The story goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That is so true when it comes to me and the kitchen, and it’s always been that way. I will freely admit I’m not the best at planning my week, and I’ve thrown away my fair share of rotten veggies…big old sad face if they came from Whole Foods and/or were organic. I don’t mind paying extra, but you gotta use what you buy.
When I lived in Seattle with Jason and Ben, I got a great lesson on meal planning. Every week, Jason would sit down with his pad of paper and plan our lunches and dinners for the week, and then derive the grocery list from there. When we were all in town and work wasn’t crazy (never often enough!), we had an excellent system down. Monday was grocery night, and we almost always had tacos – super quick for a tight week day schedule. Jason would cook while I would sit at the breakfast counter with wine (and whine.) Ben and I had clean-up duty, which usually meant Ben was scrubbing and I was packing lunches. We all got to do the things we liked best, or at least tolerated the most.
BTW, Ben – I’m sorry. I leave dishes in my sink, sometimes overnight. I didn’t do it while we lived together, but I’ve gone back to my bad ways Bad single girl behaviour is real. I’m ashamed and will look to find ways to improve this terrible, lazy habit of mine.
At any rate, I’ve adopted Jason’s method for meal planning for myself. Lunches on the left, dinners on the right. Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, but if it’s something too messy or random to pack for work, I’ll just keep it for dinners. I even tossed Chipotle on here – I knew I would be running errands all day yesterday. Their allergen menu is fantastic!
The key to success for me is prep work. By the time I get home, I’m just fried and don’t feel like cooking. If I’ve already done the work, great! Prep for lunches this week was easy – chicken sausage with veggies. The sausage is pre-cooked, so all I have to do is make the veggies, dump it into a container and call it a day. I keep single serve hummus on hand, so I bundle that up with carrots and celery, bag up some hard-boiled eggs for snacks, divvy out fresh fruit for fruit salad, and all week it’s grab and go.
BTW, why do sausages look so dirty? I had to laugh when I took this pic. I know, I know. I have the mentality of a fifteen year old boy and I’ll admit to it.
Aidells Chicken & Apple sausage paired with sweet potatoes and a kale/quinoa mix:
No big deal to eat this for three days. Tonight I’m making tacos (ground beef, Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, a can of rotel) and I’ll rotate between tacos and taco salad the rest of the week. I’m already planning dinner out on Thursday night, and I know I’ll screw up one night and be off my schedule. I stock soup for those nights, or I’ll have a Daiya frozen pizza. I’ve mapped out my other activities as well, so I’ll have an idea of what’s going on when I’m grocery shopping.
The party planned for Saturday is a bit trickier, because I adore the couple hosting and a little one’s birthday party could likely turn into an all day event. It’s a Saturday, we’ll have great company, cocktails may be poured. Just saying. I’ve shown up to Susie and Charlie’s with my own cooler of beer to watch football, but this time it’ll likely be a mix of booze and healthy snacks to help keep my face out of the birthday cake.
Eating outside of my house isn’t necessarily hard, but it requires the same amount of planning on my part. House parties are the trickiest, though usually I can dig up some fruit and veggies and I almost always have almonds or beef jerky with me in a pinch. And let’s be honest – I’m not going to starve. I’ve got some reserves, kind of like a hibernating bear.
Local friends – I promise I can still go out! I like going out! I like going to dinner and I love going to brunch! If you want to go out, let’s go out. I can always find something, I promise. PROMISE. I’ll do the research ahead of time and I’ve gotten the hang of ordering. Big ups to Anna and Colleen in particular for vetting restaurants and being patient with me in the beginning when I had a hard time figuring it out. Tito’s Vodka is everywhere and if all else fails, there’s salad 🙂
I am super thankful to have friends and family that are way supportive of my admittedly somewhat restrictive diet, but I know some of y’all worry. Thank you! The best comparison I can make is that if you think of me as being on Paleo, or low carb, or whatever whole food diet is out there – it’ll cover 90% of the stuff I can’t eat. No biggie.