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The Takeout Zombie Trance and How to Ditch it

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How would you like a simple go-to meal to get food on the table quickly?

It would be fantastic!

Right?

So what is stopping you from doing so?

You can spend less money by eating a no-fuss, home cooked meal.

That’s a no-brainer.

I believe most people who say they can’t fit making simple meals into their routine suffer from what I call a Takeout Zombie Trance.

Let me explain what it is and then I’ll let you in on how to get rid of it.

How People Hypnotize Themselves into Not Eating at Home

The scent of freshly made restaurant food entices your taste buds when coming out of work. You may even hear a little voice over and over telling you to just quickly grab something on the way home. The drive thru ads are mesmerizing. The next thing you know, you drive right up and order yet another restaurant meal. You’re stuck in a pattern of constantly eating out when that wasn’t the plan. It can be a healthy habit killer and not to mention a total money drain.

So let me shed some light on what Takeout Zombie Trance and how you get there.

Have you ever found a recipe in a magazine and then gave up before reading the 3rd ingredient?

Or have you ever flipped through a cooking channel and stopped watching after the first few minutes?

You might think the information is only for people who actually like cooking all of the time. You just suddenly stop yourself before you even try. You then only order food that’s potentially overpriced, sodium-filled or contains who knows what because you believe you can’t put something together.  Perhaps, short changing your health and your wallet. That is the trance.

You might think lack of time is the problem but is that really the issue?

How to Snap Out of the Zombie Trance and Start Making Meals at Home

Data is sobering. It’s like being thrown in a truth tube without any choice but to face reality. Research shows that time is no longer an excuse to give.According to Nielsen.com, the average American spends more than 5 hours a day watching television. That’s roughly 150 hours a month!

So the lack of time excuse doesn’t exactly add up. Our behavior is showing us that we rather be a couch potato than make a baked potato. Today is the day you start simple and break out of this pattern. Here is a super quick meal you can make that will still give you time to watch Dancing with the Stars, American Idol or even Shark Tank.

In my last post, you only needed to know how to boil water to make quinoa pasta recipe. You also had to successfully open a jar of artichoke antipasto to make this quick meal. For this dish, you pretty much use the same recipe but add olives and cheese. Once again, it would be easy to add meat and even broccoli to this dish. Feel free to experiment.

quinoa-pasta

So what next?

Here’s a 3 step action plan you can start right away.

Here’s exactly what I do:

1. Find a few simple recipes like the one above and add them to a meal planning template. You can print out a calendar or use my free printable.

free-printables
Click here to get the printable.

2. Map out a weeks worth of meals at time so it’s not overwhelming. You can even just do three days at a time if it’s more manageable for you.

3. Be sure to choose healthy ingredients on a regular basis from the grocery store. A book like Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide can help you make better buying decisions. The book goes over what options are healthier to eat. It’s categorized by different sections of the grocery store and contains better options for each section. With bright pictures and nutritional information, each page clearly points out what brands to buy and which ones to stay away from with research to back up why.

Here’s what a sample page looks like.

eat-this-not-that

To streamline my grocery shopping efforts, I went through each section of the book and jotted down items my family  likes to eat from the “Eat This” list. I wrote down the specific brand names so I wouldn’t forget and made a checklist. While it took some initially reading, the book is easy to reference. It was easy to create a list I can use over and over again when I plot out my shopping trip. I knew that once I came up with a list of acceptable items, I would have a more efficient grocery list and wouldn’t have to read through ingredient lists at the store, hoping to interpret them. Family members could help check off what they wanted for next time once we ran out or it serve as a list of other options to choose from. For those looking to lose weight, I also recommend Eat This, Not That! 2013: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution.

Once you get the hang of things, set a goal to eat home more often.

goal-setting

The Bottom Line

Eating out can be a hard pattern to break. It’s a habit loop you have to fight to save money and improve your health. Take small steps to find  ingredients and recipes for a healthy meal plan from the grocery store. Start off slowly and tweak as you go. Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of recipes built up and you’ll be on your way to making quick meals at home.


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