It took me a while to decide what I was giving up for Lent, but I finally decided to give up eating out for 40 days. I also thought this would be a good way for me to determine how much I was really spending on food “outside” of our home.
This process required me to assess how much food I needed to buy at the grocery store for the week or two. This is the hardest part for me. I can anticipate how much food I am going to eat in a week, but figuring that out for my son and husband is a different story. AND the fact that hubby gave up eating red meat also for 40 days, really limited my purchases.
But here are the take away lessons that I learned from this sacrifice:
1. I have really learned “portion control” while cooking and eating at home. When you are basing everything on a budget, you are less likely to “biggie size” your plate.
2. I have become very creative with my side dishes. Since hubby gave up red meat, we are basically eating skinless chicken, ground turkey, and fish. Thus, my sides had to be fabulous to compensate for using the same protein in almost every meal. I have acquired a taste for broccoli with cheese sauce, sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, etc.
3. My son loves to spend time with me in the kitchen and we eat meals together more instead of eating in the car after leaving the drive-thru. He is excited to see what is going to be on his plate. He may not always like it, but I do make him eat at least 50% of it.
4. I feel better about myself now that I take the time to prepare a meal for my family. It really is investing in your family when your prioritize meal time.
5. The most important thing that I gained is ENERGY! I don’t feel as bloated or sluggish as when I was eating out at least 3-4 times per week. It is amazing what a simple change can do.
I have yet to really sit down to determine how much money I have saved, but just eye-balling it, I believe our family has saved at least $35 dollars a week. Will I keep this up after the 40 days are over, probably not….BUT, I do have a new found appreciation for investing in my family and WILL NOT go back to eating out 3-4 times per week. I will cut that back significantly and build upon what I have already learned.