How to Meal Plan

How to Meal Plan

November 3, 2019 100 By William Morgan


It all seems so simple when you’re a kid:
Friday is pizza day at the school cafeteria,
so on Friday, you eat pizza.
As an adult, planning what to eat and
when can be really tough.
We can eat just about anything.
Woo!
Gas station taquitos all the time!
Can’t tell me what to do, Mom!
But, humans cannot live on gas station taquitos
alone.
Your mom may have had a point when she told you to eat a vegetable every now and then.
Unless you’re a wizard and healthy dinners
just appear on your table–
and if you are, actually, please call me–
try this idea on for size:
Meal planning.
Imagine setting off for a busy work week while
knowing that you’ll have tasty things ready
to cook and eat when you get home from a rough
day.
Meal planning saves you cash money and can
help you make sure that you eat some veggies.
Or live the dream and eat homemade pizza every
day.
Learning how to meal plan is like building
any other good habit:
set yourself up for success and practice until
it’s second nature.
You can find a ton of recipes and apps and
online guides to meal planning- we’ve linked
to a few of our favorites in the doobly-doo.
But meal planning is not just a science.
Meal planning, my friends, is an art.
Here we’ll guide you through the zen of
meal planning.
Step one: grab a pen and paper.
Or wait.
It’s the 21st century.
Pull up your phone’s note-taking app.
Now, think.
What do you like to cook that you also like
to eat?
How often do you think you can cook at home?
Make a list of your favorite five to 10 meals
that you can easily cook in a short time or
mostly make ahead of time.
Here are a couple ideas for meals that come
to mind: Roasted chicken thighs with pasta,
and chickpea curry with rice.
Now, we’re going to talk more about these
specific meals later, but remember, the best
thing you can do to plan your meals is to,
uh, actually plan your meals.
Decide what you want to eat next week before
you go shopping and prepping over the weekend.
Step 2: Lower your expectations.
Weird, right?
But if this is your first time trying to cook
for yourself more often, it’s okay to start simple.
Save the souffle for another time.
Use shortcuts when they make sense for you.
It counts as cooking if you buy pre-made pizza
dough and add your own toppings.
It even counts as cooking if some nights,
all you can do is crack a couple eggs into
a pot of ramen noodles.
Step 3: Here’s the thing: Clean your kitchen.
A tidy kitchen is the first step toward cooking
more often.
If you have to spend half an hour cleaning
up your kitchen before you can start to make
dinner, you’ll be hungry and crabby by the
time you get to your recipe.
I can’t stress this enough: Do your dishes
and wipe down your counters, like, every day.
If you really hate dishes, try to make it
as fun as you can using the theory of “temptation
bundling.”
That means to do something you like to trick
yourself into doing something you hate.
Put on some tunes, a podcast, or YouTube
video to listen to while you do the dishes.
Buy a fancy dish soap.
Or knock back a shot of whiskey before you
start the dishes.
If you make it a regular habit to keep your
kitchen clean, you’ll notice a huge difference
in how motivated you feel to get in there
and start cooking.
Step 4: Go grocery shopping!
Preferably when you’re not hungry, or else
you’ll buy everything in the store.
I’ve definitely done that before.
When you’re out at the store, remember this
life-changing, super intense, really helpful
secret about meal planning: Build in lots
of flexibility.
The biggest mistake in meal planning is coming
up with all your meals for the week and then
not feeling like eating them.
This, my peeps, is the path to dialing the
pizza delivery guy.
So try to plan meals based around ingredients
that can be really versatile.
Things like: Frozen veggies, kale, rice, pasta,
canned tomatoes and canned beans are all great
to grab extras of.
And don’t forget the sriracha!
Step 6: Get creative in case things don’t
go as planned, because to err is human.
Let’s say that we bought the ingredients
for roasted chicken with pasta for dinner
on Monday and chickpea curry with rice on
Tuesday.
But what if you get home on Monday and realize
you forgot to thaw the chicken!
Oh balls!
But you totes got this.
Just roast the chickpeas instead and serve
them with the pasta, and then use the chicken
the next day in your curry sauce.
Step 7: Cook and eat your meal!
High five!
You’ll be a master of meal planning in no
time.
Thanks for joining me on this meal planning
adventure.
If you have any meal planning tips or tricks,
or have a topic you’d like us to cover,
leave us your thoughts in the comments below.
…and don’t forget the sriracha.
I’m sorry, I don’t like sriracha, so…
So it’s hard for me to say that one—
[off screen]
No you can—what do you usually put on your—
Sam’s like, you have to say sriracha. You’ll have to
to, ah…
connect with your audience.
…and don’t forget the sriracha!
Like that?
[off-screen, laughing]
Yes, but don’t break down immediately after
And don’t forget the s—
Unthaw the chicken. Oop!
What am I saying? Unthaw?
[off screen]
It says unthaw, but I didn’t even really…
[off screen]
… think about it. You can’t unthaw a chicken.
[off screen]
That didn’t occur to me.
Forgot to…
Oh! THAW the chicken!
Step Seven: Cook and Eat Your Meal!
High Five!
You’ll be a master at— bleh bleh bleh bleh