By Kadejah Brathwaite, Intern
The disadvantages of buying fast food every week are difficult to understand until you see your weekly spending report on your banking app. In fact, the average American spends $1,200 on fast food every year. Conscious spending has been one of my top priorities lately, so I have been focusing on how I can save money by cooking at home.
The most difficult part about having a busy work and school schedule is finding time to cook something I actually enjoy. After too many packs of instant Ramen noodles, I said, “Enough is enough.” I desired to cook food that was healthy but wouldn’t leave me feeling like I only ate one piece of kale. I found some quick and easy meals to prepare that are good for me and my wallet, and a formula for making appetizing options.
Make it colorful
Stuffed peppers are one of the fastest meals to make when you’re in a hurry. I pack the peppers with ground turkey meat which is lean and adds protein. I mix in spinach, my favorite superfood because it has loads of nutrients that benefit the skin, bones and hair. The bright red and yellow colors mixed in with green will surely have you feeling like a chef. Tip: Stuffed peppers last up to five days if stored properly in the refrigerator.
Make it flavorful
Because of my Caribbean heritage, I was exposed at an early age to different mixtures of spices and seasoning. Jerk chicken and rice are some foods I grew up eating, so when I finally learned how to make it myself, I couldn’t stop. I love using white rice, because it tastes great and gives me the proper fiber intake that my body needs. The best part about this dish is that the leftovers taste even better which makes for a delicious lunch at work that even your coworkers will want to share.
Make it fun
Taco salads are a great way to spruce up lettuce by adding thoughtful toppings that blend well with other ingredients. I add a crunchy texture to my taco salad by using tortilla strips to accompany jalapeños, avocados and tomatoes. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or even take long to cook, so spend less than 10 minutes in the kitchen and you’ll have a funky salad for your midday meal.
Before I became intentional about making my own lunch, I visited the drive-thru at least three or four days out of the week. So, the next time you’re wondering how to save money, start in your kitchen.