Are you happy with your current meal planning system?
If you are, then skip down to the recipe below.
If on the other hand, you’re like most people and struggle with the whole meal planning thing… gather ’round because I have a treat for you.
But before we get to that, lets look at the reasons why you should ditch conventional meal planning ‘wisdom’.
5 reasons you shouldn’t plan your meals in advance
1. It’s almost impossible to predict what you’ll feel like.
It could be that the weather turns unpredictably cold and you feel like something warming and comforting rather than the light salad you had planned. Or maybe your day ends up dragging on forever and the last thing you feel like when you get home is spending the time required to prepare the meal in your ‘plan’.
2. Your schedule and plans are probably going to change.
Modern life can be unpredictable. It’s far more likely that something will come up. Given this variability, isn’t it a little bit too much to ask that we plan in advance when we know the plan is probably going to change anyway?
3. Planning in advance take a lot of time.
I know, because I used to spend a few hours every week, looking through my cookbooks and magazines and writing detailed lists. And then there was the time spent gathering my exotic ingredients.
4. It can lead to a lot of waste.
There are a few components to this. It could be your plans change so you don’t get to cook the ingredients you have and they go bad. Then there are the leftover bits of ingredients that were purchased for a specific recipe that are tricky to ‘use up’.
5. It stifles creativity.
Traditional meal planning and shopping with a list limits your ability to choose your produce based on what looks best on the day. It also limits your options of what to cook, rather than having the fun of cooking something based on what you have in the fridge or pantry.
What if there was another way to approach meal planning?
Well the good news is there is!
You just need to learn how to ‘reverse’ the process.
It may sound scary, but in fact it’s a really liberating way of approaching meal planning. Much quicker and easier than traditional meal planning.
For the last few months, I’ve been teaching students at The Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School how to ‘reverse’ their meal planning with my 2-Minute Meal Plan System.
When I asked my students whether they have been able to achieve the results they were hoping for with this new meal plan system, the overwhelming majority answered ‘Yes!’.
So how does the 2-Minute Meal Plan work?
Basically there are two key components…
2 Keys to the 2-Minute Meal Plan System:
1. A super simple ‘formula’ to help you figure out how much food you’ll need to buy.
The formula I’ve developed is really quick and easy to work out. If you can count, you’ll be able to do this in your head.
It tells you how many types of protein (or main events) and vegetables to buy. This gives you the freedom to shop for what looks best, rather than having a rigid list.
The formula helps get the quantity right so you don’t end up with more than you need. While still giving you as much flexibility as you need. If you’d prefer to have a few specific recipes in mind before you shop, the formula will help with that as well.
2. The collection of ‘template’ recipes.
These help you learn to cook based on the ingredients you have on hand. Freeing you from the constraints of traditional recipes.
It includes general templates for how to make different classic dishes. For example a great stir fry, a quick soup or a fragrant curry. Each template comes with suggestions for variations so you’ll be able to adapt them to the ingredients on hand. It’s a way to learn to cook more creatively, while still having a basic recipe to follow.
Ready to reverse YOUR meal planning process?
I’m super excited to announce that the 2-Minute Meal Plan System is now ready.
To pick up a copy today, go to:
Tabbouleh is a wonderfully fresh Lebanese salad traditionally made with burghul (cracked wheat). This gluten-free version not only tastes super fresh, it’s also higher in protein.
In the photo I’ve used red lentils, but any lentils can be used.
1/2 cup (125g / 5z) lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
handful mint leaves
small handful natural almonds
1. Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover generously with water. Bring to the boil.
2. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until lentils are al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.
3. Meanwhile, combine vinegar with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season.
4. Finely chop the parsley stems and coarsely chop the leaves.
5. Toss drained lentils in the dressing with the herbs. Serve with almonds sprinkled over.
short on time? – use a drained can of lentils.
traditional tabbouleh – replace lentils with burghul that has ben soaked in water for a few hours then drained and tossed in the dressing.
different lentils – French style or ‘puy’ lentils will need to be simmered a little longer, around 15 minutes.
split-peas – use green or yellow split peas. Simmer for 25-35 minutes or until tender.
no rice vinegar? – lemon juice, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar are all good substitutes.
more substantial – to turn this into a meal on its own, just double the almonds or toss in some cooked protein like grilled chicken thighs or a drained can of tuna. Also lovely with a poached or fried egg.
nut-free – replace the almonds with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes.
video version of the recipe