Meal Planning

Table of Meals

Meal Planning

I have two basic systems that I use for meal planning. They're related, but one has much more structure than the other. They both build upon the ideas I laid out in Executive Dysfunction in the Kitchen.

If you follow me on Ko-Fi, you've probably already heard of the first method: My Capsule Pantry, which was released as a series of (mostly) shorter posts. I tend to fall back on the capsule pantry when things are hard in other areas of my life. It involves no meal planning - I just keep my pantry stocked with the same foods all the time, and make a lot of simple things like spaghetti and meatballs, frozen chicken fingers, quesadillas, etc... Things I can throw together in 15-20 minutes even if I haven't thought about dinner once all day.

The second system is a lot more of a system and does involve some actual meal planning. But it's meal planning you do ONCE and then just repeat.

I got inspired by meal planning services that exist out there. They don't send you actual ingredients like a meal kit service, they just send a menu for each week with an ingredient list for you to take to the grocery store. But in my experience, efficient meal planning just has too many variables for a third party to do a very good job doing it for me, especially every single week. Even a service that does a great job of being efficient with ingredients one week is probably not going to remember that you had to buy a pound of miso last week and you still have to use it up...

I used the same ingredient list that I made for my capsule pantry to create a 5-week meal plan specialized for my family. If you're interested in trying it out, feel free to use my meal plan as a basis for forming your own, although of course it will work best if you make your plan customized for your own household needs. These Obsidian checklists are literally the plans I use for shopping and cooking our meals each week.

The 5-week meal plan has the added benefit of offering more home-cooked/from scratch recipes without any more weeknight effort, because I can spend one day a week cooking and prepping foods to eat throughout the week. After I'm done prepping, I have something like I might get from a meal kit, but a lot more meals for a lot less money. Since the rotation is 5 weeks, variety is no concern.

Of course with either system, there's no reason to be inflexible. I'm welcome to add in a new recipe or try something different any time I'm feeling up to it. The point is just to not try to do everything new all the time and end up with a lot of food waste from the things I never got around to cooking.

Backlink | Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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