Despite the fact that I co-founded a meal planning website, some days I end up standing over the counter, shoving five slices of bread into my mouth and calling it lunch. Those are really crappy days. Then there are other days when I wake up early and have unhurried breakfasts with the little ones on the porch while the sun rises, then take morning walks and enjoy afternoon picnics with homemade sandwiches. Straight outta Pinterest. Mama-of-the-year vibes. Humble brag hashtags. I’m even rolling my eyes.
The difference? Yup… meal planning. It’s magic.
The thing is, there will be weeks that don’t go according to plan. You missed Saturday’s market and Trader Joe’s hummus plus a bag of sweaty baby carrots is what’s for dinner. Or scrambled eggs. That’s ok, we’ve all been there. But that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of what dinner could look like. Next week will be better. And you can make a killer Friday night pizza with your own two hands and real ingredients. Because instead of spending that 35 minutes waiting and checking the Domino’s app four times (🙋🏻), you watched a YouTube video to double check you were doing it right, man-handled that dough, and topped it with CSA veggies that would’ve otherwise wilted. Bam!
There’s never a good time to start, but as long as the goal is to roughly stay on track most weeks, you’ll see a pretty remarkable change, sometimes instantly, sometimes little by little. That better version of yourself will emerge—you’ll be happier, more patient, less stressed, less overwhelmed. Your 3-year-old might eat kale without bribes. More money in your bank account to save for Bora Bora, more time on your hands to read and drink tea and build blanket forts with your crew. Not sure how it happens, exactly; perhaps that’s why it’s magic. But this Tamar Adler quote says it best: “Cooking is both simpler and more necessary than we imagine. It has in recent years come to seem a complication to juggle against other complications, instead of what it can be—a clear path through them.”
I mean, after all, we needa eat, right? Three to four times a day. Beautiful and fascinating plants packed with nutrients grow in the ground for the purpose of sustaining us and helping us thrive, but more often than not we choose take-out: processed noodles tossed with processed sauce. So good, but so bad. Or we have more #marketgrams than actual produce in our market totes. So. What if we made a pact? Together. That at least 80% of the time we’re going to live #thathucklegooselife. That we’ll plan our meals. That we’ll go shake the hand that feeds us, every week, rain or shine. That we’ll invite friends around our table. Everything tastes better this way. We’re also tapping into a whole ‘nother level of living.
When we learn to feed ourselves well and manage our time well, it allows us to focus on life’s essentials and things just fall into place a lot better. When we don’t make last-minute dashes to the store for a missing ingredient or make emergency calls to the neighborhood Thai place, it frees up our time for more worthy things. And we begin to naturally experience discipline in other areas of our lives that frustrated us for years.
The best part? You don’t need to have culinary skills, whatever that means anyway. I have atrocious knife skills. They’ve gotten slightly better over the years, but it’s debatable. Generally, it’s concerning how uncoordinated I am. Point is, it doesn’t stop me. Armed with our top-notch recipes, and if needed, a little extra guidance from YouTube and/or us (seriously, email us, that’s what we’re here for), you’re on your way to impressing yourself in the kitchen.
So we talked about how we’ll spend 80% of our time, now for the 20%. Let’s save that for giving ourselves some wiggle room. To not think of ourselves as failures when we’re serving cereal for dinner. Heck, let’s even celebrate and put candles on the table. Every once in awhile, let’s binge on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and relish every tongue-burning moment, complete with fake-red-powder finger stains. Because #yolo. Right? We can chase it down with a kale smoothie the next morning. Life’s too short to be a hardcore hipster about eating local. But we’re also making life shorter when we don’t eat for our health the other 80%.
Over the next few weeks and months we’ll be dishing out our tips for conquering the farmers’ market like a boss, how to spend less on organic so you can finally eat crepes in Paris, how to become that person that just “whips things up” without batting an eyelash, how to make eye contact with a rutabaga and bring it home with you, and more. We’ll call it the Magic of Meal Planning series. We’d love for you to join us and send in your burning questions too. There are no questions off limits. Even if it’s simply wondering how you pronounce persimmon. Is it PERsimmon? Or perSIMMon? Stay tuned.