How to Eat for a Week (or More!) Without Leaving Your House
You may not believe in kismet, but one can’t help but feel a strange sense of fate when having to write about hunkering down and eating what you have as Mother Nature makes the city outside her personal ice rink. Time to hermit up and plan some meals!
Not just for healthy eating, effective meal planning is also an extraordinary way to make your food last. (Yeah, you could call it rationing, but that’s too Great Depression-y, so we’ll just stick with “Meal Planning.”)
In the Beginning
Surveying your vittles will probably leave you with oily fingers from potato chips you’ll have no memory of noshing. So shun the pantry and fridge (for now) and head toward your favorite thinking place. Begin your master plan by asking yourself a few general questions like:
How many meals should I plan for?
Look, we know you have the best intentions, but there’s no need to “over-plan.” Studies show that creating a realistic goal will have a greater chance of succeeding. Follow-up question: How many mouths am I feeding?
What do I have time for?
Take a good, hard look at your free time for actually creating dinners. Have lots of time? Try something new. Busy up until dinner time? There are other options than reheating leftovers.
What do I want to eat?
How much can I spend on groceries?
You don’t have to calculate down to the last, red cent. Go back and look at some recent grocery receipts, and ballpark your amount with regards to the length of time in your plan.
You get the picture. When you’re finished jotting down your ideas, it’s time to…
Sketch it Out
Now’s the time put some meat on the bones of your plan. Look at the number of meals you planned for and begin writing down what “types” of meals you’d like to create and “when.” For instance, you could write down “Monday Breakfast: Grilling,” “Tuesday Lunch: Leftovers,” “Wednesday Dinner: Breakfast,” (Why not?), and so on and so forth.
Done? Great, because now it’s time for the fun part: finding recipes! If you’re anything like us, you have hundreds of recipes lurking within massive cooking tomes making you feel like an all-powerful wizard as you flip the cracking pages… or you could just log onto Pinterest.
Here are a few things to keep in the back of your mind while searching for recipes:
- There’s no shame in using a meal you’ve made before.
- Build meals around ingredients (or even other leftovers!) you already know you have.
- Even if you didn’t write it down, always plan for leftovers.
Save your recipes somewhere either digitally or au naturel with a pen and paper. If you find you have some of the same ingredients, add the ingredients together to save some time in the next step…
If you’ve remained in your thinking spot this entire time, well, sorry to tell you it’s time to get up and move about. Fortunately, though, when we say “move about,” we mean welcoming the pantry and refrigerator back into your life. Go ahead. Open the doors for all the world (or just you) to see!
This is the time to take stock of the ingredients you need to make all those delicious recipes you’ve written down. And, studies have shown, because you’ve physically written the ingredients down, you’ll lean more toward actually sticking to your grocery list. Kind of like going grocery shopping when you’ve already eaten so you approach the kindly checkout clerk with a modestly filled cart instead of towing two grocery carts bulging with snacks and junk food as you tenaciously clench a bag of cinnamon rolls between your teeth.
And you don’t even have to put your Netflix binge on hold. In most places, you can even have everything you need delivered to you. How’s that for service?
You Got Served
Since you’re the one with the recipes, your dining destiny is now, obviously, up to you. One final consideration: whoever said “out of sight, out of mind” wasn’t kidding; not in the slightest. So put your meal plan in a place you’ll constantly see it. Repetition is your key to victory here, so the more times you can put your eyeballs on your meal plan, the more likely you’ll be successful.