Ah, meal prepping – two words that are the very bane of my existence. The concept of buying out Costco so you can rush home and spend the entire weekend (what a waste of good writing time!) cooking the EXACT SAME FREAKING MEAL one thousand times and then turn your refrigerator and freezer into an ad for Doomsday-Preppers-R-Us is ridiculous. Who in their right mind wants to eat the same thing day-in and day-out?! Have you people not watched every movie or read every book warning against such pablum?!
Stop the madness!
Still, I acknowledge that it is important to put fuel in our tanks so that we can continue to function, and our brains need fuel so that we can continue to create our writing. I also acknowledge that when we’re up to our eyebrows in our fiction and the words are flowing like waterfalls, we can barely remember to stop and go to the bathroom (don’t laugh – you know you’ve been there). Hell, I’ve lost an entire day before when I was on a roll – looked up and couldn’t figure out why it was still dark out and had to be informed it was now night, that I had typed all day, and could I please move my ass and do something “constructive” (that wasn’t my current relationship, needless to say). Getting into that creative roll is awesome, but starving your body is bad. Looking like you’re preparing for an impending Apocalypse is also bad, and denying yourself any variety in life? You got it, super bad.
Luckily, I’ve found a compromise.
First, you find a significant other who likes to cook. Just kidding (although, seriously, it’s awesome, and I highly recommend one). I do a half-ass meal plan each week on Sunday night. I have a planner where I write out what I’m going to have for the week – JUST THE WEEK – for breakfast and my snacks (my fiance’ makes dinner each night, so that’s up to him). This saves me from having to think about things in the morning when I’m still waking up, and it gives me a structure for the week when I’m planning my work. Lunch is often leftover from dinner, so I don’t worry about writing it down, or I have a few staples I can rely on and rotate through, so I’m not stuck eating the same thing every day. No two weeks have been the same yet, so I don’t get bored.
Second, you find a few recipes for breakfast, snack, and dessert that make multiple servings and rotate through them. That will give you extra you can keep in the fridge without stacks and stacks of those silly meal containers. I have a growing list of recipe cards, and when I finish off one Rubbermaid container, I make something new. It works out great, and, again, I’m not getting bored. Also, I’m usually only making one or two things at a time, which only takes about an hour out of my day (max) – not the entire weekend. It’s usually an hour I need to get up and walk around and stretch, anyway, so it works out. The fridge only has one corner taken up at a time, and I get to keep my work on track – everyone wins.
It really is that simple!
We need variety in life – not just as writers, but as human beings. Most of us have routines, regardless of what kind of work that we do, and those routines can take a lot out of us. Whether you thrive on routine or not, it wears you down. You need to have a little color and dance in there to make your life meaningful.
So put down the thirty pounds of skinless chicken breast that is going to take away your entire Sunday to grill and consider just getting a few cans of tuna…unless you’re hosting a major get-together to celebrate an accomplishment. Then I say let’s hit Costco!