By Carolyn Malcoun , January 3, 2011 - 10:39am
Believe me, I understand that there are a million excuses to get out of making dinner. I’ve got a million of them myself. Just last week I had a frustrating day of work, and it was my responsibility to make dinner since my husband, Dan, came home from work and walked the dog. When I whined that I didn’t want to make dinner as he sashayed out the door, he said, “Fine, order a pizza then.” Mmmm, pizza.
While the whole idea was really tempting, I wanted to eat something healthier. So I sucked it up and made just about the fastest dinner I could throw together with ingredients in our pantry and fridge. It was quick, healthy and tasted great, and we didn’t have to spend any extra cash.
For every excuse you can think of to get out of making dinner, there’s a way to make it less painful. Here are the top excuses to get out of making dinner and solutions for when you feel those excuses finding their way to the tip of your tongue.
Excuse: I don’t have enough time.
Let’s start with this one because I’m sure it’s an excuse we’re all more than familiar with. Even though I’m working part-time from home, I’m still plenty busy doing stuff like housework, grocery shopping, laundry and walking the dog. It all adds up, and on the busiest of days, I sure don’t feel like I have enough time to get a healthy meal on the table!
Busted: Stove to Table Dinners in Less Time Than Takeout 
Instead of resorting to pizza delivery or my neighborhood Thai restaurant, I make sure that I shop for a few 20-minute dinner recipes each week (Crab Cake Burgers, recipe below, is one of our favorites!). That way, I can have a healthy dinner on the table in less time than it would take me to call and pick up a takeout order.
Excuse: But I don’t wanna make dinner. (Best said in a whiny voice.)
I know that since it’s gotten dark at, like, 4 p.m., I’d much rather curl up on the couch and veg after work than make dinner.
Busted: Slow-Cooker Dinners That Cook Themselves 
Although I often feel like a total slug in the evening, I’m pretty highly motivated in the morning. I like to harness that energy and get dinner going in the slow cooker before I settle in to work for the day. Bonus: Lots of slow-cooker recipes make plenty of servings, which means leftovers for lunch the next day or another meal during the week!
Excuse: It’s easier to go out to eat where all the picky eaters in my family can pick whatever they want.
Not a problem for me yet, but I have plenty of friends and family members who have to struggle with things like a husband who won’t eat vegetables (true story) or kids who will only eat “white” foods.
Busted: Recipes Your Whole Family Will Love 
Have your pickiest eaters help you plan the menu for the week—these recipes are a great starting point.
Excuse: Fast food is cheaper.
I thought this was true but was shocked when the bill for two value meals at a fast-food restaurant recently came to nearly $20.
Busted: Recipes to Eat Well for Less 
Twenty dollars? I was like, seriously? For that? I can make a much more delicious, healthy and satisfying meal for $20—or even less—with these budget-friendly recipes and money-saving tips.
Excuse: I hate meal planning.
Yeah. Meal planning can be tough. What vegetable should I serve with that? Can I plan a satisfying dinner that’s low enough in calories that I can still enjoy a glass of wine or dessert without killing my diet?
Busted: A Month of Healthy Meals 
Let EatingWell do it for you. Our meal plans, designed by EatingWell’s nutrition staff, take the guesswork out of what to cook. Just pick a calorie level and—voila!—breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack planned for 4 weeks.