In a perfect world, we would all have 10-minute commutes to the office, chocolate chip cookies that magically appear in moments of need, and fluffy-warm towels greeting us right out of the shower. We'd exercise every morning (with gusto! and joy!), wrap up each workday with Inbox Zero, and effortlessly prepare a week’s worth of meals on the weekends.
News flash: This is not my life. And I have a feeling it’s not yours, either.
We all want to be the most efficient, organized versions of ourselves—so we can be the happiest versions of ourselves—but then stuff gets in the way. I always head into the week determined to prep ahead, to make my future lunches and dinners less multistep projects, more last-minute assemblies. But this is easier said than done.
Or is it?
In this week’s Dear Test Kitchen, our test kitchen chef Josh Cohen (a self-proclaimed meal-planning skeptic!) unpacks how to make meal planning easier. You know, so you’ll actually do it. Here are his top three tips:
This is the key to mixing and matching these components into a week’s worth of meals—and not getting bored along the way: Don’t overtly season anything. Salt, of course, and a little black pepper if you please. But beyond that, resist the temptation to complicate things. Why? If your various components are blank slates, you can turn them into anything you want. For the sake of example, let’s say that we have: shredded chicken, hard-boiled eggs, brown rice, flour tortillas, sautéed kale, roasted butternut squash, and herby yogurt. Add in your fridge and pantry stock and you can make...
Permission to not make everything from scratch: granted. There just aren’t that many hours in the day. Pick and choose which components feel the most important for you to tackle, then let the supermarket take care of the rest. Here are some of my favorite shortcuts:
What are your best meal planning secrets? Oh c’mon, tell us!