Sunday, November 10, 2013

Meal Planning, Freezer-Style

This blog post is a follow-up to my last post, Project Lifestyle. For the full backstory, follow the link. However, a basic summary was that I wasn't finding I had enough time to make my healthy, meal plan meals and that was resulting in my falling back into old, negative eating habits.

After trying and failing to return to my healthy, daily cooking I started to think about what alternatives I had. The best idea that came to mind is how I like to premake meals, a few at a time, to pack in my lunch (rather than having frozen, prepackaged food for work.)

I decided to extrapolate on that idea, and make frozen meals so that each night that I didnt' have time to cook a healthy meal, I would merely have to take a frozen meal out of the deepfreeze. It would be fresh and healthy, yet still allow us to be out the door quickly.

After doing some research, I decided to try out a subscription website, It promised that you could do all of your cooking for the entire month in one weekend, and provided several different menu options. Best of all, it portioned the meals and made your grocery lists for you. Subscription cost $8 a month, but I decided that based on the time saving alone it was worth it.

So I bought the subscription, and then Friday went out grocery shopping. About 4 hours and $500 later, I had everything I needed. The website said to expect prep work to take 2-4 hours and cooking to take 6-8. I had some prior engagements on Sunday, but I figured I could get the whole thing done in one day. I would just start early. Well, I got up at 8am Saturday (early enough), but after eating breakfast and doing some laundry and cleaning, it was 11:30am by the time I started pulling items out of the fridge to prep. 'It's okay,' I thought. 'It'll be a long day, but I'm resilient.'

Well, at 4pm I finally finished the prep work. I was already exhausted, but at this point I thought 'Well, there's no going back now. I've got to just do this and get it done'. I was listening to Eat, Pray, Love on audiobook, so at least I had that to keep me otherwise occupied.

At about 11 at night, having still not taken any breaks I was about 4 recipes into the meal plan. It felt like there was no end in sight. I was losing steam in a big way. Around this time Eat, Pray, Love ended as well. I started listening to Huckleberry Finn and dug back in.

At about 3am, I crashed. I had two recipes left, and I just couldn't do any more. I packaged up and froze what I had completed, and put away all my ingredients. I got up the next morning and started again.

I had other plans that day, (get-together for work) so it was imperative that I get this completed ASAP. I did, and just in the nick of time. I packaged up the rest of the food, cleaned up, showered and hit the road.

Since this weekend, the meals have been a godsend. Gilles and I have both been using them frequently for our lunches and suppers. Going forward, I will continue to do this, however I will give myself a full 3 days to do so. I may also just get a larger freezer....