Author Topic: HELP: Constantly want to eat out  (Read 12612 times)

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« on: November 03, 2015, 05:41:56 PM »
Largely self-explanatory, but each night in my head I keep telling myself that I want to grab fast food, or grab Chinese, or something. The previous two nights I've told myself that I want a hoagie, and there's a place a block away from my gym and thankfully I've resisted. But the thing that's helped me resist these past two nights is the fact that I'm about to go to Phoenix, and I know that I'll likely be eating lots of different foods there so no point in being a pig now.

I have tried to cut down, I used to eat out for every lunch and now I eat out maybe once every two or three weeks, half of the time it is planned, the other half is when I forgot to bring my food or failed to make something, and so it is easier.

I'm finding dinner harder because it is at the end of a long day. Willpower is a finite resource. It just seems so easy to pick up some Thai food or something else but it isn't healthy nor is it cheap as it can really add up.

I would like some advice in how to reduce/eliminate eating out. I don't mind eating out if I'm meeting up with someone, but all too often I'm simply taking it to-go and eating it at home.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 904
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 05:53:25 PM »
You need to prep your dinners beforehand, probably on the weekend.  Make them yummy.  Don't just leave them in a pot or container -- lay them out on a plate, all ready to be microwaved, and put a cover on.  Then when you're tired and hungry, it's actually faster and easier to stick the meal in a microwave than to wait for the restaurant to give you the food.  The ultimate fast food.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 05:55:28 PM »
Thanks, but tonight and last night's dinner were made on Sunday and required at most a minute to prep. It was shredded buffalo chicken mixed with romaine lettuce so I just need to tear the lettuce and shred it and then mixed with chicken.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 904
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 05:59:42 PM »
That sounds easy in theory, but my experience is that even that little bit of prep is aggravating at the end of the day.  Try getting it all ready beforehand and see if that doesn't make a difference.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7302
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 06:03:48 PM »
Maybe put some soup in a crock pot. I love coming home and all I have to do is scoop it into a bowl.

Then, of course, there are leftovers, which I have to go to all the trouble of MICROWAVING. Oh, the horror.

Rezdent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 814
  • Location: Central Texas
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 06:36:04 PM »
I think you're doing a great job of analyzing why this is happening, that's the key to stopping it.
What about inserting an intermediate step, and change the restaurant stop into a grocery store stop?  If you are craving the Thai food, go to the grocery store and buy frozen Thai food.  That breaks the pattern of going into the restaurant. Defrosting and plating the food also reinforces the pattern of eating at home.

I noticed some definite cravings when I stopped, but they subsided within a few weeks as new patterns were formed.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 07:38:25 PM »
Ok, so you had easy food waiting for you at home. Why did going out sound more appealing than that? It was cold out and a salad didn't seem appealing? You'd had it several times and were bored? The recipe didn't turn out that well, or the texture was getting weird in the fridge? The meal was low-carb and you were craving carbs when you were tired and hungry? The food isn't keeping you satisfied long enough?

If you know what it was that you were looking for by going out, then we could help brainstorm solutions.

One thing I will suggest is that while processed food or less healthy food prepared at home is not the ultimate in healthful and cheap, it's still almost always going to be better than the corresponding food purchased out. So keeping a frozen pizza around is better than getting on the phone with the delivery place.

okits

  • CMTO 2023 Attendees
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *
  • Posts: 13020
  • Location: Canada
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 07:51:41 PM »
Is it the actual food you're craving?  Processed/fast/restaurant food has so much extra salt, fat, sugar, and additives that are bad for you.  I actually feel yucky if I've indulged too much in a short timespan, but at the same time I get addicted to it. 

If it's become a habit and you now crave it, go cold turkey for a few weeks (yes, more willpower needed.)  After the first little while you may find you don't really miss it.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 07:53:30 PM »
Ok, so you had easy food waiting for you at home. Why did going out sound more appealing than that? It was cold out and a salad didn't seem appealing? You'd had it several times and were bored? The recipe didn't turn out that well, or the texture was getting weird in the fridge? The meal was low-carb and you were craving carbs when you were tired and hungry? The food isn't keeping you satisfied long enough?

If you know what it was that you were looking for by going out, then we could help brainstorm solutions.

One thing I will suggest is that while processed food or less healthy food prepared at home is not the ultimate in healthful and cheap, it's still almost always going to be better than the corresponding food purchased out. So keeping a frozen pizza around is better than getting on the phone with the delivery place.

Good call on frozen pizza.

I don't know what it is, but I find that getting fast food or takeout to be more relaxing and enjoyable. I've made some of my favorite dishes before and had them waiting in the fridge just needing to be nuked, and I still prefer outside food. One thing I think it could be is that as a person living alone, I generally make a semi-large batch and eat it for several days. Maybe I'm just getting sick of eating the same thing?

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2015, 07:55:51 PM »
Is it the actual food you're craving?  Processed/fast/restaurant food has so much extra salt, fat, sugar, and additives that are bad for you.  I actually feel yucky if I've indulged too much in a short timespan, but at the same time I get addicted to it. 

If it's become a habit and you now crave it, go cold turkey for a few weeks (yes, more willpower needed.)  After the first little while you may find you don't really miss it.

It could be, I once went like a month straight where I would get Taco Bell for lunch and after cutting that out it's gotten to the point where I almost never find it appealing to eat. So maybe that's it. I just need to force myself for a few weeks to be good and eat at home and see if changing my habits will change my desires. I know that when I ate my dinner, I felt really good though it didn't quite hit the spot.

Adventine

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
  • Location: Memphis, USA
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2015, 07:56:04 PM »
Posting to follow. I'm going through this too!

okits

  • CMTO 2023 Attendees
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *
  • Posts: 13020
  • Location: Canada
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2015, 08:09:40 PM »
Ok, so you had easy food waiting for you at home. Why did going out sound more appealing than that? It was cold out and a salad didn't seem appealing? You'd had it several times and were bored? The recipe didn't turn out that well, or the texture was getting weird in the fridge? The meal was low-carb and you were craving carbs when you were tired and hungry? The food isn't keeping you satisfied long enough?

If you know what it was that you were looking for by going out, then we could help brainstorm solutions.

One thing I will suggest is that while processed food or less healthy food prepared at home is not the ultimate in healthful and cheap, it's still almost always going to be better than the corresponding food purchased out. So keeping a frozen pizza around is better than getting on the phone with the delivery place.

Good call on frozen pizza.

I don't know what it is, but I find that getting fast food or takeout to be more relaxing and enjoyable. I've made some of my favorite dishes before and had them waiting in the fridge just needing to be nuked, and I still prefer outside food. One thing I think it could be is that as a person living alone, I generally make a semi-large batch and eat it for several days. Maybe I'm just getting sick of eating the same thing?

I associate restaurants and take out with special and social occasions, so I can really relate to the pleasure aspect of it.  Also, something I selected on the spot that was prepared freshly for me.  And that it cost extra vs. eating at home, so I feel like I "got" something extra/special. 

All emotional responses that I try to counter with rational arguments (and with some, but not perfect, success.)

Perhaps freeze some of your leftovers for later consumption, so you're not eating the same thing for days and days?  Some people don't mind repetition but I really dislike it.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2015, 08:14:06 PM »
Good call on frozen pizza.

I don't know what it is, but I find that getting fast food or takeout to be more relaxing and enjoyable. I've made some of my favorite dishes before and had them waiting in the fridge just needing to be nuked, and I still prefer outside food. One thing I think it could be is that as a person living alone, I generally make a semi-large batch and eat it for several days. Maybe I'm just getting sick of eating the same thing?

Aha! Yes, it is very easy to bore yourself as a single person facing down a big batch of whatever, especially if it is fine but not amazing. I have the end of a batch of vegan chili I really need to finish and I am having a hard time getting around to it.

Here are a couple of suggestions--try having a few more things in the rotation for dinner. Right now, don't worry too much about healthy or cheap...it could be grilled cheese with tomato soup from a box, or grilled sausage with frozen potato wedges, or whatever. Feel free to use salt and butter as you like. You can worry about making the food better/cheaper/healthier once you have created the habit of being at home to eat.

Also, what if you make a rule that you can have takeout, but you have to come home, change clothes etc first before you go to get it (instead of stopping on the way home). Perhaps it wouldn't work for you but personally once I am home with my shoes off, you have to set a bomb off under me to get me back out the door.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7589
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2015, 08:19:28 PM »
I'm breaking out of the go-out-for-lunch-while-at-work thing now.  I used to go home for lunch, then I got a new job on the other side of the country. I don't live lunch-distance from my new home, so I had been going out daily. What ultimately kicked me over the edge was (other than wanting to financially catch up with life again, after my move) adding up what it costs.  ~$10/day, 5x a week, we're looking at $200+/mo for something that I can do myself for far, far less.

I could eat grilled chicken (red pepper flakes and olive oil..mmmm) every day, so meal planning isn't very difficult for me. :P

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2015, 08:22:34 PM »
I get it. I really crave the stromboli from the local  pizza place sometimes. Or the really good burger place that's close to my favorite grocery store. Yes I go grocery shopping and have a car full of groceries and still stop off at the burger place sometimes.

Best solution for me is to track expenses. Then I see that huge takeout tab at the end of the month. So sometimes when I crave the dish I remember that I will have to put the expense down in the spreadsheet. It turns into a game to see how low I can make the eating out part of my expenses.

I still give in to the cravings at times, but much less than before.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2261
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2015, 08:23:43 PM »
I bought these storage bowls:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/set-of-12-storage-bowls-with-clear-lids/s380520
I try to cook a couple great things on the weekend and divide them into individual portions in these bowls. I put a couple in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  These bowls can go straight from freezer to microwave, they stack nicely, and you can easily see the contents.  Right now I'm on a veggie kick so I have coconut-butternut squash soup, roasted vegetables, and tomato eggplant casserole to choose from in the freezer.
 Also, sometimes I think I just want to go somewhere as much as I want the take out food, so I'll substitute popping in at the library instead of going for food.

flan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Location: Texas
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2015, 08:33:28 PM »
Posting to follow. Eating out is my weakness. I need to buy more pyrex..

Cgbg

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 142
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2015, 09:50:43 PM »
It's getting easier to not eat out given the various food borne outbreaks.

Just tonight, I was reading about the e.coli outbreak at Chipotle that has sickened 40 (hospitalized 12) in oregon and Washington. And then there was the other story tonight about a typhoid outbreak at Qdoba in Colorado (at least I think that's where it was.)

I figure I'm less likely to sicken my own family. I suppose e.coli is still a possibility but no way are they getting typhoid by eating dinner at my house.

enki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Michigan
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2015, 10:20:56 PM »
Quote
various food borne outbreaks

I'm not really worried about this sort of thing. Its the same as worrying about shark attacks, meteor strikes, and the like. What worries me more is death from a thousand cuts because I work with a small crew of guys in construction and nobody brings a lunch. Especially when we're living out of hotels that don't have refrigeration.

I try to bring snack items, drinks, and things that would otherwise come from a gas station. I refill my coffee at the hotel, and on monday at a gas station for half the price of the disposable cup. I know I could probably make that monday cup at home but I don't usually allow enough time for that. I'm generally packing and running out of the house in the morning. No time to fiddle with the french press.

Anyone have suggestions for a week's food when you have a cooler and occasional access to ice or refrigeration? Preferably something that isn't pure carbohydrate. How about a cheap source of bulk jerky?

gooki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2917
  • Location: NZ
    • My FIRE journal
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2015, 11:33:05 PM »
Gameify it.

1 point for each homemade dinner eaten.
5 points for walking into a restaurant and then walking out without buying anything and eating a home made dinner.

If you do eat out for a non social event points revert to 0.

Rewards.
Get to 15 points and you get to lord your badassity over the forum.
Get to 150 points and I'll PayPal you $15.

Competition open to MgoSam and Adventine

Missy B

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 634
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2015, 12:01:16 AM »
Quote
various food borne outbreaks

Anyone have suggestions for a week's food when you have a cooler and occasional access to ice or refrigeration? Preferably something that isn't pure carbohydrate. How about a cheap source of bulk jerky?

Costco. For jerky... and everthing else.
I assume you are eating all three meals and snacks out, so:
 I'd get a bag of whole almonds or walnuts, whatever you like best, and a bag of Babybel sealed individual cheeses (cheese sweats but it doesn't go off fast like meat does, and if they are individually sealed, that's better). Individual wrapped cheeses are spendier than cut up block cheese, but still less than what you're probably spending eating out. Pre-cooked falafel balls. Comes in a block of two sealed packages. Again, won't poison you if they warm up a bit overnight when the ice melts.
I'd also bring cans of tuna or salmon or spam, whatever your heart desires, and some individual sealed mayo packets, and make up a couple sandwhiches in the morning. Instant soups - we love the Johnny's potato cheddar at Costco. Needs to simmer, but if the hotel doesn't have a hot plate maybe you could bring one with you. Or live with chewy potato chunks.
I'm in Vancouver, and I don't know if all the American stores get Happy Planet juices like we do, but a juice that is basically a vegetable juice is convenient for vegetable intake. I'd also get some bags of those small, pre-trimmed carrots, and baby tomatoes. Peanut butter and almond butter and nutella all last without refridgeration too. Instant oatmeal and individual yoghurt. Yoghurt, if still sealed, can be very forgiving of temporarily warmer temperatures.

K-ice

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 982
  • Location: Canada
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2015, 12:47:29 AM »
My latest lunch is a bowl of just add water Asian soup, think Ramen, Miso or this other brand I get at Costco. I need to find a TomYum.  Anyway, I have a box or two stashed in my office.

But then I add a handful of veggies. Snap peas & broccoli are my latest favorite. I keep 2-3 days of veggies in the work fridge now.

It started because I had a ziplock bag of veggies to snack on and I threw them in one day.

The soup is a bit high sodium so I don't always use the full flavor pack.

The fresh veggies cook just right with a few min in the boiling water. There is a boiling water tap on the coffee machine at work so I don't even need a kettle.
I confess, I cheat & buy the pre-cut snack veggies or raid the vegie tray after gatherings.

At work I've gotten complements about how fresh & healthy it looks.

About 2 weeks straight now. I'm not sick of it yet.
Lunch costs no more than $2 & is ready in 2 min.

That's all I need to not go out for lunch.

Adventine

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
  • Location: Memphis, USA
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2015, 12:59:15 AM »
Gameify it.

1 point for each homemade dinner eaten.
5 points for walking into a restaurant and then walking out without buying anything and eating a home made dinner.

If you do eat out for a non social event points revert to 0.

Rewards.
Get to 15 points and you get to lord your badassity over the forum.
Get to 150 points and I'll PayPal you $15.

Competition open to MgoSam and Adventine

Heyyy. Challenge accepted!

It's midafternoon right now where I am, but I'm already looking forward to tonight's dinner:

Salad with fresh tomatoes, green mango, onions and Kewpie roasted sesame dressing
Home cooked whole wheat spaghetti
Tomato-basil pasta sauce (out of a jar, unfortunately)
Oatmeal cookies
POINTS: 1

The real challenge is staying consistent. I don't have a problem with eating the same thing for days in a row, but I do get really, really lazy and demotivated. Especially when I'm under stress. Even when I've got a decently stocked pantry at home and snack drawer at work, I have trouble resisting the urge to treat myself to eating out whenever I get upset.

I basically self-medicate using food, especially when I decide to eat out. I've gotten better at that over the years (used to be borderline obese, now at a normal weight) but old habits die really, really hard.

alsoknownasDean

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2870
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2015, 01:06:35 AM »
Just tonight, I was reading about the e.coli outbreak at Chipotle that has sickened 40 (hospitalized 12) in oregon and Washington.

Can you please send me a link? I was in that area recently and ate Chipotle, although I feel OK now (aside from the remnants of a cold) so I'm probably alright. :)

I really need to get sorted out with this. Even if I've got food ready to go, I'm still often tempted to go and buy something if I feel like it instead.

Even now I've bought some cubed beef and some vegetables planning on making a curry, but still thinking of going for a bowl of pho instead.

To be honest eating out more often than I should is my biggest antimustachian failing.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 01:08:34 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Freedomin5

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6663
    • FIRE Countdown
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2015, 01:34:35 AM »
I had the same problem buying breakfast on the way to work and lunch at work. What helped me was to give myself a weekly cash allowance, and leaving credit/debit cards at home. Once that cash was used up, that was it. It made me think twice before purchasing something to eat. I found myself planning ahead for the week; for example, if  I knew I would be going out for dinner with a friend on Wednesday, then I would eat more frugally (bring something from home, eat breakfast before leaving the house, etc. ) on Monday and Tuesday. Right now,  my allowance is small enough that I can afford to eat out about twice a week; I'm planning to cut my allowance down so I'm only eating out once per week. If that goes well, I may cut it down even further.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2015, 08:31:52 AM »
I bought these storage bowls:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/set-of-12-storage-bowls-with-clear-lids/s380520
I try to cook a couple great things on the weekend and divide them into individual portions in these bowls. I put a couple in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  These bowls can go straight from freezer to microwave, they stack nicely, and you can easily see the contents.  Right now I'm on a veggie kick so I have coconut-butternut squash soup, roasted vegetables, and tomato eggplant casserole to choose from in the freezer.


I like this idea. My roommate did this as well, on Sundays he would make a few dishes and then place them in up to 10 Pyrex containers for lunches and dinners. He also would make an egg bake for his week's breakfasts and would just nuke them.

I am going to try this, do you know if it is safe to toss things straight in to the freezer? This way I can make a bunch of dishes and then have meals for the next few months. Plus I can place labels on them so that I can keep track of how old they are and what is in them.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2015, 08:35:06 AM »
Gameify it.

1 point for each homemade dinner eaten.
5 points for walking into a restaurant and then walking out without buying anything and eating a home made dinner.

If you do eat out for a non social event points revert to 0.

Rewards.
Get to 15 points and you get to lord your badassity over the forum.
Get to 150 points and I'll PayPal you $15.

Competition open to MgoSam and Adventine

Thank you, I love this idea and appreciate the offer of money but I cannot accept. Your offer is greatly appreciated, and I love the idea.

jollygreen23

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Age: 38
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2015, 08:45:30 AM »
I agree that this may partially be a food addiction, in combination with the convenience factor. It's a tough battle (and I've fought it many times).

Some tips I've found helpful:

Keep no-prep, healthy foods on-hand (at the office, in the car, in the pantry) like apples, bananas, almonds, string cheese if you have a fridge available.

http://onceamonthmeals.com  Make-ahead-and-freeze meals, complete with thaw instructions and a wicked-cool searchable database if you may for the monthly membership. It paid for itself in one day.

Mentally, I've just had to tell myself that eating out isn't an option. I think about my financial goals, and remind myself that those goals will be reached by making $10 decisions.

Crock pot, bread machine, rice cooker, leftovers, rotisserie chicken from Costco, and all the other usual stuff.

My husband has a friend who is really good at the beginning of the week about making meals and cooking healthy meals from scratch, but by the end of the week he's eating out. DH suggested he stock up on some of Costco's convenience meals (Publix has good ones too, if you have a Publix nearby). Favorites like chicken masala and fettuccine alfredo are more expensive than cooking from scratch, but cheaper than eating out, and it's heat-and-serve for those days when he just doesn't feel like cooking (or forgot to prep).


Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1853
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2015, 08:58:31 AM »
Oh, man, I used to have the same problem, and I feel you.

Thing that worked for me when I was in proximity of restaurants: identify the ones you actually like instead of the ones you go to because you're hungry and it's convenient (the souvlaki place with the best tzatziki EVAR, omg), and make actual plans to go to those places with a friend (because, let's face it: 10$ for dinner is kinda pricy if you go every day, 10$ for a two-hour chat with a good friend over food is not terrible... and it restricts the spending to times when you want to see people and have time to hang out).

Thing that forced me to figure out the next tips I'm gonna give: I moved to the country. The nearest (shitty) restaurant is a 20-minute drive away, NO ONE does delivery, and the nearest GOOD restaurant is a half-hour drive away, so meals out happen every few months and need to be planned. To deal:

- GOOD freezer meals. I batch-cook the casseroles my family likes (lasagna, veggie-heavy shephard's pie, fried rice, tofu curry) into either foil or glass containers and freeze. Get home at 6 and want dinner in an hour and don't wanna cook? Set the oven, pop in a dish, go do something else, come back in an hour to cooked food. The trick to this is that it does need to be a complete meal, otherwise you have to prep veggies and it seems like so much woooork and then take-out happens.
- Pizza cravings = frozen pizza instead of take-out = MAKE THEM AT HOME. I recommend the no-knead pizza dough (google the recipe, or check out the book from the library, but this variation works for me: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/10/lazy-pizza-dough-favorite-margarita-pizza/). Make as much of the dough as you can store in your freezer, roll them all out on pans or boards, add tomato, cheese, and whatever else you want, and freeze (and then wrap in foil). Last time I made this, I used part of the 50lb bag of flour I bought, cheese on sale (though I'm Canadian, it's still expensive), 2 #10 cans of tomatoes, some spices, and added tpppings to a few (my husband likes pineapple on pizza, and my toddler likes broccoli.). The dough was dead easy to make and took 5 minutes, prepping the 15 pizzas I made at once took about 45 minutes, wrapping up the frozen pizzas took up maybe another 10, and that's 15 meals that cost us approximately 1.25$ each and 14 evenings of dinners with zero prep work on the night of.
- Leftovers that can be adapted. I get SO BORED eating the same thing every night, but a roast chicken that turns into chicken fried rice, chicken stir-fry, and a chicken-and-cream pasta sauce? That I can deal with. While I don't think it lives up to it's name, Jamie Oliver's Save With Jamie has a bunch of really good suggestions for adapting leftovers into really good DIFFERENT meals.
- Might sound obvious, but: healthy snack at 4 pm means you're not starving when you go by the fast food places on the way home, means you're more likely to wait until you're home to eat.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1296
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 09:14:07 AM »
Develop a routine. Make dinner while watching basketball(or whatever). Plan your meals in advance, and have a menu on the fridge. Then each day you have a few choices to make for dinner.


Red Beard

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Age: 37
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2015, 09:21:47 AM »
Anyone have suggestions for a week's food when you have a cooler and occasional access to ice or refrigeration? Preferably something that isn't pure carbohydrate. How about a cheap source of bulk jerky?

Something that I have found really useful in a similar situation was an easy to mix protein shake that included bulk protein and greens powder (veggies!...sort of)off of Amazon, a carton of unsweetened Silk and some ground flax. Convenient, travels well, moderately unhealthy and just under $2.00 a day.

I was in the habit of going out to lunch 3-4 times a week at $10-$12 a lunch. The thing that worked for me was quitting cold turkey - I told myself I was NOT going to eat out for lunch no matter the situation, even if I forgot lunch or it was a "special" occasion. Its been a month now and I am still going  strong.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2015, 09:24:06 AM »
Anyone have suggestions for a week's food when you have a cooler and occasional access to ice or refrigeration? Preferably something that isn't pure carbohydrate. How about a cheap source of bulk jerky?

I'm a huge fan of this. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007S6Y6VS?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

Just mix it with a blenderball and some water for some nutrients. 

NotJen

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1658
  • Location: USA
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2015, 09:32:49 AM »
I bought these storage bowls:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/set-of-12-storage-bowls-with-clear-lids/s380520
I try to cook a couple great things on the weekend and divide them into individual portions in these bowls. I put a couple in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  These bowls can go straight from freezer to microwave, they stack nicely, and you can easily see the contents.  Right now I'm on a veggie kick so I have coconut-butternut squash soup, roasted vegetables, and tomato eggplant casserole to choose from in the freezer.


I like this idea. My roommate did this as well, on Sundays he would make a few dishes and then place them in up to 10 Pyrex containers for lunches and dinners. He also would make an egg bake for his week's breakfasts and would just nuke them.

I am going to try this, do you know if it is safe to toss things straight in to the freezer? This way I can make a bunch of dishes and then have meals for the next few months. Plus I can place labels on them so that I can keep track of how old they are and what is in them.
Yes!  Freeze everything!!!  I eat so much better since I started doing that.  Every time I cook a meal (usually once during the week and once on weekends), I put the leftovers in individual containers and throw them in the freezer right away.  That way, I always have variety, and nothing goes bad sitting in the fridge if I forget about it.  Even things I've been wary of throwing in the freezer have come out well (like chicken salad, or baked goods); I have yet to be disappointed (but I do make quality food from fresh ingredients).

I use my leftovers for work lunches, mostly.  My routine is on the weekends to cut up salad fixings and put them into bowls, so I have one to grab for lunch every day.  I pair large salads with a meat from the freezer to top it (leftover chicken breast, pork chop, steak, etc.), and small salads with other leftovers (like stuffed peppers, stew, rice bowl, etc.). I pull out the frozen food a day or two in advance to defrost (so it doesn't take forever in the work microwave), but that's not really necessary.

For quick dinners, I have batch made burritos, pocket sandwiches, and pizzas in the freezer.  (I use this recipe for my pizza dough - http://gwens-nest.com/easy-bread-recipe/ - it's no knead AND no rolling, just spread it out on parchment paper.)

I also try to prep food on non-cooking days, if possible.  So, if I come home starved from the gym and have a burrito from the freezer, when I'm done, I can cut up veggies or throw things in a crockpot to have ready for dinner the next night with less prep time.

I also pre-make my breakfast items.  If I'm feeling fancy and make a quiche or something, I'll have that in the freezer.  But I also keep freezer packs of smoothie makings (fruit, greens, and flax or whatever - just add liquid), and I make a batch of steel cut oats on Sunday or overnight oats and keep them in individual bowls in the fridge.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4594
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2015, 10:04:09 AM »
Think of it like an addiction. You have to just retrain your brain, which takes time and consistency. Once you have the correct habits down as your natural routine, I promise it's not some sort or horrible drudgery. I've cooked almost every meal my boyfriend and I have eaten for years (with the off days being leftovers), and it's just not a big deal eventually. You just zone out and get it done.

It does help to make your kitchen efficient so you can work at warp-speed and churn out meals with minimal effort. I suggest a massive clean-out of any kitchen gadgets and crap you don't use regularly, as well as weird ingredients. Then implement an organized system so you never have to look for anything and know where everything belongs. You don't need to go as crazy as me, but I have my cupboards and drawers numbered and memorized, so if my boyfriend is doing dishes and asks where, say, the potato masher goes, I can just yell "2" and he puts it in the right drawer.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3684
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2015, 10:07:28 AM »
Think of it like an addiction. You have to just retrain your brain, which takes time and consistency. Once you have the correct habits down as your natural routine, I promise it's not some sort or horrible drudgery. I've cooked almost every meal my boyfriend and I have eaten for years (with the off days being leftovers), and it's just not a big deal eventually. You just zone out and get it done.

It does help to make your kitchen efficient so you can work at warp-speed and churn out meals with minimal effort. I suggest a massive clean-out of any kitchen gadgets and crap you don't use regularly, as well as weird ingredients. Then implement an organized system so you never have to look for anything and know where everything belongs. You don't need to go as crazy as me, but I have my cupboards and drawers numbered and memorized, so if my boyfriend is doing dishes and asks where, say, the potato masher goes, I can just yell "2" and he puts it in the right drawer.

Thanks, that's a good point. What's it becomes a habit to eat at home, it will be easier. Like it was hard to get the drive to go to the gym after work because in the past I just wanted to chill, but now I look forward to my workout.

I will definitely need to organize my kitchen better, right now everything is spread out because it's a lot of space for one person. Instead I know that I need to portion off spaces for when I eventually get roommates, and instead keep areas available for ease in cooking (keep places and stuff near the dishwasher and sink), keep spices and ingredients near the stove/oven.

Speaking of spices, any ideas on a fairly comprehensive list of spices to get and where to get them? I really want to make a list of spices and then find a bunch of people that want the same spices so that we can just buy in bulk because buying small containers is way more expensive, but small steps are best for now.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7988
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2015, 11:12:50 AM »
This WSJ article just addressed the fact that people who see willpower as finite impulse spend more, so maybe start with adjusting your mindset on that front? http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-hidden-reasons-people-spend-too-much-1446433200

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2015, 12:14:35 PM »
Not sure if it would work for you, but when I switched to a low-carb diet, I discovered that I really preferred preparing my own meals.  I think it's the carb-rich food you eat when dining out that hits your dopamine receptors.

Some places offer low-carb options, but they're usually bland and expensive compared to what I can cook at home.  The only times I'm in a restaurant lately is special occasions with family and friends.  I enjoy their company, but begrudge paying high prices for mediocre meals.


 

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7589
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2015, 12:32:01 PM »
Think of it like an addiction. You have to just retrain your brain, which takes time and consistency. Once you have the correct habits down as your natural routine, I promise it's not some sort or horrible drudgery. I've cooked almost every meal my boyfriend and I have eaten for years (with the off days being leftovers), and it's just not a big deal eventually. You just zone out and get it done.

It does help to make your kitchen efficient so you can work at warp-speed and churn out meals with minimal effort. I suggest a massive clean-out of any kitchen gadgets and crap you don't use regularly, as well as weird ingredients. Then implement an organized system so you never have to look for anything and know where everything belongs. You don't need to go as crazy as me, but I have my cupboards and drawers numbered and memorized, so if my boyfriend is doing dishes and asks where, say, the potato masher goes, I can just yell "2" and he puts it in the right drawer.

Thanks, that's a good point. What's it becomes a habit to eat at home, it will be easier. Like it was hard to get the drive to go to the gym after work because in the past I just wanted to chill, but now I look forward to my workout.

I will definitely need to organize my kitchen better, right now everything is spread out because it's a lot of space for one person. Instead I know that I need to portion off spaces for when I eventually get roommates, and instead keep areas available for ease in cooking (keep places and stuff near the dishwasher and sink), keep spices and ingredients near the stove/oven.

Speaking of spices, any ideas on a fairly comprehensive list of spices to get and where to get them? I really want to make a list of spices and then find a bunch of people that want the same spices so that we can just buy in bulk because buying small containers is way more expensive, but small steps are best for now.

Spices will last a couple/few years, so I'd just buy a moderately sized jar of whatever you need whenever you need it.  I primarily use salt (I buy coarse sea salt for super cheap and run it through a hand grinder), black pepper (again, whole kernel through a grinder/shaker), and a lot of crushed red pepper flakes.

I wouldn't worry too much about having a whole list of spices ahead of time - worry about picking them up when you start making foods that need them.

monstermonster

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4291
  • Age: 37
  • Location: The People's Republic of Portland (Oregon)
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2015, 12:48:30 PM »
I did three things to deal with the "willpower fatigue" part of eating out at the end of the long day:

1) I started meal planning on Sundays - I find having all my food in the house (being out of groceries to cook was often the driver behind me eating out), and all the things prepped and ready means the path of least resistance really is going home and eating  what's planned. If I know that it's tacos for dinner, and I already have the taco stuff, that's actually less stressful than deciding where to eat.
2) I saved podcasts I really like for cooking time - so that means I get to have my "instant gratification monkey" in listening to ear candy while I prepare dinner, without spending money eating out to please my instant gratification monkey.
3) I have one tried-and-true "stressed out" meal that I'll plan for nights that are hard that takes NEARLY NO EFFORT to make at all and if I know I'm going to have a stressed out day at the office, I'll plan for that at night.

Oh, and also, having beer at home. Knowing I can have a beer with dinner for the marginal cost of $1.25/beer instead of $6/beer makes eating at home more attractive. I get dinner AND a beer and still save money!

monstermonster

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4291
  • Age: 37
  • Location: The People's Republic of Portland (Oregon)
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2015, 12:50:52 PM »
..Also if you're into behavioral economics, check out Beeminder, which will give you a financial "sting" if you don't follow through on your goals. I use it for lots of things but eating out could easily be one- say you're only going to eat out once a week, if you go off track, Beeminder will charge you money. If you stay on track, you'll never pay anything. It gamifies with behavioral economics.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8927
  • Location: Oregon
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2015, 01:13:01 PM »
Use more salt. Restaurants use a HUGE amount of salt, and if we eat it often, our kidneys make the level of hormones needed to use this level of salt for our hydration balance- cut out the salt, and your body will crave it until you re-calibrate. I guarantee that even putting what you think is "a lot" of salt in your food at home is less than you are getting at a restaurant, and it will help your body adjust to the change.

Also, salt is where the flavor is. A lot of times when we can't put our finger on why restaurant food is so much richer and more flavorful, it's because we're being scared of salt and spices.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2261
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2015, 02:03:10 PM »
The only problem with putting food you have  just cooked into the freezer is that it will warm the freezer.  I let it cool to room temperature first.

MacGyverIt

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 250
  • Location: Not in a tropical, underpopulated location. And that's just wrong.
  • What Would MacGyver Do?
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2015, 02:04:09 PM »
I completely understand this as well. After my work day I can barely move much less cook something, the drive through is so tempting.

You mentioned the gym in your OP -- if your body and health are enough of a concern that you bother going to the gym then definitely consider the junk that goes into the dining experience. Most places don't use natural fats, organic produce and grass fed meats. The faux food, chemicals and hormones in most restaurant food is exactly what you want to avoid.

As I mentioned, the dead tired after work factor I completely understand and experience daily. I have go to foods that can range from sweet to salty. Tonight it is dark and freezing cold outside, so I threw two vegetable broth cubes, 4 cups of water and about 6 ounces of spinach in the Vitamix (god's gift to lazy but healthy eating folks everywhere), liquefied it then put it in a pot with some natural butter and warmed it up. I've been drinking this warm comfort food all evening.

When I want sweet, I love to open up a Greek yogurt, drizzle some of a low sugar version of Agave nectar and maybe some cinnamon on top.

And sometimes it is peanut butter and a tablespoon. :-D

zephyr911

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3619
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Northern Alabama
  • I'm just happy to be here. \m/ ^_^ \m/
    • Pinhook Development LLC
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2015, 02:25:39 PM »
Learn to cook better, ya slacker! Every time you get a craving, go drop a few bucks on supplies and try to make the same thing you were gonna buy. You'll be surprised how much you learn. :D

frugalfanny

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2015, 02:33:56 PM »
I have the same problem, especially when I drive the route home that has every fast food place I could dream of.

The things that help me are: taking a different route home and visualizing dollar signs and/or a skull and cross bones when thinking about the food. Seriously somehow that works.

It's a good reminder that making a choice to grab those quick foods is just throwing away my money and my health.

jinga nation

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2747
  • Age: 248
  • Location: 'Murica's Dong
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2015, 02:47:21 PM »
Think of it like an addiction. You have to just retrain your brain, which takes time and consistency. Once you have the correct habits down as your natural routine, I promise it's not some sort or horrible drudgery. I've cooked almost every meal my boyfriend and I have eaten for years (with the off days being leftovers), and it's just not a big deal eventually. You just zone out and get it done.

It does help to make your kitchen efficient so you can work at warp-speed and churn out meals with minimal effort. I suggest a massive clean-out of any kitchen gadgets and crap you don't use regularly, as well as weird ingredients. Then implement an organized system so you never have to look for anything and know where everything belongs. You don't need to go as crazy as me, but I have my cupboards and drawers numbered and memorized, so if my boyfriend is doing dishes and asks where, say, the potato masher goes, I can just yell "2" and he puts it in the right drawer.

Thanks, that's a good point. What's it becomes a habit to eat at home, it will be easier. Like it was hard to get the drive to go to the gym after work because in the past I just wanted to chill, but now I look forward to my workout.

I will definitely need to organize my kitchen better, right now everything is spread out because it's a lot of space for one person. Instead I know that I need to portion off spaces for when I eventually get roommates, and instead keep areas available for ease in cooking (keep places and stuff near the dishwasher and sink), keep spices and ingredients near the stove/oven.

Speaking of spices, any ideas on a fairly comprehensive list of spices to get and where to get them? I really want to make a list of spices and then find a bunch of people that want the same spices so that we can just buy in bulk because buying small containers is way more expensive, but small steps are best for now.
I've found Italian and Spanish mixed dry herbs to be cheapest at Sam's Club/ Costco. For other spices like turmeric, cumin, etc. go to an Indian store. For cinnamon and others, I have a $20 Krups grinder (for coffee and spices). I like some spices to be freshly ground. Buy whole peppercorns and use a grinder. You can use less pepper and get a better kick since it is fresh.
I grow rosemary and oregano. Zero maintenance. Rosemary is great for roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter veggies.

Have you thought about using a rice cooker? Rice, water, spices, salt, protein, veggies, timer set, go! I use one by Aroma. They have several sizes.
http://www.amazon.com/Aroma-UNCOOKED-Stainless-Exterior-ARC-914SBD/dp/B007WQ9YNO/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1446673487&sr=1-1&keywords=aroma+rice+cooker&refinements=p_89%3AAroma

stlbrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 430
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2015, 03:32:02 PM »
Try to think of the health benefits more than the money. To me, the health benefits of eating 95% home cooked meals from scratch is far more rewarding than saving $50/week on eating lunches out. The money saved is just another added perk (that achieves compound interest and makes me achieve FI sooner).

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
Re: HELP: Constantly want to eat out
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2015, 09:12:05 PM »
All good suggestions up above in this thread.

One thing I've found is that if work was uber stressful and I know I have then thousand things to do when I get home....that's the worse. I'm more likely to grab junk food instead of cook or even nuke when I have.

But I've found that having a granola bar sitting on the truck console helps. This time of year I'll even leave an apple in there. It's stress more than hunger, and the instant gratification means I can make it home (usually).

The other thing, regarding being single is: 'out' is where the people I want to perhaps get nekkid with are. So I think part of the motivation is: if I stop for takeout who knows, I might meet somebody.

That might be a subliminal part of the equation.