Eat-In Day

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This recipe was a spin on the Banana Bread Breakfast Bake

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Instead of using corn muffin mix, I used a combination of 1/2 cup oats and 1/4 cup blueberry pancake mix.  I also added in a tablespoon of chia seeds!

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I love breakfast bakes because they remind me of a (healthy) muffin and are so easy.  I just mix the ingredients, pop the baby ramekin in, shower and do my morning thing, and ta-da!  Breakfast without the work.

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Eat-In Day Challenge

 

Now, I am not brave enough to challenge myself to Eat-In Month (or even Eat-In Week), but I am going to do an Eat-In Day challenge.  :)  Lately, I’ve been buying something every day, whether it’s an entire meal or just a coffee.  We’ve adjusted the budget accordingly, but there are still other ways I’d prefer to spend this cash.  So today – just for today (trying not to set myself up for failure – I am eating in, all day!

 

I fall prey to eating out when I get really busy – I need to get better about planning ahead and grocery shopping.  Also, sometimes I just need to WAIT until I get home.  Do I REALLY need that Starbucks coffee?  Probably not.

 

Do you eat a lot of meals out?  Why?

{ 139 comments }

 

  • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty February 9, 2011, 9:06 am

    Good Morning! This looks amazing!! I love this idea. Definitely going to try this tomorrow morning. Thanks for the idea.

    • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty February 9, 2011, 9:07 am

      Oh, and I eat at home alot. I have absolutely no common sense in restaurants. I leave my willpower at the door, it seems.

      • Emily G. February 9, 2011, 9:36 am

        You and me both! My favorite place to eat is a local Mexican joint and I can eat my weight (and that’s a lot!) in chips and salsa. lol

        • bakingnbooks February 9, 2011, 1:44 pm

          My downfall too. I don’t go out often but when I do with friends, it’s usually “trouble” because there are usually a couple of expensive drinks, and then just a whole smorga-bord of food you “have” to have because it’s there 😉 Plus friends can be bad influences.

          Every since my money budget has gotten so tight though, I’m a lot more conscious. A coffee a day adds up over time!!!…but I still a few Starbucks 😉

  • jen @ taste life February 9, 2011, 9:07 am

    Honestly, I eat practically no meals out. I don’t drink coffee, so never got into that habit, and I just don’t feel like I have enough extra income to spend it on eating out. I do hit the grocery store way too often, though! My sweetheart has been out of town for the past five weeks, and I think I bought one meal out the whole time! I did go to lunch with my mom a few times, but she paid 🙂

    Also, I love, love, love to plan. I love packing my lunch for the next day. I love planning on what I’ll have for dinner, so it’s easy and fun for me to stay away from going out to eat. Also, the options in my small town kinda suck.

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 9, 2011, 9:17 am

      Wow, I’m pretty much exactly the same.
      Even most of my date nights are eat-in.

      I just really like cooking!

    • June February 9, 2011, 1:32 pm

      i too am the same way! Yes sometimes I splurge on something in the cafeteria even when I brought my food for the day, but sometimes i underestimate my level of hunger that i might have.

      i wasnt always this way, but for the past couple of years i have been.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow February 9, 2011, 9:08 am

    Eating out is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂 It just means good times, friends, new things, and new places. But we don’t do it terribly often. Living in Boston becomes very very expensive when one eats out all the time!

    And we all know that a home cooked meal feels much better in the body!!

  • Mary (Sisters Running the Kitchen) February 9, 2011, 9:09 am

    sometimes i eat out or stop at starbucks only because the temptation is there/more convenient. I guess I tend to eat out on days when I do not plan ahead for my meals.

  • Lizzy @ runbakerace February 9, 2011, 9:10 am

    When I lived in NYC I used to eat out all the time. It was too hard to cook in a teeny tiny studio apartment. Now, living in NJ, the fiance and I cook all the time. I do always buy a DD coffee before work. Good challenge 🙂

  • Caroline February 9, 2011, 9:11 am

    I just started living alone for the first time about a month ago, and disciplining myself to not eat out frequently has been a challenge. I love to cook, but cooking for one is hard to figure out. I’ve found that going to the grocery multiple times a week is helpful- only getting enough produce for a couple of days helps me not over-buy and I don’t tire as easily with what’s in my fridge! I appreciate your recipes because they are easy to adjust to just one person and they usually don’t contain very many ingredients.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Thanks Caroline!! I love one-person recipes too 🙂

  • aubrey @ italktofood February 9, 2011, 9:13 am

    As a college student, not really.

    Howevever, most of the money I save and spend is for going out to eat. My favorite thing is to try a new restaurant. Unfortunately, a culinary student I tend to have expensive taste in food (pther than indian buffets and falafel).

    So I came up with this rule: I don’t order food that I could probably make myself at home.
    I only order food that is a specialty of the restaurant, unique cut of meat, special type of fish or a technique I haven’t tried yet.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 3:59 pm

      That’s a good rule – I likey!

  • Michelle February 9, 2011, 9:14 am

    I eat out a TON on the weekends and challenge myself to eat in and bring lunch to work as much as possible Monday-Friday. I ate a bagel this morning because I was out of oats and wouldn’t settle for anything else in my cabinets. (It was totally just an excuse to have a bagel). 🙂

  • Marie-JourneytoBodyZen February 9, 2011, 9:15 am

    I rarely eat breakfast or lunch out nor do I buy coffees/drinks out. But when I do it is such a treat! 🙂 I usually eat dinner out with the husband about 1-2 times a week.

  • Stephanie@Thorns Have Roses February 9, 2011, 9:17 am

    We eat at home for the most part because we hate to waste things. We still usually eat out at least once a week though.

  • Katie February 9, 2011, 9:17 am

    I am a Starbucks Gold Card holder. They know me, by name, and drink order at 5 locations here. I’m pretty sure that this has become a problem. 🙂 They need to make a Starbucks Anonymous

    But I justify my addiction by not shopping (too much) or eating out.

    • Tracey February 9, 2011, 10:05 am

      Haha…I’m right there with you! I go on my lunch breaks and rotate among 3 Starbucks locations, yet they still know me. 🙂 I went to order a Vivanno the other day and the girl had to put the hot cup back down as she said, “Oh…really?” because it wasn’t my usual. But my bigger problem is that I’m addicted to their Rice Krispy treats. 🙂

      • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 3:59 pm

        Hahah I feel this way about my sushi place. When the manager runs out to say hello, there’s a problem.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 9, 2011, 9:18 am

    I like the sounds of these breakfast bakes! I’m not a big eating-out person (unless I’m trying a new restaurant purposely for one of my Try Something New Tuesday features or something) so I tend to make meals myself. Good luck with the challenge – I bet you’ll save a lot of $$!

  • VeggieGirl February 9, 2011, 9:18 am

    I eat-in mostly. Eat out for special occasions and for fun with my best friend 🙂

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl February 9, 2011, 9:19 am

    I eat-in mostly. A couple of years ago when we were trying to pay off a credit card, we broke down our spending for a month and were blown away by how much we spent on little odds and ends. It really added up, so we started carting around pre-planned snacks to save $$$ ::)

  • Parita@myinnershakti February 9, 2011, 9:19 am

    It kind of ebbs and flows for me. There are def. times when I eat out more (busy at work, friends in town, etc.) I start feeling gross after eating out 3 days in a row so I make a conscious effort to eat at home. The one rule I do try to abide by at all time is breakfast at home! That way I start the day right, and I can make better choices throughout the day.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} February 9, 2011, 9:20 am

    I don’t eat out a lot of meals these days. With a two year old, it’s just easier to stay home and cook. 🙂 Good luck with your eat-in day!

  • Emily February 9, 2011, 9:21 am

    You can totally do it. I find it really hard to not buy something every day. I was good about bringing my lunch to work for a while but I basically just stalked the office freezer with veggie burgers and brought bread/cheese in every week to make sandwiches. Now I’m so burned out on the v-burgers, I think I could never eat another one again and be happy.

  • ashleigh February 9, 2011, 9:22 am

    For the most part I eat most of my meals in because I find that I can make things better than what I eat out. Plus I really like to know exactly what’s in my food. Oh, and truthfully, I save SO MUCH MONEY making my own coffee and bringing bfast + lunch to work. Sometimes I go days without buying a single thing!

  • Amanda (Eating Up) February 9, 2011, 9:22 am

    On one hand, I can make my own coffee at home. There are times though that I want to buy coffee somewhere. It makes me happy some days!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 9, 2011, 9:23 am

    We hardly ever eat out and now we do it mostly as a treat for the kids. My husband and I both have food allergies and intolerances (his is more serious with celiac) and honestly, going out is a huge pain in the butt. Even Starbucks is boring for me now since I can’t have soy or dairy. Good luck today Caitlin! I know you can do this!

  • Freya February 9, 2011, 9:24 am

    I never eat meals out (i’ve had ONE meal out this year, and before that it’d been a 6month no-meal-out period! Bar Whole Foods, once) cos a) can’t afford it :p and b) there are so few restaurants near me, it’s quite a thing to actully go to one. We normally only go out if it’s a birthday, or something worth celebrating. Lucikly, birthday season in my fam is approaching :p

  • Jazz February 9, 2011, 9:24 am

    We eat out once a month, but I do get a coffee on weekdays and I don’t care! I know they say you can save so much money/year but honestly, it’s worth it to get a small treat every day to look forward to!

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life February 9, 2011, 9:25 am

    The husband and I are definitely guilty of eating out way more than we should. We’re always setting a budget for ourselves, but we have such a hard sticking to it.

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing February 9, 2011, 9:25 am

    We eat out 2-3 nights a week. I just enjoy the practice of eating out. I like the culture around it. I don’t know, I enjoy it and we can afford it right now, so I’m all for it 🙂

  • Claire February 9, 2011, 9:25 am

    I have been obsessed with anything banana-bread lately :)Another breakfast of yours I’ll have to try someday!

  • Jess (Daly Authenticity) February 9, 2011, 9:25 am

    Honestly, my husband would love living in your house 🙂 He loves going out to eat! But personally, I’ve found that we save a ton of money when we eat in, and I just really enjoy the whole experience of planning, shopping for, and preparing a healthy balanced meal! We probably only eat out about once or twice a month! If friends are going out for dinner, we always join them, but when it’s just us two, we usually opt to eat in!

  • LIz February 9, 2011, 9:25 am

    I’ve been trying to cut back on eating out. We were eating out a lot during the holidays because it was easier and less stressful not to plan, but I was also feeling pretty crappy from all the salt/sugar/fat content. So since then, we’ve tried to cut back but it’s still so fun to eat out! And socially, many of our friends like to eat out (who doesn’t??) so it happens.

  • Johanna B February 9, 2011, 9:26 am

    I eat out so seldom that I hardly think about it. I have Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten so it’s hard to find restaurants that are safe for me. It’s easier (after over a year of learning how) to eat at home.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:00 pm

      There’s a great gluten-free restaurant in Orlando 🙁 Wish you were there!

  • Amanda February 9, 2011, 9:26 am

    We eat at home most of the time. Sometimes we have a dinner out, maybe once every other week or once a month, but mostly it’s homecooked meals. I prefer homecooked because I feel I make better tasting food then I can order out. Not to mention by raising our own meat, eggs and gardening/canning, we have a LOT of food. I feel guilty “wasting” what is in our cabinets when we know know we have so much.

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) February 9, 2011, 9:28 am

    I almost never eat out. I find much more joy in spending time in the kitchen and preparing my own meal. It allows me to control what goes into my food, and be a creative!

  • Kim @ girlevolving February 9, 2011, 9:29 am

    Since we’ve gotten really serious about paying back student loans as fast as possible, we’ve tightened our budget. So eating out is now a lot less. I don’t mind though – it definitely makes it a treat when we do it!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt February 9, 2011, 9:30 am

    We used to eat out all the time, but now it is just a special treat. Cooking at home and packing our lunches has saved us a boatload of money!

  • LindseyAnn February 9, 2011, 9:33 am

    Unfortunately, yes. 🙁 There are 2 causes for this problem: 1. my fiance and I have SUCH different eating preferences that often a restaurant winds up being the easier option to satisfy us both, and 2. He never really learned to cook, so during college he fell back on eating out, and now that he’s finally done we have to break that habit.
    I think I’m going to try to pull off an “eat-in week” for us soon and see how that goes. 🙂

  • JenATX February 9, 2011, 9:37 am

    I eat out too when I get busy :-/ If I’m too tired after work + work out I will skip the store & just buy lunch the next day. Dinner & breakfast are easy to eat in for but lunch is tough between work & class

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 9, 2011, 9:38 am

    I eat most meals in — it is cheaper and when I eat at a restaurant I usually start craving junk and then I feel ill afterward. Plus we are working really hard on saving money so eating at home is an easy way for us to save money.

    You can do Caitlin!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jess February 9, 2011, 9:39 am

    I plan out a week of meals, and buy groceries, so we usually eat-in, but if I’m working late or I didn’t defrost something in time, we’ll pick up fast food. Planning really helps cut down on that though, so it’s been good for our pocket books and our waists! My vice is bar food. I’ve never met a $8 bowl of queso I didn’t want to devour.

  • Camille February 9, 2011, 9:40 am

    We don’t eat many meals out because it is so darn expensive. We usually save meals out for special occasions, which makes restaurants seem even more special. Plus, when I eat at restaurants, I usually feel somewhat sick afterward. I like knowing what it in my food!

  • Margaret February 9, 2011, 9:42 am

    Saving money is a huge reason. But so is making eating out feel special. In New England, healthy options for dining out seem few and far between. And when they are available, I could make them at home for a fraction of the price. My husband and I are planning to pay off the car by the end of the year. I narrowed down my “eating out” treats to one coffee or latte per week and one dinner or meal out with my husband. Makes for a FANTASTIC date night. As a trade off, we have more fun with cooking at home and seek out new recipes. It’s STILL more cost effective, even if the grocery bill is $10 more than usual. I would encourage anyone to do it!!

  • Jen February 9, 2011, 9:45 am

    I’m forced to eat out a lot, because I spend upwards of 12 hours on campus much of the week and I have no access to a refrigerator, so bringing meals from home is challenging. I always eat breakfast at home and if I have time, I drive off-campus to a nearby grocery store for some fruits and veggies, but other than that, it’s instant soup and dry cereal. I have to get a more sane schedule next semester!

  • Whitney February 9, 2011, 9:45 am

    I usually save my eating out for the weekends. I pack my lunch for work because I can eat healthier. My co workers eat out every single day for lunch and I don’t see how they do that. I also find that saving the eating out for the weekends gives me something to look forward to and serves as a good splurge! Can’t wait to hit up a swanky restaurant this weekend for Valentine’s Day! 🙂

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:04 pm

      Ooo yes, Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 9, 2011, 9:46 am

    That’s one good thing about living in Altoona– there are hardly ANY restaurants!! Well, there are a lot of chains, but very few restaurants that we actually want to spend $$$ on. We save money and are healthier for it!

  • Cyclist Kate February 9, 2011, 9:49 am

    I very rarely eat out…maybe once every other week or so (though I do get coffee at least a couple of times each week). I am pretty good at planning ahead and making big batches of stuff (right now I have home-made tamales and some Indian lentil soup in the freezer to pull out as needed), and I’m not above smearing some pb on some bread and calling it dinner :). I think what contributes to this is that there aren’t really any great, healthy takeout places convenient, so I’ve just gotten into the habit of planning ahead.

  • Alex @ Healing Beauty February 9, 2011, 9:52 am

    The breakfast bake looks delicious!

    I tend to want to eat out a lot when I’m stressed or anxious about something. It’s not so much that I don’t want to cook, I think it’s just that it’s nice to go out and have a little more atmosphere and be around other people instead of being stuck at home for a meal. I also have tried to replace my starbucks with tea at home (or in a to-go mug) or a homemade healthy smoothie. It’s a lot cheaper and gives me more energy.

  • KitKat @ Pursuit of Happiness February 9, 2011, 9:57 am

    I am very guilty of this! I have a bad habit of running around like crazy and then just buying a quick breakfast or lunch instead of making it to bring along with me. (It’s especially silly because I tend to buy what I could easily make – I just don’t.) I also find that at least 2 times a week I eat dinner out and that’s for the social aspect. It seems to be the easiest way to meet up and catch-up with friends (and find a convenient location for all). While I don’t want to give that up, I think I could make changes to not eat out as often!

  • Melissa R. February 9, 2011, 9:58 am

    We eat out a lot–never breakfast or coffee but I go out to lunch a couple of times a week with friends and out to dinner probably 4x week. Luckily we are able to afford it otherwise we would not be doing it. I actually tend to eat healthier out and since it’s not a big treat, I don’t go crazy.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 9, 2011, 9:58 am

    We usually only eat out maybe 2 meals a week…and that’s if we get something like Subway for dinner one night. typically though we eat in. Gotta with only one full income and 2 kids! LOL

  • Kris February 9, 2011, 10:02 am

    We eat out very little. Most of the time I don’t think restaurants offer the quality that I can make at home (and I don’t trust the clean factor of restaurant kitchens). We eat more balanced and healthier. We save tons of money since DH brings his coffee, snacks and lunch. I guess it helps that I’m a good cook, and I enjoy it — it’s very relaxing for me. I even make my own killer black bean burgers.

  • Emily February 9, 2011, 10:03 am

    That breakfast bake looks really good 🙂 I am pretty good about eating in, mostly because different tummy troubles and intolerances make it easier for me to prepare my own food then buy food on the go. I am definitely a huge lover of going out for dinner though 🙂

  • lindsay February 9, 2011, 10:03 am

    I prefer eating in b/c I love to cook and eat healthy, but also b/c that way when I do eat out its even more special! My biggest failures with eating out are buying coffee/lattes, usually do this every other day during the work week and getting take out for dinner with my fiance. Since we don’t live together yet, its hard for me to cook at his place and so take out is just easier. But, I bring my lunch every day and always cook dinner for myself when I am home…

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:05 pm

      Coffee is oh so tempting…

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 9, 2011, 10:04 am

    I am too lazy to eat out. The lines in downtown DC drive me batty.

  • Kara February 9, 2011, 10:04 am

    We never eat out, unless it’s a lunch on the weekend. We do however order pizza quite often, which is pretty much the same thing. The only reason we don’t eat out is the baby’s bedtime, so it’s not some conscious effort on my part. I’d be more likely to eat out now if I could because I’m more tired, and the last thing I want is more dishes to wash.

    Plus, if I don’t cook dinner, then I don’t have an easy lunch for the next day (yes, my food choices are that exciting, reason number 680398 that I don’t blog my food 🙂

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith February 9, 2011, 10:04 am

    These days I rarely eat out, but that’s mostly because I live in the middle of nowhere! The closest starbucks is a 15 minute drive, so at that point I could have just made the coffee myself.

  • Tabitha February 9, 2011, 10:08 am

    Take one day at a time goals, that seems less stressful for me. I always have Amy’s Mexican bowls in freezer if I don’t feel like cooking, especially helpful for lunch. they are pricey but cheaper then eatting out and I try to buy them on sale.

  • Kiran February 9, 2011, 10:09 am

    We rarely eat out (I planted this in my head that Orlando doesn’t offer great dining experiences). It’s an excuse that I try to avoid spend more $$$ than we should on eating out 😀 Try it!

  • Britney February 9, 2011, 10:11 am

    I eat in all the time – ocassionally I have dinner out, but I usually have dinner at home, and I bring a lunch to work. I think it’s a habit – I lived at home for a few months after college and my parents ate in just about every night. My dad also packed my work lunch for me so when I moved out I was in the habit of bringing a lunch and started making my own. I’m also extremely cheap, and eating in is usually at least half the cost (if not even cheaper than that!) than buying the equivalent out – a sandwich or something “fancier” for dinner (I am NOT a gourmet cook).

    This may have even started in high school – my parents let me buy lunch at school, but the food options were pretty unappetizing (unless I wanted to eat a soft pretzel or mozzarella sticks) so I’d brown bag food, unless of course it was pizza day. 🙂

    • Britney February 9, 2011, 10:12 am

      Also, 99% of the time I eat out it’s with someone else. I almost never buy take-out for just myself. 🙂

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations February 9, 2011, 10:12 am

    I used to eat out ALL THE TIME! When I was a student, I think I had less respect for the money because I knew another loan check would be coming at the beginning of the next semester. Eating out was like buying groceries… only more costly. Now that I’m earning all of my money (and paying my loans back), I feel differently toward the money. Plus, I’ve also adjusted my views on healthy eating in this time frame too. Home meals are ALWAYS healthier than restaurant meals.

  • Gracie (complicated day) February 9, 2011, 10:14 am

    My work schedule makes it difficult to eat in all the time – I work until 6 several times a week, so dinner can end up being late – but we still only eat out about once a week. I rely on a few staple fast meals (here is a list from my blog – http://complicatedday.blogspot.com/2010/10/foody-friday-you-have-ten-minutes.html) and I use the crock pot a lot. Beans will cook themselves, and if I make a big pot of rice at the beginning of the week all I need to do is reheat! I always bring my lunch because I don’t get a lunch break at work, so leaving to buy something is out of the questions, so in general we do quite well with eating in. We generally eat out once on weekends, and we make it a meal we enjoy, not just a rushed last minute decision. I want to keep thinking of eating out as a treat.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:06 pm

      I need to get on the crock pot bandwagon – we have one!

  • Amanda February 9, 2011, 10:15 am

    I love eating in because I love to cook! It’s always fun to experiment. But I also love eating out. My fiancé and I probably choose a different restaurant every other week to try. Since we live in the cit, there are so many great options. But eating out doesn’t equate to being unhealthy for us! We definitely choose carefully from the menu!

  • Emily February 9, 2011, 10:19 am

    I never eat out. But I think that’s because there’s no where decent to eat out here…small town. Now if I was back in Charlotte – I might have your “problem.”
    I’m able to go home for lunch which I love – and I always have a well-stocked fridge.
    Also, I simply love to cook. It’s one of my favorite things to do with Big Guy (my boyfriend).

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 9, 2011, 10:29 am

    I very rarely eat out – it’s just difficult for me to get a good meal on the go because of my food intolerances. I tend to plan ahead and pack!

  • Jennie @ Designed to be Fit February 9, 2011, 10:31 am

    We mostly eat in because it just doesn’t fit in our budget to go out to eat a lot. I like to cook in bulk and my husband loves leftovers! If we ever feel like “going out” or not cooking, I’ll throw in a frozen Kashi pizza.

  • Quisha February 9, 2011, 10:32 am

    I try not to eat out too much. At work is the worst. There’s a cafe in my building so I don’t even have to go outside. Even when I bring lunch it’s the worst thing to have to resist! Bringing a lunch is good habit. I think once I get back on the exercise bandwagon I’ll feel like filling myself up with the ‘good food’ that I brought from home.

  • Kari @ Human, MD February 9, 2011, 10:34 am

    it totally depends on my schedule, and what rotation I am on for the month! This month has been light, so I’ve been cooking at eating at home, or at least packing lunch. During months when I spend a lot of time at the hospital, I can eat almost every meal in the cafeteria or the Subway in the hospital! It’s SO expensive!

  • sara February 9, 2011, 10:35 am

    My husband and I challenged ourselves to not eat out (or get takeout!) for the month of January. I was seriously shocked at how much money we saved. To make the challenge easier, I made sure to stock up on ingredients for easy meals, and every Sunday I make a huge pot of soup/casserole/etc and put it into mason jars(they are leakproof). We each grab one on the way out the door in the morning, and lunch is taken care of!

    Another thing I do that made this seriously easier is to plan out the meals for the week and make sure I have all the ingredients at home. Just look at the list after work, and whatever sounds the yummiest gets cooked that night!

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:07 pm

      Maybe I should do a one-month challenge too.. but that sounds soooo hard.

  • Laura Ann February 9, 2011, 10:37 am

    We used to eat out once/wk, but since we started this major savings plan about 6 months ago, we changed that to 1-2x/month (and we usually use a Groupon or one of those daily save coupons!). Actually, I limit myself to a weekly spending budget for going out.. That way, if I go out with friends, I might have a drink and an appetizer or something small. I’ll save the rest from my going out funds so that we can have a couple big dinners out each month. It’s tough b/c it’s a lot of planning, but it feels good b/c we know it’ll pay off in the end! Good luck. :o)

    • Laura Ann February 9, 2011, 10:45 am

      Oh, and it also helps that we do potluck-style dinner parties with our friends on a weekly basis! That way we don’t miss out on the social part of going out.

  • Ali @ Ali Runs February 9, 2011, 10:38 am

    I do the same thing. It seems like every time I’m busy I just “need” to go get a coffee or buy a meal. I’ve been trying to get better at that, but like you don’t think I could commit to a whole week (and definitely not month). It’s great that you can recognize that and make your goals accordingly.

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine February 9, 2011, 10:45 am

    I’ve been trying really hard not too and so far it’s working. I pre-plan my meals and tell myself that I need to save money. I want a house, not a hamburger! haha

  • Ashley February 9, 2011, 10:54 am

    I’m at college right now, but when I’m home all I do is eat out. It’s probably not that great for my wallet.

  • Alison February 9, 2011, 10:54 am

    Im shocked at how many people are so good about not eating out! Its making me realize I may have more of a problem than I thought! I used to go out for coffee everyday but I have finally realized that I save soooo much money by making it at home. Lunch (especially) and dinner are a whole ‘nother story, though.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:07 pm

      We could form an eating old support group if you want 🙂

  • Jess February 9, 2011, 10:58 am

    i love this idea caitlin, i need to pick up a mini casserole dish so i can try it out!
    and yes, i struggle with eating out, but i’m trying very hard to have more eat in days as well:D

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist February 9, 2011, 11:06 am

    I used to eat out all the time but now it’s a rare occasion. Part of eating at home is for financial reasons but honestly we mostly eat at home for health reasons. The only way you can really know what’s in your food is to cook it yourself.

  • Heather February 9, 2011, 11:17 am

    I eat out a good number of meals, maybe 3-4 per week. I just like to eat out, I like the social aspect of it, I like that someone else cooks and cleans up, I like trying new restaurants, everything about it. I’m trying not to as much so I can save some money, but it’s something that’s always in my budget.

  • Clare February 9, 2011, 11:34 am

    I wrote a post about this very thing!
    http://www.neverniche.com/2010/11/restaurant-spending-12-month-average.html

    It’s tough but I always try to see the bigger picture. When I want to go out for a $15 veggie burger and beer (plus tip!), I imagine how affordable a quick can of Amy’s soup and some toast would be.

  • Heather February 9, 2011, 11:34 am

    I don’t like eating out, mainly due to a sensitive stomach. I also like to save money and I think I am a pretty decent cook! One cost saving technique I use, is to bring tea bags with me to work/school and go to a coffee shop/break room to get some hot water. Another tip is keeping a snack stash at work/in my school bag, to avoid the need for buying a snack on the go.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 9, 2011, 11:38 am

    Right now, being a college student, I RARELY eat out. I live in an off campus apartment which allows me to cook my own meals. Most of my budget for the week goes towards groceries.

    • Caitlin @ TPL February 9, 2011, 11:46 am

      Completely the same here, although I am guilty of overspending a little on “fun” groceries!

      Caitlin

  • Susan February 9, 2011, 11:41 am

    I live alone + love to cook, so I very rarely eat out. Basically only when people come to visit. And I’m a Diet Mt. Dew fiend, so no Starbucks.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) February 9, 2011, 11:42 am

    We used to eat out a lot more than now, though I like picking up lunch a few times a week.

  • Dynamics February 9, 2011, 11:49 am

    I rarely eat out. After going to the Farmers market I come home and chop and dice most of my veggies and package them up. They last for 3-4 days. I just have to grab and toss in a bowl and I have my salad. BBQ a few chicken breasts and voila. A good portion of my meals for 3-4 days with no fuss. Having a FoodSaver makes things last a lot longer once cut up.

  • megan @ blackberries for jam February 9, 2011, 11:50 am

    I’ve actually been eating out less and less (living in small town Vermont definitely helps – no Starbucks here!). But honestly, I don’t even crave it as much anymore. I used to get to urge to go out to dinner several times a week, but now my husband and I usually go out once a week. There are several great restaurants nearby, but I’ve really just been loving cooking recently. More often than not, my eating out craving is pizza!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks February 9, 2011, 11:54 am

    I feel like I -need- that Starbucks though. It’s my life line.;)

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic February 9, 2011, 11:58 am

    I find my habits change every couple weeks. So I may not eat out at all for 2 weeks straight, then I’ll eat out 3 times in a single week! I try not to eat out often (like you, I’d rather spend that money elsewhere…or save for a house!), but sometimes it just happens, ya know?

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle February 9, 2011, 12:05 pm

    oh man that breakfast bake looks amazing!!!

  • Ashley (The Vegetable Life) February 9, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I moved in with my fiance over a year ago and in an effort to save money to buy the house we now live in we did not eat out… and honestly we probably get a meal out like once week (but I do buy a coffee like 3-4x per week)… we used to eat out like 3-4 meals a week! Now I love to cook!

  • Heather February 9, 2011, 12:10 pm

    Eat in day is perfection – it’s ONE DAY of making ONE DECISION at a time. amen.

  • Anne @thefitbridesmaid February 9, 2011, 12:12 pm

    We’ve been eating out A LOT recently. Part of it is shear laziness (combined with not getting too much at the grocery). Also, my fiance and I can have very different food philosophies (he likes junk and I try to stay healthier), so it’s difficult for us to eat the same meal.

  • Lauren February 9, 2011, 12:16 pm

    The bake looks fantastic!

    I need more Eat in Days. These days, I feel like I don’t have hardly enough.

  • Amber K February 9, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I don’t eat any meals out. It’s a combination of not being able to afford it and not having any healthy/gluten-free friendly restaurants near me. It’s quite a drive to get anywhere good and I usually want food faster than that! (Although I’m surrounded by fast food and chain restaurants! LOL)

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 9, 2011, 12:24 pm

    Very nice! I used to eat out a lot more often but I found that I felt much more bloated and gross the next day because of who knows what! Probably salt.

    I love eating in though because I LOVE cooking.

  • Tracey February 9, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I do eat out (or order in) a lot. It’s basically for convenience. After spending all day at work, sometimes I don’t feel like cooking. I really need to start preping food on the weekends to help make weeknight meals at home easier.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) February 9, 2011, 12:31 pm

    I’m sitting here contemplating what to make for breakfast and your naner bread bake looks delectable!

    I eat in a lot. I like eating out, but find that the portions are usually so huge and I wish I could say that I could just stop, but it’s hard and I tend to eat more than I should. Eating at home makes it a lot easier for me to use better portion control. I also feel like when I eat out I’m getting a lot of stuff I don’t want, like extra sodium & things like that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong or bad about eating out, I just try and keep it to a minimum because that’s what works for me. I also don’t have a crazy busy schedule like Caitlin and that does make it a quite a bit easier to have this be a realistic goal.

  • maribeth February 9, 2011, 12:32 pm

    living in nyc i constantly eat out. i pride myself as a good cook for most of meals, but it’s just so easy to stop at sbucks on the way to work when they’re one on every block or grab a salad for lunch. i eventually felt so guilty about getting coffee in the morning that i gave all starbucks up for lent last year and allowed myself one take-out coffee a week from an independent coffee company.

  • Rebecca February 9, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I find that stocking up at Costco helps prevent us from eating out as much.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:08 pm

      I wish we had one near us! I think there is a Costco in Charlotte but it faaaaaaaaaar away.

  • Kelly February 9, 2011, 12:58 pm

    I am the same way. Because I work in an area with nothing I want to eat, as soon as I’m near a Starbucks or Whole Foods, I find a reason to go at every opportunity. Your breakfast bake reminds me of my baked oatmeal.

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good February 9, 2011, 1:01 pm

    We eat most of our meals in. Where I need to do better is planning and packing snacks when we are out and about. I can wait until we get home for our next meal, but my kids normally eat a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Too often I end up swinging into a grocery store along our way and pick up some granola bars or pretzels or something. I’ll do our budget a favor if I am more diligent about packing snacks. Thanks for the nudge. 🙂

  • Teri @BeePie Runs February 9, 2011, 1:31 pm

    As a family, we rarely eat out. But when Hubby is out of town, we three left at home rarely eat IN. Mostly because I’d rather not have to cook and clean-up just for my kiddos to tell me they don’t like it/aren’t hungry/it tastes funny, whatever. And besides, Hubby gets to eat out when he’s on a work trip, why can’t we?? Although I do try to keep it affordable by sticking to places where kids eat free or are discounted, like Earth Fare on Thursday nights!!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In February 9, 2011, 1:40 pm

    Since starting work full time, I’ve gotten really good about making all my meals at home. I bring breakfast, lunch, and a snack to work and then make dinner when I get home. I usually treat myself to a meal out on Friday Nights though!

  • Amanda February 9, 2011, 1:43 pm

    I’m proud of myself when I manage to eat in for a few days! Score one for saving money! But when I do eat out the boyfriend and I like to go to Wegmans : D I know its a grocery store but they have an awesome array of foods for take-out. Its so much healthier and cost effective than any restaurant. I get my salad/soup/veggie pizza and he get his sub devoid of any vegetable.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:09 pm

      I ate at Wegman’s once during a OB presentation and it was so awesome.

  • KD February 9, 2011, 1:48 pm

    we mostly eat at home. i always bring breakfast and lunch to work (I HATE buying lunch out, for some odd reason). and I usually cook dinner. Friday nights are our ‘no cook’ nights where we pick up chinese or pizza or eat out with friends. we love to go out to eat but usually keep it for social fun, if it’s just the two of us, we’ll stay in. it think it’s mostly because of our dog, though. we hate to leave him AGAIN after leaving him all day long while we are at work. i do buy a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop on my weekEND walks with the dog. it’s my special treat to myself on the weekend, and I LOVE it. plus, it’s supporting a local business and teaches my dog to wait the 4 mins I’m in there (I can see him through the full height glass walls and vice versa so he’s safe, and i get plain drip coffee, i’m in and out in a jiffy!)

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances February 9, 2011, 2:12 pm

    My boyfriend and I eat-in Sunday through Thursday, and usually go out Friday and Saturday nights. Sometimes it’s with friends, sometimes it’s just the two of us, but either way, it makes us feel like we’re having a proper “date” if we go somewhere to eat! We also pack our lunches M-F when we work and we feel like we deserve to eat out on the weekends — even though it costs a little extra.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) February 9, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Being a vegan means that there just aren’t many options to eat out in my area…as a result, I have saved a ton of money by making my own food.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat February 9, 2011, 2:43 pm

    I love the idea of breakfast bakes! I even bought some ramekins a while back specifically for that purpose (well and individual desserts, haha). But I have yet to make any. Hmm…perhaps soon!

    We tend to eat out more on the weekends. During the week we are just too tired to go out and try to keep the kitchen well stocked to get us through Sunday-Thursday at least. I take lunch to work every day. I also drink coffee at work and only do Starbucks or our local coffee joints on the weekends. It does help, I just have to try and not go too crazy on weekends, ha ha 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales February 9, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Good for you for declaring an eat-in day!!! I typically eat-in as much as I can (my funds don’t allow me to eat-out)…otherwise I’d love to eat out more. Working part-time and being in school is really, really tough on the budget. Ryan on the other hand loves to treat me to dinner, so I’m always more than willing to go out to eat whenever he offers! But as for me? I’d have to budget it in if I were going to eat out :/

  • Ali February 9, 2011, 3:59 pm

    We only eat out on special occasions. With a 14 month old it’s easy to eat at home all of the time. Eating out is just plain annoying with her lol

  • elaine! February 9, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I used to eat out every day, almost two meals a day, until a week and a half ago… when I decided to try weekly meal planning, and it was a HUGE success! Seriously. The key is to dedicate at least half a day to making a couple big batch meals, which you then pre-portion out into to-go containers for quick lunches or no-fuss dinners.

    Then for during the week, I plan 2-3 fast meals I can prepare after work, some of which are good for yet more leftovers. Snacks are all grab-and-go items like fruit and nut butter, cheese and crackers, etc.

    If that seems like way too much food for two people, it’s also nice to freeze half of your big batch meals. That way if you’re sick or busy on a cooking day, you still have home-cooked meals to eat. I also gave half of Sunday’s chili to my sister in law, who’s at home with a sick toddler and a sick baby.

    It also makes grocery shopping a lot easier. Once you have your batch meals and mid-week meals ready to go, just put all the ingredients on your shopping list and go grocery shopping. This cuts down on impulse buys when you make a quick trip to the store for, say, eggs, and end up walking out with eggs, a chocolate bar, some flowers, and new hand lotion. 🙂

    I’m planning on writing a blog post about it soon. Fueling myself has resulted in less wasted money, less wasted food, more energy, better runs, and has made it 1,000 times easier to stick to my weight loss plan!

  • elaine! February 9, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Oh, and as far as coffee goes… I’ll go out to SBUX a couple times a month with my boyfriend. But with a French press and one of those Aerolatte thingers, I make a pretty mean soy latte for myself at home! And I’ve started baking healthy bran muffins every week too, so there’s my coffee-and-a-pastry, At Home style.

  • D February 9, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I definitely eat in 99% of the time, at least at this point in my life. It’s easier to eat out when you share a kitchen with a bunch of college students and it’s too gross to cook in, or when your boyfriend is trying to impress you (hehe) but I finally live alone right now and I just don’t see any excuse for spending money on meals out. I NEVER eat out, but I do occasionally buy coffee. I guess I don’t really see how eating out helps when you’re busy? Don’t you have to take extra time out of your day to go out the office and purchase stuff or sit in a restaurant? If I’m swamped with work, I can eat dinner in 15 min, but if I went out to a restaurant with a friend or boyfriend, then that’s 2+ hours? I’m not sure I understand that! A lot of people I work with complain about not having enough money for things, and then they order lunch every day. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous! It takes 30 seconds to throw a carton of soup, an apple and an english muffin into your purse for lunch, or to grab a yogurt and granola bar for breakfast, or whatever. It also takes about 5 minutes to stir fry some veggies and microwave a veggie burger. I can definitely understand not *wanting* to cook, but I don’t buy the ‘eating out/ordering because it saves time’ argument!!

    • Caitlin February 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

      for me it’s more about taking time to relax and not have to do dishes.

      • D February 9, 2011, 4:48 pm

        yep for sure! i’d rather do ANYTHING than do dishes! i wasn’t directing it at YOU though 🙂 just a general rant at people who ‘dont have time’ to cook, but have time to sit at a restaurant or whatever! more like people who say they are ‘too busy’ to cook, you know? but they sit and chat for 30 min at work while they wait for their jimmy johns to arrive…

  • Lisa February 9, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I don’t eat a lot of meals out. I work downtown yet I never eat lunch out. I always pack my lunch. Eat breakfast at home. When it comes to dinner…I eat about 2-3 times a month in a restaurant.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 9, 2011, 6:41 pm

    I actually rarely eat out, other than going for sushi once every week or two. I much prefer my homemade food to the food on campus!

  • sirenjess February 9, 2011, 8:20 pm

    I love to eat out but right now because of our financial situation we can’t. So I eat at home a lot right now. Good luck with your day! You should try a eat in week. I bet you could do it.

  • Julie February 9, 2011, 9:49 pm

    Last month, my bf and I challenged ourselves to an Eat-In month. We made it until Jan. 20th or so. I thought that was pretty good!

    Two tips I have:

    1) Invest in an awesome at home coffee maker. I have a Keurig and it rules. Get different K-Cups or different kinds of coffee and some sweet syrup–just like they use at Starbucks. We have vanilla and cinnamon dolce.

    2) Eating out is an experience and a necessity for me. I am a major foodie! We are back to eating out occasionally, but almost always during Happy Hour. We googled/yelped our area and know at least 4 Happy Hour spots.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) February 9, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Yep, I eat a lot of meals out … because my husband and I are extremely social and love to go out to eat with friends.

  • ashley February 10, 2011, 12:50 am

    We eat out once every two weeks or so- not terribly often. We enjoy it, but enjoy meals at home more. We love to cook!!

  • diana@mymarblerye February 10, 2011, 9:55 am

    honestly I try not to eat out cause you don’t know what you are going to get…something smothered in cheese, dressing, bacon bits, etc. I rather take something to work from home or eat at home…I do “splurge” on the weekends with a meal or two out though. My pantry is a hoarders delight so I try to eat what I have at home!

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy February 15, 2011, 10:04 am

    I ate out a lot prior to marriage nearly two years ago, but due to budget restraints and not so many options except chain restaurants–unless we’re going with someone else or grabbing quick sushi–we don’t eat out.

  • Ally February 18, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I eat out a bit on weekends and get coffee a few times a week, but it doesn’t really bother me because I hardly ever buy my lunch during the work week – I bought it maybe eight times the whole of last year. If you can afford it, enjoy it, and aren’t always getting crap, go for it I say!

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