healthy meals without all of the boring measuring and portioning.
This helps to eliminate stress that comes with decision-making in the grocery isle about what to buy and how much. All you need to do is select the kinds of dishes you want to have delivered and wait for the kit to arrive.
A meal-kit service is incredibly convenient for single mums who want to maintain a healthy diet but don’t have the same mental and physical energy to do all the meal preparation themselves. It is also a mid-way point between ordering a takeaway and cooking at home.
3. Set a ‘takeaway budget’
If you’re really struggling to nurture your willpower to avoid eating takeout, try setting financial boundaries for yourself so that you are forced to limit your poor choices. For example, you could create a budget for takeaway that’s only $30 a week.
While you could argue that enforcing your own rules is just another form of willpower, it’s a great psychological trick to get us to adopt healthy habits. The idea here is that after a while you won’t even be aware of having a takeaway budget because you’ll have trained yourself not to rely on those poor choices anymore.
At the end of the day, refusing takeout is going to come down to your ability to ‘just say no’. While it may prove challenging at first, you and your kids will ultimately be better off for having divorced yourselves from the terrible temptation of takeaway.
BONUS TIP TO AVOID YOUR TAKEAWAY TEMPTATIONS
4. Cook in bulk
Bulk cooking can be a great way to avoid ordering takeaways because it provides you with healthy and delicious meals that are ready to eat when you need them. When you have a batch of food already prepared in your fridge or freezer, you can avoid the temptation of ordering takeaways because you know you have a meal waiting for you at home.
Additionally, bulk cooking can be a cost-effective alternative to takeaways. By preparing meals in bulk, you can save money by buying ingredients in larger quantities and avoiding the cost of takeaways, which can be quite expensive over time. Furthermore, cooking in bulk can also help you avoid wasting food, as you can use up ingredients that might otherwise go unused.
Bulk cooking can also be a time-saving strategy, which can help you avoid ordering takeaways due to lack of time or energy. By dedicating a few hours on the weekend or on a day off to bulk cooking, you can have meals prepared for the entire week. This means that you won’t have to spend time and energy cooking every day, which can be particularly helpful on busy weekdays when you might be tempted to order takeaways.
Further reading: 20 Easy meals to cook in bulk and freeze.