Why Use A Meal Planning System?

“We’re taking control of our cooking time!”

“Let’s spend less time cooking and more time eating.”

“We have a plan and we’re sticking to it.”

Have you uttered these sentences before?

Tired of cooking every night? Before and after illustration. Fresh and excited vs.Tired and frazzled. Illustration from garlicdelight.com.Pin

Have you been optimistic about increasing your cooking efficiency only to discover an hour later that you’re knee deep in an ambitious cooking project and dinner is still more than an hour away?

On The Status Quo

If you’re anything like us, we’ve been there so many times before. You can see from my time audit in 2017 that we were spending on average 2 hours and 42 minutes on food-related activities on weekdays.

At least half of that time was not on eating.

And you know that we’ve given up batch cooking for health and stress reasons. I’m not willing to go to urgent care again!

Even if food safety wasn’t a concern, Alex and I are both full-time employees.

We don’t have the strength or mental energy to batch cook a month’s worth of meals. Even if I could, Alex would revolt anyway. He cannot eat the same thing every day for more than 2 weeks.

Our Meal Planning System

As a result, we have developed our meal planning system that simplifies our cooking, reduces our stress in the kitchen, and preserves our mental energy.

There are 4 parts to our system.

  1. Food Inventory
  2. Recipe Formulae
  3. Meal Planning
  4. Reverse Shopping List

Meal Planning System 4 pillars: food inventory, recipe formulae, meal planner, reverse shopping listPin

Hear me out. You might think:

Argh, I already have so much work, and you’re presenting a 4-part system! Aren’t you supposed to simplify and help me reduce stress? Not give me more work?

Chances are that you already do these tasks. You are just not consciously doing them and therefore don’t optimize them. Which is fine.

But once you understand the meal planning system, you can choose how to tweak the framework to speed up each step.

To be sure, we’re not experts. Ho ho, far from it.

In fact, I may be the worst offender because I used to avoid plans altogether and shop for whatever looked tasty, knowing that I would figure out something to make later. Big mistake.

So, we’re sharing what we’re experimenting with, testing along the way, and hoping that you share your tips to help us optimize our own lives.

We hope everybody can benefit from each other’s tips and knowledge.

What kind of meal planning system to you use? Share your tips with us in the comments.

Anna looking down chopping vegetables
About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on GarlicDelight.com with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

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