I love meal planning and now I've gone a step further: I cooked all of our meals for the week in one day. In fact, Happy Herbivore meal plans encourage it!
Admittedly, the first time I tried cooking all my meals ahead I wasn't sure if this would be possible. It seemed so crazy and unrealistic. Could I really cook all of our lunches and dinners in one day and reheat them during the week? Would the food still taste good?
My other concern was the practicality of it. I liked the idea of getting all my cooking over and done with but I didn't want to waste hours doing it. Plus, I only have 3 pots (two are rather small) and one skillet, which means multitasking (cooking multiple recipes at the same time) was out of the question, too.
Still, I had to try it. Even if it took me 10 hrs.
First, I gathered all of my ingredients:
Then I popped in a DVD (I probably should have been more productive and listened to an audio book or my German lesson, but alas!) and got busy prepping and cooking.
Here are our precooked meals laid out in a grand fashion:
These represent lunches & dinners. Because I eat fruit, and sometimes oatmeal, and Scott eats a bread product (such as toast) for breakfast, it made no sense to cook these items ahead. We also have side salads at nearly every meal, which are not pictured.
As someone who has always hated leftovers I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this approach. Instead of having to stop what I'm doing to prepare dinner or make lunch, I could just get up, reheat, eat and then go back to whatever I was doing. I had so much extra time! I accomplished so much more!
Remember when I wrote about single-tasking for maximum productivity? Well that's in play here as well. Of course not every recipe is going to work for this model but a good bit do and I cannot begin to tell you how fabulous it is. I just loved that when my hungry tummy was rumbling a delicious meal--often with many choices! was waiting for me. I felt like I was at a restaurant all week.
If you've ever been attracted to the insta-ease of fast food, take-out or frozen dinners, this approach is for you. Healthy, homemade food is ready and waiting for you after a long day at work. It's awesome!
So by now you're probably wondering--- but how long did it take me?
The answer: three hours and thats because I had so few pots to work with. Had I had more pots to use, I'd have really been able to book it. Plus, I got distracted a lot in those three hours too. I was checking on my laundry, sucked into Harry Potter... you know, the usual.
Do yourself the favor and give it a try -- just once. I estimate even when I work at my fastest, with pulling out ingredients, cooking and then clean up, it takes me 30 minutes to an hour for every meal. Over the course of the week that's 5 to 10 hours! Compare that to 3 hrs in one shot! What a savings! This means more time to do what I want -- and also a lot less stress around meal times. Ahh yes, minimalist indeed.
Have you tried once a week cooking? Do you dare to try it?
Try our meal plans! It makes eating healthy so easy!