A large part of minimizing, is streamlining the basic maintenance tasks of life. Basically, making chores and tasks simpler so we can get them done and get back to doing the things we want to do, back to our passions. In no other aspect of life it this easier than in our preparation of meals.
We have got to eat; there is no way around that. It’s necessary for survival. But as humans many of us spend an excessive amount of time to prepare meals. There is: grocery shopping, storing food, cooking, preparing, then of course eating. The only thing we actually want to do in all of this is eat the food. And it’s not even that we want to do it, it’s that we need to. Everything before that, is just necessary steps to getting to that final destination. So the question is: Can we shorten or even eliminate any of those steps leading up to eating.
I’ve got one word to sum up a better way to acquire and prepare food: BULK
That’s right, bulk. Why do a chore twice a week for a small amount, when we can do it once a week for twice that amount? (rhetorical). We save great time by doing it this way, and often save money as well.
Let’s start at the beginning. With grocery shopping.
First, don’t go grocery shopping hungry. We tend to buy too much excess food we seldom eat because our hunger compels us to (junk food). Or worse; we buy the excess food and we DOOOOO eat it.
Second, shop to stock up on enough supplies so that we don’t have to shop again for a long time; buy in bulk. There are many grocery stores that have food and food supplies that they sell in bulk. Stores like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sam’s Club, and Costco exist for that purpose. By shopping this way we save time in not making multiple trips to the grocery store. We save money in gas money for those trips. Also, buying in bulk is just cheaper because food companies want you to buy more. So to make their product more attractive it will always be cheaper to buy one twelve pack of an item than it would be to buy twelve singles.
Food storage is the next task.
Unfortunately there is nothing seemingly minimalist about this minimalist’s food storage recommendation. My advice is simply: “Have enough space to store all these bulk items.”
“But Anthony, is not the idea of minimalism to reduce the amount of clutter in our homes/lives?” Not exactly. Minimalism, is eliminating the things in our lives that add no value to it. There are few things more valuable to us than food we intend to eat. That’s just survival.
Now for cooking.
Cook in bulk. In my home we take a couple of hours on Sunday to make a batch of food for the entire week. Slow cookers (Crock Pot) are good for this purpose. This usually doesn’t allow for much variety, but variety isn’t the goal here. Good health is. We eat to live, not live to eat people. 2 hours on a Sunday to cook beats 30 minutes all seven days of the week.
Or, we could just avoid cooking altogether. That’s right, we can eat fresh food from the vine. Fruits and vegetables. Sometimes all we need for a healthy meal is an apple, banana, blueberries, and small cup of yogurt. Heck, this is healthier than anything we can cook. To learn more, read up on the benefits of eating living food vs dead food. Get our enzymes.
Being that we have cooked for the week all at once, we now have to portion it out. Containers containers containers …….. containers. Whether we use Tupperware or gladlock, make sure they seal well. Make sure we have enough of them. Personally I prefer Pyrex. Rubber and plastic are porous and therefore bacteria traps. But Pyrex is like glass, except extremely durable; neigh indestructible.
For those who are “9 to 5’ers” like me, I cannot stress enough the benefits of preparing your lunches at home and bringing them to work. Buying meals at work is a waste of money. For $10 in food items at the grocery store we can make enough meals for all 5 working days. If we order food at our jobs we could spend on average $10 each working day. So that’s $10*5=$50 a week. That is a $40 savings.
I am a big fan of low maintenance natural food. And I am by no means, a morning person; I’m a night owl. So during the weekdays I don’t even get up with enough time to prepare breakfast. NO WAY. But I do appreciate the importance of getting a good breakfast. It is for this reason that I keep oatmeal packets in my desk at work. When I go to work I bring my lunch box with my pre-prepared lunch and a banana. For breakfast I have my oatmeal and a banana (easy to prepare). For lunch, I microwave or broil in the toaster oven (just to reheat) whatever meal I put together on Sunday. Easy, not time-consuming, and Cheap. The only price we pay is in storage.