UNITED STATES—I made a pact with myself last week that I was going to head to the grocery store and cook dinner EVERY single day for the next week. Yes, I know this is something many Americans do on a constant basis, but for many of us it is extremely hard to commit to. You always have that day or two where you want something quick and fast, which means many of us turn to takeout. This absolutely holds true when it comes to the weekend, particularly Fridays and Saturdays.

With that said, I started to think in my mind exactly what types of meals I wanted to cook. However, in doing that the cost of groceries can become pricey so I changed the approach to making sure I had some proteins, veggies, fruits and basic staples because it allows one to be creative in the kitchen. That is my goal in the kitchen: be creative, eat something satisfying and something healthy. That is the thing I have come to realize about cooking vs. takeout: one you get satiated easier the other not much. There is a reason they call it fast-food: it makes you full quick, but you don’t get satiated in the process.

So just off the cusp, I don’t eat red meat very often if at all so that was off the table, so I’m more of a turkey person (ground lean turkey breast if we’re being exact), I love chicken, and I eat minimal seafood. I will admit I’m not a big fan of seafood, I never have been and if I eat it I prefer it to be fried which I know is not the healthiest America. However, the food was purchased and I spent a lot about $120 to be exact. I had plenty of proteins including chicken, turkey, tilapia, corned beef, lots of veggies, beans, fruits (I’m a big smoothie drinker and juicer) and kitchen staples, milk, eggs, butter, bread, you know.

That might be my biggest weakness, bread. I love bread with a meal, but I’ve found a way to curb it by focusing on whole wheat instead of white bread which I think is very important people. So Friday I cooked tilapia with jasmine rice and sugar snap peas. Saturday I had chicken wings with French Fries, Sunday, I had leftovers, Monday I made a killer turkey chili, I also cooked a corned beef, chicken breast with peas, lemon and linguine and then I ended the week with homemade chicken quesadillas.

Yes, it’s a ton of fun and I mean a ton of fun cooking in the kitchen. I have come to the realization I don’t have to grocery shop with the intention of a specific dish I want to make, I just have to get the staples and experiment in the kitchen. Do you know what I learned? I saved a ton and I mean a ton of money. I wasn’t spending $20-$30 a day for takeout and still be hungry after eating a meal. There is a give and take when it comes to food preparation, cooking and eating in general.

Now am I putting down things in a notebook of what I’m cooking and what day I’m cooking it? No, I have it in my head, but at the same time, I’m trying to make that adjustment to focusing on eating better, saving money and feeling better about what I’m eating without feeling guilty in the process people.  The thing about committing to cooking is saying it is one thing, but actually doing it is another thing. If you put it out there in the universe make it happen.