Before law school I made a really big meal prep calendar for myself because I figured I wouldn't have time in school to meal prep and would default to pasta every day. (Accurate.)
I have never been diligent at meal prepping because the task requires so many subtasks:
- Predicting what food I'll be in the mood for in the future?!
- Finding a recipe, checking the reviews, wading through ads if online - Parsing through fresh items and pantry items in the ingredient list - Checking for ingredients I already have - Physically going to the store (or arranging online grocery service) - At the store, converting amounts listed in a recipe to the units available for purchase - Balancing the desires for food to be: tasty, affordable, healthy, ethical, seasonally appropriate, different than last week ?!!
I know these tasks are easy in isolation. For some reason doing them all together every week is incredibly onerous for me. I hate even having the thought "meal planning is onerous" because I am so grateful to have access to food and I delight in food. I guess all those ingredient delivery services became successful by recognizing this tension. I can't justify using those services as a law student. If you're in a similar boat, hey, here's the meal prep calendar. Maybe you'll like it too.
It's a Google Calendar link, so you'll need a Google account. I've formatted it so it's a recipe formatted as a calendar event every Sunday, roughly proportioned to last for a week of lunches or dinners. There is a different recipe every week of the year, then the year repeats five times. All recipes are vegetarian, many are vegan. Most of the recipes are for the Instant Pot because it's so easy to use and clean. (But some recipes are elaborate because they're worth it.) Below each week's recipe is a "backup" recipe - rice and beans. (The rice and beans both go in the pot DRY and AT THE SAME TIME in this recipe. Wild! But 22 minutes isn't long enough, add more time.)
Recipes loosely follow seasonality of ingredients and holidays. They vary in palate every week maybe to a comic degree but whatever.
The body of the calendar event is a shopping list with ingredients listed in units available at the store. Recipes are separated with the fresh ingredients you'll probably have to buy at the top and pantry ingredients (which for me includes jars of garlic, ginger and veg bouillon in the fridge) at the bottom in a predictable order so it's easier to check what you have before you leave. The calendar doesn't show up well on apps except for the Google Calendar app. A PDF of just the recipe is attached for when you're cooking and there's a link to the source with all its narrative and pictures (and ads) if you're into that.
Everyone has such different tastes, so I share this without any expectation that it will be that useful to anyone else. But hey, I already made it so why not share. If you make one of these recipes, write in!