Planning Meals for Long Days

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My friend has recently started a new job, which is great, but this new job has a much longer commute and he is finding it hard to motivate himself to prepare proper meals in the evening when he is shattered. The result is that he eats junk food and feels even worse and more sluggish.

I’ve offered a few ideas to remedy the situation so we will see what works for him. For instance, my dad works ridiculous hours and often spends a Sunday afternoon cooking various meals in bulk to stick in the fridge and heat up before bed. Minimal effort- still a healthy and tasty meal. He often likes to tell me that he has four nights’ worth of casseroles, three of fish pie and five of veggie curry left, to prove he’s eating well.

Alternatively, my friend could try something I often do myself. If I know the meal the next day takes some preparation or I have the gym or something that means I’ll get home late and hungry, I take the time to prepare what I can the night before. My reasoning is that I’ve already got the chopping board dirty making tonight’s meal, so while the pan is bubbling away, instead of cracking on with the washing up, why don’t I quickly chop some chicken and put it to marinate in the fridge, or make a salad for lunch tomorrow. I’m not a morning person so I just wouldn’t bother with salad otherwise. Also, when I’m tired and hungry tomorrow night I’ll love past me for having started the meal off already so I don’t resort to suggesting takeaway.

I have also thrown together a rough two week meal plan with various options for modification and some suggestions of which elements could do for more than one meal (fried rice for Chinese out of the leftover boiled rice from the curry last night, etc.) I was wondering if maybe it’s that feeling of opening the fridge and being too tired to think what to make so just slobbing out instead. With a meal plan you don’t need to think, you just look at the list, find today’s meal and get everything out. It also makes food shopping way easier to have your meals planned out. I do this all the time. Every week I will plan meals for at least 6 days ahead, based on what we are doing that week and which nights we will want a quicker dinner. It means I can judge if we are eating a balanced diet and food shopping is a breeze because I know exactly what to get.

Hopefully one of these ideas will help and he will start to feel better about the new job!

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