So it has been a while. I decided to work out of the house again and have very little free time. Ironically I’ve been cooking more meals than usual because I have to make three meals for me and the resident toddler and two meals for the hubby every day. That’s two lunch bentos five days a week. Some people in this situation would sit down and plan meals at least a week in advance but I don’t really like planning down to the last meal. I’ve decided to map the options out and keep a well-stocked fridge. I’m more of a look in the fridge and whip something up person than a find a recipe and then buy everything for that recipe person. I usually just keep the crisper stocked with lots of fruit and vegetables and keep a bit of meat and fish in the house. I should mention that I keep a well stocked pantry (for Japanese sized kitchens).
I am a lover of mind mapping so this medium felt really natural. Everything is on one page and flows from the center. If you are unfamiliar with mind mapping go here and learn. I made this mind map on my iPad using Mindjet Maps.
Meal mind mapping
- Brainstorm a list of the types of foods you can make (i.e. pasta, soups, grilled protein, etc.)
- Brainstorm options for each list – don’t go in order just write what comes to you. If you need more ideas for your list, use the internet. If you are not a cook keep the links to the food you find for easy reference. You can further organize categories into subcategories (i.e. blended soups, miso soups, broth soups, etc.).
- Take a look at what you have brainstormed and make a general list of the dry goods you need to have in the house so your options are flexible. Buy these when you find them on sale.
- Make a second, more organized draft and put it on your fridge.
- Use it as a reference for when you are busy or don’t know what to make.
Keep adding to and revising your mind map. It is alive. Your first mind map will be a mess. The pretty ones you see in a google image search are not first drafts. As you get used to mind mapping you will start to be able to organize your information well earlier in the process. After years of mind mapping, I usually get the categories right on the first draft but keep in mind that my mind loves organizing.
- keep your fridge stocked with vegetables
- keep some protein in the fridge/freezer
- keep your dry goods stocked up