The great food logistics optimization part 1: Building the weekly menus

As we state in the blog’s description, one of the main goals of this blog is to free up your time resources for fun stuff by minimizing the time needed for taking care of mundane, boring chores. One of the most time-consuming chores is managing food logistics because typically people need to eat several times a day. We all know how painful it is to do grocery shopping when you’re hungry after a long day at work and how easily you also end up buying something unhealthy in your hazy state. Most times you also don’t have enough brain capacity left to think a few days ahead but rather you simply buy what you need for tonight and then tomorrow you’ll be facing the same dilemma again 🙂

The original inspiration for this blog post came from Graeme Simsion’s super funny novel ”The Rosie Project”. (If you enjoy the sense of humor in this blog, you’ll be laughing out loud while reading this book) The main character Don, an Asperger type professor, has a magnificent food logistics system: He eats every week exactly the same meals on each weekday. This method has several positive sides:

  • Planning the menu neves takes times because Don always knows the meal of the day for each weekday
  • Cooking is really fast and requires minimum cognitive capacity as Don already knows all the recipes really well
  • There is very little food wastage as all the ingredients are regularly used for these meals and Don knows very well the needed quantities

We had talked about it several times with Tommi that a similar system would make total sense but when it was still just the two of us, our everyday life was less regular. After our son joined our family, we were motivated to fix this thing as we now spend much more time at home in the evenings and as the new family member also dramatically decreases the available free time, so there’s a bigger need for optimization. Optimizing the food logistics includes several parts, which we’ll go through in separate blog posts. This is the first part.

The first phase consists of building the weekly menus. When we thought about it, we quite often cook the same meals anyway so why wouldn’t we do it consciously? We don’t really mind eating the same meals repeatedly on ordinary weekdays, as long as they taste good and are nutritious. On the weekends you can then have fun with new recipes or go eat at a restaurant. However we did feel that eating the same meals every week would be a bit too dull, but that we could manage with a 4-week circulation system 🙂

So in this first part we chose alltogether 20 tasty and easy recipes. When choosing the meals we made sure to have good variation between different types of foods. After this we divided them to 4 weeks that each week would include 1 salad, 1 soup, a few meals that are fried or cooked in the oven and that there is enough variation between meals that include chicken, fish, meat and vegetarian options. We collected all recipes to a Google Drive folder as separate word files. Word type of file makes it easier to improve the recipes once you’ve tested them. 🙂

So the first part is simply about choosing the recipes and dividing them to different weeks. So even if you don’t do cooking, you can use the same logic for food delivery services (in Finland we have e.g. Epic, Wolt ja Foodora). Most likely you anyway have your favorite restaurants and favorite meals that you usually order. By building fixed weekly menu plans, you don’t have to use cognitive capacity to plan meals. You can simply send out the daily order 🙂

You can find an example of the menu plan in this folder, in the excel you see the even division of the recipes between ingredients and types and in powerpoint an overview to be printed.