RBE Week 1: On Planning To Not Starve

Okay — one week into the Re-Bachelorhood Experiment I’ve managed to not starve without having to resort to eating McD’s/In N Out or Chipotle every night. That’s a win. (I’m sure many of my single living friends are just smacking your foreheads at this point after having survived numerous years on your own just fine.)

In fact, I think I think I’ve got the basics down for a sustainable system going forward which will come in handy when the family gets back.

Meal Planning Requirements

First, let’s get down the requirements for sustainable meal planning:

  1. healthy
  2. time-efficient
  3. doesn’t break the bank

What is healthy? Since seeing a nutritionist little over a year ago to help me work off my Facebook-15 , I internalized a couple rules of thumb when it comes to eating somewhat better:

  • don’t drink your calories (no soda, energy drinks, milkshakes, bubble tea) etc.
  • stay away from carbs, esp. refined flour
  • veggies should be more than half of your plate
  • goes without saying that fast food and junk food is proscribed

Okay — so practically this means drink only water, avoid all breads, and eat lots of veggies ~= eats lots of salad. Do I always follow these rules? Heck no but at least it gives me a dietary “north star” to evaluate how well I’m managing my nutritional intake.

Time efficiency is still the major consideration because all things considered I’m alternatively a lazy bastard or a harried parent depending on absences/presence of kids and both means I don’t have a ton of time to slaving away on dinner. And finally, it goes without saying that cost-effectiveness is necessary for long run sustainability.

Trader Joe’s is Freakin’ Awesome.

Again my singleton friends are probably smacking their foreheads in disbelief as this is probably not a new revelation for them. Nonetheless this is a big deal for me, it’s like finding water in the dessert or oxygen source on Mars. For me it gets the job done — weekly visit to Joe’s and we’re done. Here’s how it breaks down:

Brekie: Bananas if on the run or Greek Yogurt + Oats/cereal if I have a little bit more time.

Lunch — Prepacked salads! Just grab 4 of these bad boys (work does lunch one day a week) and I’m good to go.

And the Lord said “Let there by salad at Trader Joe’s” for the hungry and calorie conscious and it was good.

Dinner — This was a little more tricky as I didn’t want to want do pre-packed salads here too. Luckily TJ’s had me covered again. Prewashed veggies — brussel sprouts, colored carrots, asparagus, corn, etc. All that stuff is good, healthy and most importantly, so yummy when roasted. So grab a whole bunch of veggies and prep for the rest of the week — cut, oil, season and good to go.

Prepped veggies for the week. In this case, it’s probably closer to 3 days — still need to adjust portioning.

The other magic ingredient is a special gift the missus left before her Asia Odyssey was the ActiFry — this makes roasted veggies quickly and easy — just drop it in and turn it on for 15 mins and we’re done. In fact, I hooked it up to Internet enabled power switch to I can start it up on the way home.

The finished product. Yummy yummy roast veggies.

Protein can similarly be addressed — I’m experimenting with drumsticks and fish steaks at this time. Can pre-prep and throw into the actifry or toaster oven right after getting home.

So all in all:

  • health: veggies and protein paleo-esque diet;
  • time efficient: 1 trip to TJ’s week, about 60 mins of work a week to prep and 20 mins duration cook time;
  • cost effective: I estimate about $40-$50 in groceries — cheaper than 3 drinks in the city on a Friday night.

I’m may not be Dr. Watney but I’m analyzing the sh$t out of my survival (he used his science degrees, I’ll use my MBA). So hopefully that addresses the table stakes of food for the rest of the 8 weeks. Onwards to next items to be addressed in the RBP.