How to Simply Meal Making and Eat Healthier

irish lamb stewAs a food writer and home cook, I love to cook.  But that doesn’t mean I want to spend every night in front of a cookbook and hot stove working on a recipe from Julia Child.

So I took an idea of Tim Ferris’s (author of The Four Hour Workweek):  simplify meals and diet by eating very similar things over and over- and ran with it.

He did it with weight loss and muscle gain as a goal.  I’m doing as a way to get back more time.

As a result, I spend less time thinking about what to make, move faster through farmer’s markets and the grocery store and spend less time preparing food.  Plus, I still enjoy what I eat as much as when I labored over what to make.

As an added bonus, I eat healthier because I’m not running for takeout because “there’s nothing at home to eat.”

You can do this too.  It takes a bit of organization and planning.  One day may be spent in more prep work (like today as I focus on a Cinco de Mayo theme) but most days of the week turn like clockwork.

If you feel overwhelmed by meal preparation, bothered by how much money is spent on take-out meals or simply want to eat healthier food, try this out and see if you can make it work for you.

  1. Figure out what you like to eat.
  2. Focus your meals around it every single week.
  3. Shop only for these foods.
  4. Switch it up every 6 weeks or so.

If this method seems like it might get boring, it’s not..

First the premise is that you eat things you enjoy.  This doesn’t mean chowing down on pizza every night.

It means eating foods that are healthy and likable.

If you are part of a large family, adding rituals around meal preparation can work very well at keeping budgets and diets in check.

Make a large pot of spaghetti sauce on Monday for Spaghetti Monday.  Use half the sauce and buy frozen raviolis for a Italian Wednesday.  Tuesday can be a Simple Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry with rice.  Thursday is soup and salad night.  Friday is homemade pizza night.  And so on and so forth.

This is how my week is looking:  I love salads.  I could eat a salad every day.  So I do.

I buy very similar ingredients (it sometimes varies depending what is the freshest looking at the farmer’s market.

Since it is Cinco de Mayo tomorrow there is a big pot of my Great-Grandma’s pinto beans simmering.  I’ll add chicken and Spanish rice to the menu for tomorrow night and eat the leftovers for the rest of the week.

Breakfasts will consist of alternating between cold cereal, cottage cheese and fruit or eggs.

Lunch will be baby carrots, almonds, a slice of hearty bread I made (banana bread this week).

I’ll have a salad most days, alternating with the leftover Mexican food.  If I want I can use the chicken, beans and chips to make a taco salad.

Oh, and I’m testing recipes for a cookie book so there is a solution for desserts and what to bring to social events.  🙂

If grocery shopping and meal preparation is exhausting, the bill for food keeps getting higher or you want to cut back on eating take-out food, try following your own designated menu for a few weeks.

As Thoreau said, “Our life if frittered away by detail, simplify! Simplify!”

Enough frittering with details about meals, shopping and preparation.  Get on with the important things:  enjoying a meal with your family, working on a startup, taking a walk; there are many excellent things to pursue.

Melissa AuClair writes about pursuing the location independent lifestyle at  Readers can learn how to bake near-perfect cookies (and why baking is part of a happy, full life) at 


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Melissa lives online at where she blogs about her journey to a location independent life and how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies. She is enthusiastic about all things entrepreneurial, having coffee with friends, helping creatives build a lifestyle around their art and sending snail mail.


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