Here's our guide to eating home cooked food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Woman cooking

We all know the benefits of a home cooked meal. When you make something from scratch it’s usually healthier and easier on the wallet too. Whilst it seems like a no brainer, cooking for yourself can be easier said than done. Too tired? No time? Nothing in the fridge? Its easy to talk yourself out of that recipe you’ve been meaning to try and into a takeaway faster than you can say uber eats.

You’re not alone. A 2017 report estimated that Australians spend a whopping $129 a month on buying lunch at work. That’s $1,548 a year. Ouch. Not only is it expensive but eating pre-prepared food could be taking a toll on our health too. Even when you order healthy food from a restaurant it’s harder to know exactly what ingredients are in our food, plus portion sizes are often larger than we realise. All of which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

So how can we get more home cooked food on the menu and swerve the temptation of the takeaway? Here’s some helpful tips to get you started.

Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to prep for the week if you stick to the golden rule: keep it simple.

Pre-make some hardboiled eggs and keep them in the fridge so you can grab them on your way out the door. Spoon some yoghurt, oats and fruit into Tupperware for a homemade yoghurt pot that you can eat at your desk. Or even just make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh fruit in the house for a fuss free breakfast on the go.

If you’re in need of a heartier breakfast, why not pre-make a frittata that you can slice up for the week? Add veggies, salmon and feta for a Mediterranean take on breakfast that won’t cost you precious time in the morning.

Lunch

If you’re working prepping lunch every day can feel like an extra bit of life admin that you just don’t have time for.

Instead put together a few dishes that you can keep in the fridge and put together to make a healthy salad bowl. Perfect for lunches that feel varied and interesting. Best of all, you can make them all on a Sunday afternoon and reap the benefits throughout the week.

Chop some veggies and roast with oil, garlic and seasoning. Toss some cooked rice with pumpkin, rocket and tomato. Pre-make a frittata with loads of yummy greens and parmesan. Stir up some lentils with sundried tomatoes and feta – the world is your oyster! Store them all in the fridge and then, in the morning, simply spoon a bit of each into your lunchbox.

You'll save yourself some time in the mornings and keep your packed lunch interesting and varied - a double win!

Dinner

After a long, busy day it’s easy to be tempted by the thought of grabbing dinner on the way home or ordering in from your favourite restaurant. Again, this is where keeping it simple comes in useful. No one wants to be slaving over a complicated dish for hours.

Instead, why not try a healthy tray bake? Grab a baking dish and load it with fresh veggies of your choice and top it with protein. Try some sliced leeks, spring onions and broccoli with some salmon fillets on top. Drizzle the whole thing in lemon juice and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes and dinner is served. You could even make double portions and that’s lunch for tomorrow sorted too.

Struggling for inspiration? We’ve got you covered with our 5 easy dinners to cook your way through the week.

And finally

Whilst it’s great to try to eat home cooked food and avoid eating out, it’s also important to give yourself a break and enjoy the occasional treat. Even starting slowly and replacing one of your meals a week with a homecooked option could improve your health. If you need a bit of motivation – why not join our “Make it at home” challenge on the Live Better App? You could earn points by swapping out processed food for home cooked meals.

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