Eco-friendly (and Budget-friendly) Alternatives to Takeout

Like many tightwads and environmentalists, I am full of contradictions.  Joy confessed to loving take-out, and I’ve got to admit we’re guilty, too.  Obviously both eating at restaurants and ordering food to go costs much more than making homemade meals from fresh ingredients.  Going to restaurants might not be that bad for the environment, but takeout involves paper or plastic bags, napkins, and containers.

I blame our takeout habit on the baby.  While we used to eat out even more than we do now, these days we have to stay home in the evening hours so our daughter can sleep.  What I want to avoid is what I will call “unmindful takeout.”  Sometimes we don’t even want it, but we end up getting it because we failed to plan ahead.  So how can parents who want to save money and keep several takeout containers from the landfill deal with hectic nights when no one wants to cook?