For the past year I’ve been an expert meal planner. Originally used to save me time and stop wasting food, I would plan out daily lunches and dinners on Sunday. I found time to grocery shop and then cooked the meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. Leftovers were shuffled during the rest of the week and with a variety of dishes (usually 3-4), it didn’t feel repetitive. It was a great way to plan up until now.
The thought of changing my methods didn’t truly hit me until last week when I made turkey piccatta. It was so late at night when I found time to cook that I didn’t bother eating the dish and saved it for the next day. I knew the recipe was good by the smell, but when I actually got around to eating it, my turkey was a little dry from reheating and the delicate lemon flavor had all but disappeared. I was so dissatisfied with my food that an entire turkey’s breast wound up in the trash. Throwing out this bird upset me so much (which another post will be dedicated to, I promise) that I knew it was time for change.
At this point in my life, almost nothing about my schedule is consistent besides its inconsistency. I work different hours every week for my two jobs, friends want to hang out, exercise is carefully blocked out and I squeeze in things on my to-do list whenever I’m not mentally or physically tired. The meal plan I described above perfectly fit senior year life when I had set class times and club meetings, but now I need to embrace change and see what will fit my needs and wants.
What I’m planning on now is probably doing what most people already, well, do. I’ll be buying my food as I need it so I know I have the time and desire to cook. I’m going to cut down recipes so I don’t have to worry about eating so much food before it becomes bad. And for some dishes like the Tuna Melts with Avocado or steak, spend the extra 10 minutes to remake some parts. A little extra time tastes so much better than one minute in the microwave.
So after all this, what I’m getting to is that there is no one way to go about meal planning or cooking or eating. Hold onto what matters to you and find the best way to fit it into your current lifestyle. That goes for anything you love, and I think it makes life a much happier journey.