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For a Heathier Life–Step Away from the Takeout Menu

Last year our family moved into a new home and I was speaking with our sales office this week.  I commented that I was surprised that not more buyers chose to upgrade their kitchen appliances.  My own kitchen is our family’s heart.  It merges into our family room and this is where we spend the majority of our time.  That, along with the fact that I prepare 90 percent of the meals we consume, made it well worth the investment to upgrade our kitchen.  I was shocked to hear from our sales manager that most of the community either order in or go out to eat up to five times a week!  Wait …what?! 

I’m a working mom, so I get it.  Life is hectic, but every night ordering in or going out when you have a family?  First and foremost, your taking a huge gamble with your health.  You have little control what ingredients are going into your meal and how it’s prepared unless you’re ordering a salad.  And, I highly doubt you’re ordering a salad every, single night.  Plus, if it’s for an entire family, I can assure you that kids are definitely not ordering healthy fare from a takeout menu.  Meals ordered out are going to be higher in fat, calories and sodium than those you prepare at home.  Second, how is this cost effective?  I’m not saying you can’t treat yourself, but takeout or dining out every night gets very expensive.  I’m going to give you two really tasty dinner recipes that are quick, easy, healthy and will cost you less than what it would to buy something similar from a takeout menu. Let’s see how they stack up and what your savings are.

 Let’s start with Spinach Salad w/Chicken, Avocado & Goat Cheese.  This recipe is quick and easy to make.  I use a rotissarie chicken and remove the skin before cutting up the chicken and I subtitute gorgonzola cheese for the goat cheese since it’s my family’s favorite.  Frozen corn works just fine for this recipe and right now avocados are on sale.  I usually serve this meal with crusty Italian bread bought from my supermarket’s bakery section.  The total cost to make this meal (minus the olive oil, vinegar and spices since most people usually have those on hand in their pantries) comes to $24.  A similar salad with chicken from a local takeout restaurant costs $9.50 per person, bringing the total to $38 (for a family of four).  That’s a savings of $14.

salad

 Next, is a recipe for Chicken Taquitos that I love.  Again, they’re easy to make and they’re always a hit with my kids.  This recipe calls for shredded chicken, but I usually use ground chicken breast.  Where it calls for dairy, I use low-fat versions to save on fat and calories.   Try using whole wheat tortillas for extra fiber.  I serve these with a veggie side, something that’s easy to prepare and in season.  Right now steamed aspargus is perfect!  The cost to make this meal (minus the spices–cumin, chili power and garlic powder) is $26.  The cost for a similar dish with a side of refried beans and rice (which adds extra calories and sodium) from our favorite Mexican takeout is $11.99 per entree, a total of $47.96 for a family of four.  You end up saving $21.96.

taquitos

By cooking your own meals at home only twice a week your saving almost $40, not to mention the better nutrition you’re providing yourself and your family.  Trust me, it’s well worth that little bit of extra time.  Plus, it’s a great way to get the entire family involved.  Kids are much more likely to eat what they’ve been involved in preparing!  And, who knows what you can do with the extra money you’ll have at the end of the month …did someone say “shoe shopping?”  :)

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