Meal Planning for the Lazy

Some individuals may view meal planning as an activity for productive or successful people. I see as preparation for the lazy. After all, I know darn well that there will inevitably be days that I have zero desire to cook or want to deal with the outside world just to get fed. Some may choose to eat cereal but for those who know that they don’t drink milk enough to justify a whole or even a half gallon, eating dry cereal isn’t always the most desirable choice. It can seem a lot better sometimes to just take a few hours once a week or even just once a month to choose a list of meals that you like to eat and can actually cook. For those whose ability to cook only extends as far as making a frozen pizza, this will most likely involve freezer meals, but that is perfectly okay. Whether you are capable of a five star meal or just microwaving food, meal planning works on any level.

In regards to those who can cook, life has given you a great skill, use it. Now you, with this wonderful skill, are able to choose whether you want to just make a bunch of homemade freezer meals (homemade chicken pot pies for example) or if you want to plan out what meals you are going to make. Now planning can take the form of choosing specific meals for specific days or just making a list and randomly picking which meal you want that night. The second option works great if most of the meals have the same ingredients and allows you to pick what kind of food you want for the night (Mexican, Italian, Indian, etc.). Just remember, you are human like anyone else and will have nights where you have no ambition to cook whatsoever. Plan ahead for these days for the sake of your waistline and wallet.

Now for those who can’t cook beyond frozen pizza, congrats you can actually meal plan for most likely much cheaper than just eating out or buying fast food. This especially works if you have a Walmart near you. Your planning will focus or may focus on freezer foods and microwavable vegetables. Pick an entree (Stouffer’s lasagna is my personal favorite) and rotate sides. This has become so very easy with microwavable frozen veggies. I do love the fact that I can buy a pack of frozen broccoli and the packaging is designed to steam them via the microwave. Or if for some reason you don’t have a microwave to heat vegetables, just choose cans of vegetables you like and rotate them (yes I am aware that some people really don’t like canned vegetables). Again, you like me may have days were even just shoving something into the oven is too much effort. There is a solution.

Finally for the days where you have run out of time or don’t want to eat the leftovers again, you should plan preferably a cheaper option than eating out and yes that includes McDonald’s or Subway. Those places can be painfully expensive if you aren’t paying attention. I use to have a coworker who said that she spent about the equivalent of half a paycheck every month on fast food. Thankfully she was not the only income earner in her household but still, please pay attention to how much you eat out. It is terrible on the wallet and your weight. My personal solution to days without leftovers or no desire to eat the ones that I have is microwavable meals from Walmart (such as Compleats). Where I live they are about 2 to 2.50 dollars a piece which when combined with a fruit parfait (also from Walmart) that costs about 50 cents a pieces, means that I have a meal that costs around $3 total. That is a far cry from the 6 to 7 dollars that a Subway sandwich and cookies can cost. Now there will be times when none of the above has worked and you will reach for the phone or website for your favorite takeout. That is fine once in a while but should be limited and hopefully will be a last resort. Remember you are planning for your own laziness because you are human and it will happen. Meal planning is not only for the productive and successful; it may just be for the opposite.

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