Roasted Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls
Meal planning seems to be everything these days. I can’t open my blog feed or a magazine without seeing an article on how to conquer the work week through the art of meal planning. And while it is a royal pain in the ass (there, I said it), it does prevent three annoying issues I run into if I forgo it.
1. Having no idea what to buy at the store. This weekend, I wandered into my local Trader Joe’s and did that really annoying thing where I just took up real estate in front of shelves staring and noncommittally turning over packages of food in my hands. It got to be so bad, that a a fresh-faced employee came up and with legitimate concern in her eyes asked if I was finding everything okay. Translation? “It’s prime time on Saturday and you’re in everyone’s way, lady. Put that yogurt dip in your cart and just move on!”
Lesson: If you’re armed with a plan and a list, you’ll waste way less time contemplating your existence as an omnivore in crowded supermarket aisles. You also don’t wind up with a cart full of random ingredients that look more like a mystery basket on Chopped than cohesive meals waiting to be made.
2. Impulse buying. Unlike my partner, I don’t wake up extra early each day so that I can sit and have a leisurely breakfast like a civilized adult. I’m just not programmed that way, and never have been. Instead, I roll out of bed, swipe on some mascara and dash to work, where the sweet siren song of the coffee shop beckons five minutes before I have to be at my desk. Granted, they make killer bacon sandwiches and cappuccinos…but all that comes at a steep price that leaves me feeling both bloated and skint.
Lesson: While the fogginess of sleep or hunger is not ruling your brain, take just a few minutes to think of what will fuel your day. Then make that a reality on a weekend afternoon with some batch cooking. Throw on a podcast, roll up your sleeves and put your oven to work. The more often you do this, the faster it goes – honest! A good tupperware collection doesn’t hurt, either. You’ll feel like a champ when Monday morning rolls around and you open your fridge to find your own personal mini-mart waiting inside.
3. Getting in over your head. For a hot minute, I was a recipe tester on the side, which meant I came home every night from work to even more work. I was at the mercy of the recipes I was testing, both in interest and time spent at the stove. Once I was free from that obligation, I rebounded in the worst way. By only wanting to make the most delicious things I had been bookmarking from the interwebs the past few months, I ended up spending the same amount of time in the kitchen as I had been, if not more so.
Lesson: Once I accepted how unsustainable Coq au Vin on a weeknight was, I sat down once a week and looked at recipes with a more critical eye. If a recipe seems like it really can be made in thirty minutes flat, it’s a contender. If it looks like it’ll take longer but offers significant hands off time that will allow for a shower or some couch time, it’s still in the running. Whatever you do, put any recipes you choose to work for you!
I hope these tips were helpful, and maybe even got you thinking about ways you can make meal planning a great tool for you. If you’ve got any tips you want to share, we’d love to hear them!