Meal Planning. Grocery Shopping. Meal Preparation.
Each week I spend hours:
- Pouring through old and new recipes.
- Assigning meal ideas to specific calendar days.
- Creating a grocery list.
- Roaming the aisles looking for elusive ingredients.
- Finding space in my tiny fridge and pantry to store items.
- Preparing meals using my limited dishes.
- Eating dinner with my family and gathering their opinion, especially on new recipes.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
These responsibilities have been mine for years, yet the whole process can still overwhelm me. I won’t admit how many “boxed meals” I have served to my family. I didn’t have all the ingredients or enough time to prepare a scheduled meal. I love living in an RV, but am constrained by its smaller space for food storage and meal preparation.
There’s got to be a simpler way.
The idea immediately spoke to me.
Choose 33 items (foods and drinks) and make meals using those ingredients for three months.
Could limiting the ingredients I work with make this whole process easier?
The “Rules” for the Capsule Kitchen Challenge (via Be More With Less):
- Choose 33 ingredients counting food and drink (water doesn’t count).
- Add spices, condiments, and anything you like to pump up the flavor and don’t count them in your 33.
- Be specific when choosing your ingredients. Triscuits, not crackers. Lentils, not beans. Whole wheat penne, not pasta.
- This is not a project in suffering. If you need a cheat day once a month, take it. If you need to redo your list because you can’t make a meal from yours, change it. If you spend a week in Paris, eat a macaroon. Don’t let one excuse derail the entire challenge. Work around it.
- Get rid of a crutch or trigger food for 3 months. Examples may include sugar, flour, salt, alcohol, meat, dairy, animal products.
I’m not much of a rule-follower anymore so I’m focused on the this is not a project in suffering part. As I create my list I won’t stress if it turns out to be 28 or 40 items. I’m also not planning to exclude any particular foods.
My goal is to simplify.
- Look through our current ‘go-to’ recipes
- Create my list of ~33 ingredients
- Find other recipes that share those ingredients
- Use up my current non-list ingredients (vs. throwing them away)
- Shop to buy the ingredients I don’t have
- Begin the Capsule Kitchen plan
- Journal my progress here each day for 30 days
- Revisit my progress at 60 and 90 days
- Decide whether to continue with the Capsule Kitchen approach (but re-think the 33 items based on the new season)
Is Meal Planning A Challenge For You?
If so, join me on this 30-day challenge!
Feel free to use our comments to post what you think of the idea, or if doesn’t work for you. If you have your own blog, post a comment with a link to it.
Let’s stop spending so much time and energy deciding what to eat all the time!