A recent Gallup poll on grocery spending reveals that on average, American families pay out $151 weekly for groceries.
It may come as a surprise, but this is actually down from the $234 per week average cost of groceries back in 1967 (after adjusting prices and incomes for inflation.) In fact, despite recent news reports warning us of rising food costs, our grocery bills in 2013 are the lowest they’ve ever been since this data has been tracked according to Gallup and similar statistical reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS).
But not everyone is spending less. When asked how much their family spends on grocery each week, 30 percent of shoppers reported spending more than $200 weekly, and one in 10 said they spent more than $300 per week.
However food costs shake out for families, cooking meals at home seems to be on the decline. Fewer Americans report eating at home than at any time since 1989. More than any other country, the U.S. seem to be losing interest in cooking at home regularly, and a large number who do cook only do so on special occasions and holidays.
Some of us are unsure of what to cook, or our ability to make dinner without a microwave. We view cooking as drudgery, something to be avoided; when it can’t be avoided, cooking is still considered a chore that should be completed quickly, with as little enjoyment as possible. But the truth is, with a little practice and some simple ideas for dinner, there is no reason anyone can’t easily prepare recipes for dinner or any meal.
Below are some of the main reasons people give for not cooking, along with some solutions:
1. It takes too much time. Not only does shopping take a lot of time – 47 minutes per day on average – preparing, cooking, and cleaning up take up almost another two and half hours on average each day, according to the BLS. And then there’s the time we spend just thinking about what to cook. Fortunately, apps like SuChef make it easier than ever beat the curve by helping you plan ahead, shop less, and prepare quick recipes for yourself or your family.
2. I don’t know how to cook. Knowing how to cook is overrated. Recipe directions for millions of dishes are readily available online. Some recipes have just a few ingredients, and the results are flavorful and healthy. If you can read, you can follow a recipe. If you have a stove, you can cook. Really, that’s all you’ll ever need to put together meals that appeal to everyone.
3. You don’t like to cook. Believe it or not, few people like to cook – but most of us love to eat. If you examine the reasons you don’t like to cook – it takes too much time (see #1), or you think you’re not a good cook (see #2), try practicing. Start with recipes that have five ingredients or less and build little successes from a few basic dishes. You may surprise yourself with how easy cooking can be and how good at it you actually are. Controlling what you put in your food is a great reward – it doesn’t have to be fancy, just the basics.