Planning For Variety (a weekly meal plan)

Feb 19, 2018 | Food and Culture

I have a theory which I have talked about a little bit here in the blog, and a bit more on the podcast. I believe that with the proper meal plan, you can feed yourself and your family, and only cook three times a week. Now, when I say theory, I mean it in the scientific way. My wife and I follow the principles that I am about lay out most weeks, and it works for us. Some weeks we fail, mostly due to poor planning rather than a failure in the system itself, but on the weeks that we follow the system it works out well for us.

The real secret to this system is planning for variety. I don’t want you to eat the same leftovers for two or three days because that is obviously incredibly boring and frankly I don’t think you would do it. I know I wouldn’t. Ideally, the way this works is that you make a big meal on Sunday. You make enough so that you are guaranteed leftovers. Now, maybe you only make enough vegetables for Sunday night’s dinner, but you make enough of the main protein to last a few days. On top of this you make a big batch of salad to go in the fridge, and maybe some rice and or barley and quinoa. Maybe, you even roast some sweet potato or squash. When you have all of these things in your fridge combined with a big piece of roast pork or beef, or a roasted chicken, you can mix and match and create different meals from the same components. Thus, you are planning for variety. If done correctly, this will last until Wednesday when you make a new dinner.

On Wednesday evening you follow the same principles except maybe you cook a big piece of salmon or a bunch of haddock. You then make a different kind of salad, and another side. This only needs to last until Friday when you cook one more meal that takes you to Sunday where you start again. Perhaps on Saturday you take a bit of time and make a big batch of pasta sauce or chili to throw in your freezer.

Planning your week out like this makes cooking and eating well much easier. It takes away the stress of wondering what you are going to cook when you get home and allows you to eat healthily while enjoying your down time. This meal plan is designed to work within a budget. Because you are planning for your week and have a pretty good idea of what and when you are going to cook, you are less likely to panic and order takeout or run to the grocery store and splurge on something you don’t need. Ideally, if you follow this system you will save money, eat healthier, and be less stressed about what you’re going to eat.

Try this for yourself. Just about every week your local grocery store will have something on sale. It maybe pork butt, blade roast, whole chickens, or a side of salmon. Take advantage of these sales and plan your week around them. I promise that this can work for you as it does for my wife and I. You just have to plan for variety, and get creative. It is easy to find yourself eating the same thing for three days. It is just as easy to find yourself eating an exciting variety of foods, saving money, and only cooking three times a week.





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