How To Meal Plan?!?!
So you want to learn to meal plan? I knew you’d eventually come crawling to me with this very question. Today is Monday, after all. And there are two types of people on Monday afternoon: people who know that they’re going to have a veggie and black bean bowl later this week, and horribly unprepared losers like you.
To start: Make a list with the following ingredients: 1 medium zucchini, 2 red peppers, 1 onion, 2 lemons, 1 bag of spinach, romaine lettuce, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 avocado, brussels sprouts, apples for snacking, 1 filet of salmon, 2 chicken breasts, eggs, 1 block of cheese, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of chickpeas, brown rice, 1 bag of pasta, a loaf of bread, and salsa. These are mostly healthy ingredients, if you listen to the government, which you probably shouldn’t trust. But I am not the government, and I think these are good and reasonably priced ingredients. And you can get as much or more as you see fit: double the amount if you live with someone, double the amount if you really like to eat like me, double the amount if you have a dog that you treat like a human (dogs can't eat garlic). You also might go "what can I sub for all of these ingredients because I hate them all." Well, I don't know. What do YOU LIKE and what do YOU EAT? Change the veggies. Use tofu instead of fish. Use tilapia instead of salmon. Use more veggies in place of chicken, or use chick'n. Meal planning is about preparation, not about food, and this is meal planning my way. So if you’re not artfully arranging very sad veggies next to some rice into various Tupperware containers by the end of this post, you’re a straight-up fool. And aren't we all just busy fools, trying to find some horrifying structure in the pit of doom we call life?
To start: You can start Sunday of next week. I’m not here to pat you on the back and say “you can start meal-planning on Monday” because it’s not true. You wasted your week. There’s no turning back now. Go eat boxed mac-and-cheese like a cartoon college student and throw your life in the trash. But next Sunday, you shop for the ingredients above. I’m assuming you’re not a giant savage and you have mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sriracha, garlic, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in your cabinets. Are you that lost? Please tell me you’re not that lost. Anyway, next Sunday you open up your Facebook status and you vomit a giant humblebrag all over that page about how you are prepping for the week. Because being prepared is the new “having money,” but you also kind of need to have money. Anyway, here’s what to do:
1)You cut the sweet potatoes up into cubes and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. You put them in the oven at 400 and cook them for around 30 minutes, or until crisp outside and tender in the middle. 2) You hardboil 6 eggs 3) At the same time, you make the chicken breasts this magic way 4) You clean the pan you boiled the eggs in and make 2 cups of rice 5) You order a pizza 6) You mash up the can of chickpeas with a fork and mix it with mustard, sriracha, salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice. If you have or use a mayo-like product, you can add that in as well. 7) You assemble a sandwich out of 1/3 of the chickpea mash, romaine lettuce, and the delicious bread. “I LOVE BREAD.” 8) You make a salmon marinade of salt, pepper, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar and half a lemon and leave it in your fridge. 9) Put all this shit in little containers and go have a drink or something. You are a God of fruitful living and produce.
Monday: I’m not going to repeat this. Bring the hardboiled eggs for breakfast. Eat the apples as snacks. Buy some chips if you want to, I’m not actually watching you DO any of this. So get a gosh darn granola bar or a bagel or whatever and have it all week. I’m not your mom. Then eat the chickpea sandwich for lunch. When you get home, sauté the whole bag of spinach and garlic and olive oil and lemon. Brush the salmon with the marinade and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes. Eat with some heated rice. Relax. Since you’re on a rice kick, make a chipotle-like rice bowl (that doesn’t weigh around 60 lbs or cost a billion bucks) with half the black beans, the leftover spinach, the romaine lettuce, some cheese. In a separate container, add some salsa you brought on the side. Set aside for lunch.
Tuesday: Eat the rice bowl for lunch. Heat half the sweet potatoes and some of the chicken in an oven at 350 until warmed (about 15 minutes). While this is happening, sauté the zucchini. Serve with whatever condiments you enjoy. Put more of the chickpea mash on bread and make another sandwich, which feels a little like torture.
Wednesday: Eat the sandwich. Think about how boring this meal prep is, but sometimes life is cyclical and awful and we need to deal with it. Go home and make pasta. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and some onion and garlic and cook with balsamic vinegar and oil. If you have some white wine lying around, add a splash to the pan while you’re cooking the sprouts. Add some chicken IF IT SMELLS GOOD to warm up with the pasta and sprouts. Top with parm if you happen to have some. And then make a little salad for lunch with the rest of the chickpea mash, some romaine lettuce and some fresh red pepper slices. Sounds delicious? It isn’t, really. Meal prep isn’t always DELICIOUS, it’s about having NO TIME to make REAL FOOD.
Thursday: This is getting so frustrating. All of this food feels so old by now. Get home and sauté the peppers and onions in oil and garlic and black beans and then add the rest of the sweet potatoes to warm them up. Fry an egg or two and add salsa and half the avocado on top. Add lots of lemon juice to the other half of the avocado and make a rice bowl with that, lettuce, the other red pepper, and whatever beans or sweet potatoes you have left. It’s all the same now. Life feels without variety and horrifyingly fruitless.
Friday: Oh, what a treat. A garbage salad. But now I’ve saved the best for last! Shave the brussels sprouts with a cheese grater. Sauté them in a pan. Make a grilled cheese with it. Spread the bread with the good mustard. Eat over the counter with sriracha before you go out and spend all your money and lose all your friends by talking about how you meal-prepped all week.
God, meal-planning is exhausting. But if you fall, at least you land amongst the (chickpea sandwich) stars.