Ben Rigas

First world problems about food

4:00pm on any given weekday from Sarah:

“What do you want for dinner? I don’t know, what do you think? No, not that. How about this? Ok, we have everything we need for that but eggs, I think. Can you stop by the store after work and get some?”

5:30pm on any given weekday from me:

“I haven’t left work yet, won’t be able to leave for another 30 minutes at least. Can you make something else for the kids and we’ll eat later when I bring home the eggs? Oh, you can just do some frozen something ok we’ll just go to the store tomorrow.”

We used to just wing it, picking up enough for tonight’s meal and maybe some stuff for tomorrow. This works most of the time, but it added stress trying to decide at the last minute (especially with picky kids that don’t always eat what we do). We would also throw out a lot of food, wasting food and money. There’s enough to worry about every day, so why not eliminate something as simple as meal planning and grocery shopping?

This year we’re trying something a little different, we’re going to try to be as boring as possible and have a weekly routine. For the last 4 weeks, we’ve been shopping on Sunday for the whole week’s meals. We eat the same meal for dinner on the same day of the week: baked chicken on Sunday, red beans and rice on monday, ratatouille on tuesday, turkey meatloaf on wednesday, salmon on thursday, then we order in or go out on Friday and Saturday nights. We make enough food for me to take in for lunch the next day, except for Friday which is my designated go out for lunch day.

Our grocery list is pretty much the same every week, so we have a giant list in Clear that we reuse every week. There’s no worrying if we have enough of something during the middle of the week. We get our shopping done faster, because we know what we get every week and we can optimize for that. We’re still slacking when it comes to budgeting, but getting the same groceries all the time makes a variable expense a little more fixed.

Even though we cook the same thing every week, we do get to experiment to try to improve the recipes. For example, Sarah wants to cut out gluten from her diet, so we dropped the pasta from the ratatouille but everything else is the same so it’s really just a small change.

It seems like such a small thing, but the end result is pretty significant: less stress and more free time. Over time I’m sure we’ll improve the process to allow for some more variety, but we’re eating well and have one less source of constant stress.