A Meal Plan Success Story!

Prep day rainbow!

You know what I do sometimes? Write a rave review about something and then find myself giving it up not long after. Happened with hot yoga, which I still miss terribly but gave up for reasons I won’t go into here. But I really, really hope it doesn’t happen with Prep Dish, because after years of wishing I was the type of person who could stick to a meal plan and a grocery list I’ve finally found a system that works for me and that I still like after almost 2 months. That’s a record!

There are a few reasons why Prep Dish works for me, and of course I relate them all back to personality typing. I am an INFP/Enneagram 4 and we tend to be spontaneous, don’t like to plan things out, and value variety over routine. I’ve tried various approaches to meal planning, but the spontaneous, rebellious side of me always took over within a few weeks and I was back where I started. But Prep Dish helps me avoid this problem in a couple of ways:

  1. You do all the prep work on Sunday. That means that during the week, it takes less than 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. I’m not going to go off the plan if the work is already done and the food just needs to be reheated or assembled. The most rebellious I get is not making dishes on the day they are assigned, but I still make them all within the week.
  2. The grocery list. I’m not going into the store and just filling up the cart with our regular stuff, so that regular stuff is not in the house for me to be tempted to go off plan with.
  3. Prep Day is a great commitment device. If I have the willpower to do all the prep on Sunday, I don’t have to spend any more mental energy convincing myself to eat well and cook a decent dinner all the other days of the week. Prep day is the key difference with Prep Dish. It’s a commitment device that works to not only help us eat healthier but also to manage my time better.
  4. Variety. Every week is different and new. I admit I do miss cooking my old standby meals sometimes, but I can always fit them in as a substitute for something on the meal plan that I know my family won’t eat. For example, I subbed my family favorite meat sauce one week instead of the marinara sauce in the meal plan. But the fact that each week is different means I never feel bored or trapped by routine.

As I continue using Prep Dish I am learning how to adapt it to suit us. We have 2 adults and 3-4 kids living under our roof depending on the day of the week, so I have been surprised that rather than not having enough food (it’s meant to feed a family of 4), we often have too much food.

Jack, at 3 years old, doesn’t eat a lot or a great variety of things, so he often doesn’t eat the food I’ve made. Neither does Tom, who at 18 is too busy to be home most nights for dinner and is also a picky vegetarian. Those 2 kids often end up eating a couple of boxes of mac and cheese, which is easy enough to make while I’m prepping dinner.

Andrew and Alex aren’t inclined to eat a wide variety of veggies or salad so we often have too much left over. But now that I know that, I can just buy less and cut the recipes in half.

Also, not all the recipes are AMAZING but they are all good enough. I’ve not been using the service long enough to know how frequently recipes are repeated, but if there is something we just didn’t like I’ll know that in the future and can sub a different recipe that we did like. I also wish there were other options besides Paleo and Gluten Free (a ketogenic option would be amazing), as I do sometimes feel like the meals are TOO healthy to appeal broadly to all members of my family. But that’s a lot to ask for any meal plan that isn’t populated with your own recipes. Ultimately, I find that having a meal plan that I feel happy sticking to is worth more to me than eating ketogenic.

If I were an INFJ (or really any XXXJ type) I might be able to make my own meal plan with my own recipes and shopping list and follow it happily. But I’m not that way and I am very glad I found something that works for the type of person I am, rather than the type I wish I was.