Let's talk about meal planning. And how it's stupid.
I am kidding. Sort of.
A colleague at work told me once about this woman who planned out her meals a year in advance.
There was a spreadsheet and everything.
All that made me want to do is to poke my eye out with a carrot stick.
Most folks who DO meal plan and meal prep do not go to such lengths, of course. But even planning a week in advance seems like more commitment I am prepared for - you feel me?
I am never going to find myself having pre-planned Cajun grilled shrimp skewers with roasted potatoes and asparagus puree for lunch on a random Wednesday in July.
I am a lazy rebel who hates structure.
A more likely scenario for me is some version of: “Oh shit, it’s 1pm, and I have a meeting in 15 minutes, and I’m hungry, and I am going to be in back to back meetings for the next three hours”. Resulting lunch is one banana, fourteen crackers and three pieces of ham. Not exactly the meal of champions.
But also… there are now four live actual food-eating humans in my household, who frustratingly need to be fed multiple times a day, and so SOME semblance of planning is a must.
Thankfully the whole nutrition coaching expertise thing helps to know that meal planning does not have to look like dozens of identical plastic containers neatly stacked that you see on Pinterest.
Not just jar salads for the wee, but also handmade jar LABELS.
With lace backdrop and lavender glitter.
Bitch, please. That is literally NEVER going to happen.
*Side note - if you are lazy in general, stay away from Pinterest - you are bound to walk away feeling sad and inadequate, as that place is crawling with people who like to work hard.
I propose that there should be Pinterest for lazy people, where one is not allowed to use any more than three things in any craft project, and the most advanced technique you’d need to be familiar with would be gluing something onto a piece of paper.
Generally, we, meal-planning haters, have three objections to the whole endeavor:
We hate cooking.
We hate prepping.
We hate structure.
I know, I know… When I put it like that, it seems hopeless. Crackers and cheese for life.
Except, clarity allows for problem solving.
Once we identify the main barriers / objections, we can plan for and around each one.
“I hate cooking” = Minimize cooking.
This means → precooked protein, boxed and bagged salads, strategic take-out. Roast chicken from the grocery store reigns supreme. Pre-cooked meat strips that you can throw on a salad? Those too.
“I hate prepping” = Minimize amount of time spent prepping.
This means → precut vegetables, fruit and berries; frozen vegetables, fruit and berries. Canned beans - regardless of what the internet says about pre…SOAKING THE BEANS? Fuck that noise. Feeling like you have to pre-soak the beans is up there with making your own nut milk - a great way to ensure that you are never eating beans. Or nut milk.
“I hate structure” = Minimize repetition, and routine.
This means → relying on a menu of options, rather than a schedule. A Taco Tuesday is probably never going to be appealing, just due to its cliche predictability. Instead, having taco ingredients on hand will be helpful.
Same goes for having pizza ingredients. It’s an option, but… who’s to say WHEN we are going to exercise that option? All the freedom. ;)
This email is about meal planning, but also… it’s more than that.
Here are three takeaways that I want to leave you with:
1. Know who you are, and what your preferences are. Go with yourself, not against yourself.
2. Clarity allows for solutions. Identify objections one by one - then don’t argue with the objections, but troubleshoot around them.
3. Stay away from Pinterest.