The art & science of meal planning

As I continue to get more intuitive with making food and food planning, I found making a plan weekly helpful for a couple of reasons. The first is it takes away any anxiety, especially if you are trying to follow some rules, dietary restrictions, or something along those lines. Secondly, it creates a safety net for when life happens, you will no longer need to respond by driving to your favourite fast-food joint because you didn’t anticipate (fill in your situation here). Next, it creates accountability. Also, a food plan helps with making a grocery list too, I call that a double win. Lastly, it becomes easier week after week.

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Anxiety

I know that anxiety comes in different forms for different people, for me in comes in making food and grocery shopping. I get overwhelmed and have a hard time thinking in grocery stores. So making a plan in the comfort of my pjs and on pretty paper at home, makes this fun but also creative. I am currently following #whole30 for a 60 day period, and making a plan makes it easy for me not to fall off, per say.

Safety net

I make a plan weekly, and I rarely follow it to the letter, but its 100% a safety net. For example, last week one evening ran late, and the meal I was planning on making takes a while, so I swapped two day on my meal plan and viola, I felt like a pro. Also, I build in contingency plans for snacks, lunches, and cravings, so that I never feel like I am not satisfied.

Accountability

Accountability is an odd one when it comes to food and eating. Most people don’t have this issue, but I do. For most people (including me) you really need an accountability partner to go to the gym, or run, or some other fitness thing. I haven’t found a person out there asking for an accountability partner on cooking (if you are out there – lets chat!). As a result, I found I had to find a way to hold myself accountable. I put the meal plan on the fridge weekly for myself and my husband.

Grocery Lists

Back the anxiety part of this blog, grocery stores are definitely scary to me. I have come a long way, but they are not always the same, some have certain food and set up, and I sometimes run around trying to find capers. Capers in particular are sometimes in three different sections; canned vegetables, pickles/salad dressings and sometimes with fresh vegetables. Back the issue at hand, I also have a pretty note pad on my fridge that I use for groceries too – I fill it as I go (as seen in the image attached). I have two tips: first always bring a pen with you and second have it be a different colour.

Ease

I recently started to save my weekly food plans because I can recall an easy recipe or remember I wanted to add something to the same meal and make it different. It becomes easier to have “staple” meals and “experimental” meals or parts of meals.
As a side note, this week I will be trying to roast a sweet potato (or yam) differently and figure out what to do with an eggplant.
If you are considering on benefiting from meal planning as I described above, I do recommend using “Knock Knock” list pads, I found mine at Indigo. #nocommissions #honestopinion

the benefits of learning to cook

I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately, and I was thinking about some of the benefits of learning to cook, and thought I would share them here so if anyone is thinking about learning to cook (like I did) or even get better, this may motivate you into action.

Adult-ing

The most obvious one for me, is that I felt like I finally grew up into a real “adult”. In this regard, I had always felt like a fraud adult. I have a great career, husband, home, etc, but I couldn’t for the life of me invite anyone over unless we ordered in. Now I feel like Martha Stewart or my mom even who can be the hostess with the mostess.

Cost Savings – kinda

This may seem like a no brainer, but for the life of me, my grocery bills are insanely expensive. I think I spend for 2 adults about $1500/month. In comparison to about $2400/month eating out. So yes, I guess I save about $900/month, except, I keep on hearing how people feed a family of 4 for $1200/month.

Creativity

I am a relatively creative person. I grew up doing arts and crafts, and as I focused on my career and all my goals, creativity lost its prominent place. I still get to be “creative” at work, but not in a artsy fartsy way. Learning to cook has given me an outlet to make art on my plate every night. I watch Chopped for plating ideas and stalk sales for nice dinnerware, I have yet to buy my dream dish set, but that’s a whole other blog.

Personal Accountability

I find the more times I cook at home against my food plan I usually prep on Sunday’s, the more likely I am to do my other tasks like running, working out, visiting friends, etc. I find that learning to cook helped me increase my personal accountability. Even more so, I have no excuses on eating food that’s crap and makes me feel bad.

Sense of Achievement

Lastly, I get a huge sense of achievement. It feels good to make something, to create something from scratch and not be sure of the outcome. In elementary school we had sports day, and everyone got a participation ribbon. I thought that IMG_5129was lame, I wanted the get first place, or second, or even third. I strived for the sense of achievement, and now I can get it every-damn-day.

If you ever come over, I will ask you if it tastes good, looks good, and what would make it better.  So be prepared to wear your critiquing hat.