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Finding time to cook


Shannon KR

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So, with working full time, I am having some trouble seeing how I can plan cooking for a whole week. I work full time, like everyone else, I know, but it includes one or two days a week until 8pm, as well as about three weekend days a month, and it  varies with days off. The next two months are also hard because I have some volunteer events where I am away from home, and I am worried I won't bring enough food, or not enough of what I need to feel full, and get too hungry. This seems harder than it probably is, but I am not so good at planning meals, which is what got me here in the first place. I officially start on Friday, but of course, work tommorow evening until 8pm, than again at 8:30 the next morning, and on Saturday, and have a volunteer event all day Sunday. Agggh! Just feeling a little stressed about it. Is that normal? Should i plan for like 3 days at a time? 

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Take this for what it's worth because this is a very different approach than most people take... For me personally, I do not meal plan in any way. I tried a Whole30 that way before and I quit. I resent the time that meal planning takes, especially when it's on a Sunday and takes precious time away from family and outdoors. So, I don't do it. I plan my meals day-by-day and sometimes meal-by-meal. And it's worked! I'm on Day 19 and I've gotten really good at cooking up quick meals and really efficient at using leftovers. Note, I also work long hours, usually leaving the house at 7:00 AM and returning between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. 

I did do some things to help myself out. First, I spent A LOT of money on pre-made spice blends, sauces, dressings, condiments, etc. I don't have time to make those. It makes a big difference in time and taste when I can add a pre-made sauce to a super quick stir fry or BBQ sauce to chicken I'm throwing in the oven. Second, I buy easy fats. I buy pre-packaged guacamole, nuts, coconut, and olives. It's easier to simply add a handful of those to my plate rather than having to worry about incorporating fat in a more complicated way. Third, I buy simple meats. Costco has amazing breakfast sausage so that makes a really fast breakfast. They also sell an amazing pulled pork, which is also super easy to cook up. Fourth, I keep my meals simple on work days and save the fun/fancy stuff for weekends and the rare short day. I don't mind simple meals so that works for me. 

Did you detect a theme? Yes, I had to spend a lot of money to buy stuff to make this easier. For me, time is more valuable than money so it works. It can get a little stressful sometimes when it's 7:45 PM and I have no idea what I'm going to eat for dinner but it's worked for me. 

Just my two cents... Like I said, a very different approach than most but not all of us are okay with giving up half days to plan, shop, prep, and cook.

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