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How I tried and failed at meal planning for 10 years—and the 3 things that finally worked

How I tried and failed at meal planning for 10 years—and the 3 things that finally worked
Photo by Wasa Crispbread / Unsplash

As I write this, I've been making my meals 3 times a day for the past 10 weeks. Unfortunately, my previous track records have only lasted 7 days, sometimes even less.

I feel terrific where I am and could tell that something has clicked. I feel confident that I can keep this up indefinitely, whereas previously I didn't feel it was sustainable.

If you're like me and have been trying to meal plan for years, here's what finally worked.

Tip #1: Starting with no plan

This feels counter-intuitive since meal planning means having a plan. But I realised that my previous tries were full of elaborate meal plans. I had given it too much importance that the pressure was palpable, and I ultimately failed. I started with just making simple egg omelettes with whatever I could find in my fridge—no recipes, all fun, and most importantly, no pressure.

Tip #2: Making allowances not to cook

Once I started meal planning for real, I realised that what made it successful this time around is that I'm not trying to cook 100% of my meals. Instead, I have days when I need to rush for a meeting, and the best thing I could muster is a protein shake of just protein powder and water, plus a side of banana with peanut butter. Sometimes, it's opening a can of sardines in olive oil and chilli with store-bought crackers. Or yes, even ordering food delivery when I can't be bothered putting something together.

Tip #3: Giving my future self a head start

I cannot count how many times I am seduced to order food. It's so easy with all the food delivery apps available to us right now. But then I realised that I had prepped and washed all my ingredients beforehand and could have a meal ready in 20 mins or less. It makes cooking super easy because I never have to start from scratch.

I hope these tips help with your meal planning journey. I'd love to know what worked. Happy cooking!