Jell-O.
Pita chips.
Wine.
Ice cream.
Cheese.

Sad but true, the items (I won’t say “foods”) listed above have recently served as dinners for me. I’ll admit it aloud – I’m in a major food rut.

Much like other parts of my life, I envy my friends who seem to have it together when it comes to eating and meal planning. On one side of the spectrum, I have friends who plan two weeks of meals in advance, neatly typed on a menu on the fridge. On the other side, there’s me – justifying that macaroni and cheese isn’t so bad when compared to Jell-O and pita chips.

I sat down today and tried to plan one week of meals – unsuccessfully. I pored through cookbooks, sifted through my cabinets and all I came up with was a list of challenges (which is really a nice word for “excuses”).

So here we go:

Challenge/excuse #1: I have food allergies. This tends to rule out a number of options, especially of the frozen/convenient variety.

Challenge/excuse #2: I can be incredibly lazy after work sometimes. Lazy as in “yes, ice cream is an acceptable dinner.”

Challenge/excuse #3: I am a household of one. This is significant for a number of reasons. Most recipes are for 2-4-more people. And to be honest, fractions suck. I’ve found some recipes for one (or I make multiple servings and forget to eat the leftovers) but the amount of time dedicated to enjoy a meal by myself just doesn’t always seem very rewarding. Beyond the cooking, there’s the cleaning. Doing a sink-ful of dishes after cooking an elaborate meal for one is about the least fun thing ever.

Challenge/excuse #4: Food is expensive. While going through my cookbooks to find a week’s worth of recipes, I realized I would be purchasing about 65 items at the grocery store this weekend. And what’s worse is when I’m overambitious, buy said 65 items, cook one meal and all the unused produce-meat-seafood goes to waste that week.

Challenge/excuse #5: Some days, nothing appeals to me. Honestly, I can run through a list of 15 foods in my head and none of it sounds like something I feel like eating, let alone taking the time to prepare. Nothing is worse than spending an hour prepping and cooking a dinner to realize after two bites that you’re not in the mood to eat it.

Truth be told, I secretly want to be one of those super put-together people who eats mostly healthy meals (or at least meals which represent one of the food groups). I just am unsure how to do it, or more importantly, how to motivate myself. I truly enjoy the one “cooking experiment” I take on each week, but know I realistically don’t have the energy to do it on a daily basis. And, as I mentioned, I have run out of foods that interest me lately.

So friends – especially other singles – how do you do it? 

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