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Simple Eating: How I Save Money, Reduce Stress + Spend Less Time in the Kitchen

Do you hate meal planning? Is dinnertime always stressful in your house? Do you waste a lot of money on food that never gets eaten? If so, then I want to share a solution that has made a HUGE difference in my life: simple eating.

Simple eating is inspired by my minimalist lifestyle and—as someone who really dislikes cooking—it has been a lifesaver. I’m rarely stressed about meals, I save a TON of money, I’ve reclaimed my evenings, and as an added bonus, I’ve even started eating healthier.

Does this sound too good to be true? I promise it’s not! Keep reading to learn more about my minimalist eating philosophy and how you can apply it in your own kitchen.

save money, reduce stress, and spend less time in the kitchen

Note: I originally published this post in 2015, but I’ve since updated it (2023) to reflect my lifestyle changes and to provide more practical examples.

Why I Don’t Meal Plan

Before I begin, I feel like I should tell you a bit more about what didn’t work for me: meal planning.

Now, I know that there are a ton of people who love meal planning, and it works really well for them. If you’re one of those people, then that’s fantastic! I’m glad you found a system that works for you and your family.

But meal planning did NOT work for me, and I’m guessing I’m probably not alone. Here are a few reasons why:

First of all, I like to eat what I’m in the mood for. This was my biggest problem—if I was in the mood for Mexican and I had planned to have pasta, I’d be really annoyed. I’m not good at making myself do things I don’t really want to do, so I’d usually abandon my meal plan and go out for tacos instead!

Also, I needed more flexibility. Not only did I want to be flexible about what type of food I was going to eat, but I also needed to be more flexible about when I ate it.

For example, at my old job, I often worked late, and by the time I got home, I’d be too tired to cook whatever was on the plan that night. Instead, I’d find something else to eat, which would throw everything off, and by the end of the week, there would be wasted food.

Finally, meal planning didn’t work for me because I didn’t enjoy it. I know that if I tried harder, I probably could have overcome these obstacles. I could have been more organised, did more food prep, etc.— but ultimately, I didn’t have the motivation.

Meal planning just didn’t fit with the lifestyle that I wanted for myself. Again, this isn’t to say that meal planning is bad, but it wasn’t for me.

I knew there had to be a different way, so I started to rethink my approach to meals.

Introducing Minimalist Eating

A minimalist approach to food

Around this same time, I was learning a lot about minimalism, and I started taking steps to simplify my closet. Part of the process was creating a capsule wardrobe.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the term, the idea is simple: you have a small closet full of pieces that you love that can easily be mixed and matched. It takes the stress out of getting dressed because you don’t have to plan or worry too much about what goes with what.

Instead, you can feel confident that most anything you pull out will go together—plus you know that you’ll love whatever you pick because you only keep items that you love!

With this in mind, I started to wonder if I could take a similar approach in my kitchen.

Instead of planning meals, could I create a “capsule kitchen” full of foods I love and use “food uniforms” to make mealtimes easier?

The answer is yes, and here’s how minimalist eating works.

The capsule kitchen

The idea behind a capsule kitchen is simple: stock your home full of “go-to” foods that you know you love eating instead of shopping for meals.

This is what it looks like for me:

  • a pantry stocked with my favourite basics (rice, ramen noodles, beans and tortillas)
  • seasonal fruit and vegetables
  • cheese, eggs, and a small portion of meat
  • a selection of my favourite condiments and spices*

*For condiments and spices, I have a few “flavour families” I always turn to. (Again, with the fashion analogy, these are like your favourite accent colours!) These include Mexican (cumin, chilli, lime), Asian (soy sauce, ginger, sriracha) or good old garlic and herbs.

I rarely shop with any particular meals in mind, and I only use a list to remind me if I’ve run out of any pantry essentials. I usually buy one big portion of meat for the week (like a lamb roast), which I’ll cook early in the week, and then we have a little every day. For fruit, veg, cheese, etc. I generally buy less than I think I need, and I always make sure I love everything I buy.

That last bit is so important and the key to making this work!

If you enjoy eating everything you buy (and you don’t overshop), you won’t end up with food wastage. Since we’re not worrying about recipes or having “planned meals”, you can make whatever you buy work with almost anything.

Your food uniform

Next, yet another fashion analogy!

There are a lot of people within the minimalist community who embrace the concept of a personal uniform. A personal uniform is basically just a signature look—a “go-to” style that you wear all the time.

For example, when the weather’s cool, my personal uniform is skinny jeans, oversized tops and ankle boots. It’s a look I love, and I know that on any given day, I will feel good wearing it.

Of course, I can mix things up with different accessories or by adding layers, but ultimately, the foundations of my outfit are usually the same.

A food uniform works exactly the same way.

There are a few basic “food structures” I know I love eating—stir-fries, salads, bowls (see link below), tacos—so I make these the foundation of almost every meal. These are all super easy and quick to make, even for someone with my limited cooking skills!

All I have to do is pick a uniform and then add to it from my capsule pantryand I’ve got yummy meals with almost no effort or planning!

If you’re really new to cooking (honestly, I think I was 25 before I learned to cook a stir fry, so don’t feel bad!) or if you want some resources to help you establish your food uniform, here are some articles that might help you:

These articles will help you with the basics but remember the whole point of simple eating is you don’t have to follow a recipe. Just keep it simple and eat what you like!

Ready for some real-world examples? Keep reading!

A woman wearing blue jeans and a stripped button up top holding a wicker bag full of fresh vegetables.

Shopping for food

Let’s start with food shopping because I know this is stressful for a lot of people.

As I mentioned, there are some things I always keep in my house, including rice, beans, noodles, tortillas, certain spices and condiments. I usually only shop for these things about once a month, and because I’ve been buying the same things for so long, I rarely need a list. I often do this shop online to make things even easier!

Then each week, I usually buy the following from the supermarket:

  • one portion of meat (like a lamb roast or a whole chicken—something I can cook once at the start of the week) – Overall, this means we don’t eat a lot of meat. We definitely aren’t vegetarians, and we eat meat at most meals, but it’s not the hero of our meals. A 1kg roast might seem like a lot, but it’s not when you spread it out over a week. This saves a ton of money and actually makes cooking easier too.
  • cheese – I usually buy a block of cheddar as part of my big monthly shop but will get a small portion of something special each week to “accessorise” my meals!
  • yoghurt and eggs

I’m also fortunate to live down the road from a great farmer’s market, so this is where I buy most of my fruit and vegetables. I rarely have a list, but I usually have a rough budget in mind. I buy whatever is in season that I know my family will love.

Right now, it’s usually a mix of potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, onions, peppers, apples and bananas.

Again, I have no plan for what I’m going to use this food for when I buy it— this is where my food uniform comes into play!

Simple Eating In Action

On any given day, I generally start by deciding which of my “food uniforms” I feel like eating.

Let’s say I’m in the mood for tacos. I go to my fridge, grab whatever meat or vegetables I feel like, toss them in a pan with a bit of cumin and chilli, and serve with lime and tortillas!

What I’ve found is that if I have the basics (some spices and tortillas) is that I can add almost anything. I’ve had cauliflower tacos, egg and bean tacos, steak tacos—I’m pretty sure I’ve put almost everything in a taco! It’s a great way to clean out the fridge.

The same applies to stir-fries, salads or bowls. I choose a base, add meat and veggies, and then “accessorise” with spices, cheese, sauces, etc. Just like a capsule wardrobe, you can mix and match almost anything.

Here’s an example of a recent lunch—I had cleaned out the fridge (leftover black beans, tomatoes and spinach), added onions and frozen corn (staples) and served on toast!
Here’s an example of a recent lunch—I had just cleaned out the fridge (leftover black beans, tomatoes and spinach), added onions and frozen corn (staples) and served on toast!

Here are more examples:

  • stir fry with noodles, chicken, broccoli, cabbage, and onions—add sweet soy sauce and sriracha sauce
  • bowl with rice, eggs, beans, peppers, and cabbage—add cheese and avocado
  • salad with spinach, chicken, potatoes, carrots, and beans—add cheese and dressing
  • the possibilities are virtually endless—just mix and match!

It very rarely takes me longer than 30 minutes to make dinner and usually a lot less. It’s usually just a bit of chopping and then tossing it into a pan or the oven.

If this sounds simple, it’s because it IS simple!

In fact, I’m sure there is probably someone reading this thinking—what’s the big deal? I do this all the time.

But for me, knowing that I didn’t have to make real “meals” (meaning something you’d find in a cookbook) was a huge mindset shift. I gave myself permission to make things easy and realised that I didn’t need to cook certain types of meals to be a good wife or a good mum.

Want to learn more about minimalism and simplifying your life? Here are a few popular posts you might enjoy:

Simple Eating article continues below.

A minimalist kitchen with black cupboards, here is a wooden cutting board with carrots, kale, and ginger on a white countertop, a carton of brown eggs, a sink, and a black faucet all in front of a large window.

A Few More Simple Eating Tips

I personally don’t do any food prep ahead of time, but I will often do it as I go. For example, if I’m going to use some chicken on a Monday, I’ll cook it all at once. It makes things easier throughout the week. Sames goes with chopping vegetables; if I need a bit of broccoli, I’ll go ahead and chop it all.

I found this is a really good balance for me. I’m a little bit prepared without having to be too organised!

If you’re worried about getting bored, mix up the flavours—not the structure. I honestly eat tacos 2-3 times a week, but I don’t get bored because I mix things up with sauces, spices, vegetables etc.

Remember the capsule wardrobe analogy; a white t-shirt and jeans can be mixed to make 100 different outfits if you get creative! Changes your shoes, and your handbag, add a scarf, put on a sweater—the possibilities are endless. The same applies to minimalist eating!

Have a “use it up” shelf in your fridge. Put leftovers or anything that needs to be eaten soon on this shelf so you don’t forget about it.

One tip to help you clear this shelf is to have what I call a “platter meal”. I grab my biggest cutting board and clean out the fridge: some leftover chicken, carrot sticks, hardboiled eggs, a bit of cheese, maybe some nuts and bread on the side.

As always, it doesn’t matter what I grab because it’s all food that I know my family loves to eat.

Don’t be afraid of an empty fridge. The goal of simple eating is to eat everything you buy! An empty fridge at the end of the week is a good sign because it means you are not wasting food!

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How Eating Simply Has Changed My Life

First and foremost, simple eating saves me a lot of money.

Before simplifying my eating habits, I would always buy too much food. If you’re not organised (like me), cooking set meals means buying lots of different ingredients, and so often, I use a tiny bit for a recipe, and then the rest would go to waste.

Or if I didn’t plan well (which was always), I’d end up with a ton of food in my fridge that I didn’t know what to do with. I wasted SO MUCH food!

When I began to practise minimalist eating, I started buying a lot less—but it was never a problem because we actually ate it all! We also eat out a lot less often, and that made a huge impact on our budget (and helped us become debt-free!).

Another benefit of simple eating is I’m actually eating healthier too. Although my intention was not to go on a diet, simplifying my meals helped me lose the last 5kgs I’d been hanging onto for years. I think this is because vegetables are the core of my diet now and again, I’m not eating out as often as I used to.

Finally, the number one benefit of simple eating is how little time and effort I spend cooking and food shopping. I’m usually in and out of the supermarket in less than 20 minutes, I don’t plan meals, and I no longer spend hours in the kitchen. This is time saved that I now spend with my loved ones, writing or taking care of myself.

What do you think? Would simple eating work for you? Let me know in the comments! x

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76 thoughts on “Simple Eating: How I Save Money, Reduce Stress + Spend Less Time in the Kitchen”

  1. Dear Jennifer, I recently found your website and have found many interesting articles. But when I saw this article about spending less time in the kitchen, I knew this was written just for me! I am a widow and retired so it’s only me now, and I snack a lot. After raising four children (and all their friends), I just don’t know how to cook for one person. Even with two of us, it was not easy for me. It helped that my husband loved to cook, which I never did. The ideas in this article are so easy that I wonder why I didn’t see it before. I throw away so much food, because I think I will need it, but I am never as hungry at mealtime as I think I will be. So much waste! I have felt guilty over this for years. So happy to hear that I don’t actually have to love cooking. And I will be eating heathy meals as well. Thank you so much!

  2. Love the article! My husband is French and has always cooked like this. Good quality ingredients with a few “accessories” as you say can make fantastic meals. Plus our cabinets are not filled with spices and ingredients we used just once for one specific recipe. Let’s hope I can apply the same idea in my closet… !

  3. I meal plan but I just pick 7 meals each week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then just choose what I feel like making that day. I enjoy cooking and baking and making different foods so I couldn’t just eat the same foods every week, that sounds boring to me. We do eat some meals a couple times a month but every week doesn’t have the same meals. That’s nice this works for you but I think I’ll stick with my own plan.

  4. I’ve been trying for years to meal plan, but generally default to cooking like this and I have always felt like I was failing. Thank you so much for sharing! No I understand that meal planning doesn’t have to be the only way.

  5. This article is definitely a great way to simply meals. This was exactly what I need to read today. My husband and I have been on a keto diet and tomorrow we return to a normal diet. Meals and meal planning has been hard on keto, but today as I started to think about normal meals and meal planning again it was very overwhelming. I have been trying to simplify all other areas of my life but here I alway fall short. I am excited to try these ideas to simple eating. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks so much for this article! I love the idea of “capsule” eating. I’ve wasted so much food trying to plan meals when there are so many ingredients.

  7. Oh dear this is just so unrealistic for me. Don’t take me wrong I loved reading this and it sounds great! I feel like I spend way too much time in the kitchen. But I know I have very picky eaters, not a big variety of fruits and vegetables, not fans of prefrozen meals and raised in german households which meant 2-3 meals with meat a day. Not easy on the budget either especially having friends and family over very often. Meal planning and weekly shopping right now works best!

  8. Hey.. I have gone back to this article on and off for a couple years.. could you please add another update and show us maybe a full day of eating. Not in a calories or eat like me way.. but… a this is how I assemble my different meals from my capsule pantry way.. love all that you do!!

  9. I “sort of” do something like that. I’m also into spontaneous eating, but unfortunately, I don’t like tacos. I cook a vat of one thing once a week & freeze in portions that will each make several meals.

    Once a month, or so, I go to our Co-Op and buy several bunches each of organic kale, collards, etc., which I chop roughly after cutting out the stems. Then I saute/steam all I bought in olive oil on very low heat and then freeze into about 2-3 meal portions each..

    I have top or bottom round roasts ground up and then I season & cook it all at once & freeze into different size portions (Spaghetti-VegSoup vat size, beef & mushroom on toast or stroganoff sizes, etc.) and into the freezer – leaving out enough to make spaghetti right now while my giant pot is hot. I make organic vegetable soup by the vat, too & freeze what soup I won’t finish that week. When I make soup for the month (or more), I keep out enough veggies to make a few fresh stir-frys (God bless the food processor for slicing & chopping). Chicken or Pork I do buy fresh, they don’t grind well and with any raw meat, the cells freeze and burst and all the juice runs out when it is thawed. You can freeze them after cooking, but they are usually gone the week they are cooked. When I cook these, like you, I generally cook all I have at once and use during the week from the fridge.

    Aldi’s sells a bag of frozen shrimp without additives, already de-veined and cooked that is absolutely delicious – best shrimp I’ve ever tasted – perfect texture – I keep several bags of these shrimp in my freezer. When I feel like shrimp, I thaw a bag in the refrigerator, drain & dry, and refrigerate with a paper towel in with it – good for 2 or 3 meals.

    I know it sounds like a bit of work, but it’s just once or twice a month, and then whenever I’m hungry, the most I have to do is put something in my little oven to heat (or make a stir-fry). Or eat straight from the fridge. I can have veg. soup or spaghetti for breakfast if I feel like it – with no cooking at all. There is always something homemade and ready-to-eat in my fridge. When I’ve eaten all my collard greens or kale, I just move one from freezer to fridge. I do have to boil a package of pasta if I’m eating spaghetti that week (what I use is made from black beans (black beans, water, sea salt) – black pasta looks a little strange, but it’s good.

    When I get bagels, for instance, since I like them toasted with organic butter, I slice them all, butter them, wrap them individually in Gladwrap’s Press’n-seal & pop them in the freezer.

    I pretty much only cook once or twice a MONTH, which isn’t bad, considering what I’m eating: homemade spaghetti sauce on black bean pasta, homemade organic vegetable soup, organic dark greens (kale, collards, spinach, swiss chard). Oh, and field peas and lentils- I make a vat of those also as needed. And Salmon patties – I cook those when my son visits because together, we can make about 60 or so and sit on stools and have nice conversation while we do it (this takes a long time). Salmon Patties freeze beautifully and I like them cold better than hot, so I just move a few from freezer to fridge now and then. Hmm, I’m getting hungry.

    • Hi Anne, thanks so much for sharing your system! This sounds great and ultimately, simple eating is about finding a system that works for you. (I’m hungry now too, haha!) Take care 🙂

      • Hi! I’ve gone back to this article in the last few weeks. I love it! But I don’t know how to start for my family. I have picky eaters and aside from my husband, we don’t like leftovers. So this sounds perfect for us! Thanks!

  10. I can already tell this parallel is about to change my life. My husband recently joked that he cooks and I reheat. I’ve always liked “assembling” meals but I hate meal planning and cooking. This mindset shift is exactly what I’ve been needing! Thank you thank you!

  11. This is a great article but still too much cooking for me lol. I’d be perfectly fine if my house didn’t have a kitchen. But what do you do for breakfast and/or lunch? I work long hours and have to plan ahead to bring both these meals with me to work.

  12. I loved this article as it expressed what we do most of the time in my family! I could not have written it better.
    In addition, we often go « tapas » style: I put various vegetables and side dishes in small bowls on the table and my 3 boys (now teens) pick what they want in addition to the main meal (tortilla, panini, pasta, pizza, chicken…). I do not worry about food preference or fight to get them to eat something in particular. We are all healthy and don’t waste any food. I lunch on mixed leftovers and by Thursday freeze in small bags whatever was not eaten this time. Try it!

  13. Nice post. I am between meal planning and capsule pantry. I buy different meats (I eat chicken twice a week and fish two or three times a week) but I always go back to my core meals.

    During the summer I make a lot if salads, stir fry and pasta.
    During the winter I exchange salads for warm vegetables and potatoes.

    Because of this I know I only have to buy in season fruit and veggies and know I can mix all the sides, (meat and fish is my smallest part of the meal, I purposefully buy small pieces) with whatever meat I fancy that day.

    I don’t have a freezer so I buy once a month my bulk stuff such as noodles, rice, pasta, flour… And suppkement that with a weekly grocery run for the fresh stuff.

    My staples are

    Rice, noodles, flour, pasta, bread
    Salmon, white fish, chicken, ground beef (beef is once a month)
    Bananas, oranges, lemons, apples, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, whatever is in season at a certain time
    Bell pepper, salad, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, leek, onions

  14. Love this ! I have been trying to find ways to minimize my life and meal planning had been a massive struggle but I didn’t know what to do about it . I have had all those struggles you talked about with meal prep . I will definitely be implementing this .

  15. Love this concept! I live on a boat and it’s so hard to meal plan when you only go to the store every couple of weeks (sometimes less). Having the right ingredients on hand and being able to mix and match flavors to change things up is key!

  16. This article has CHANGED the way we eat! I knew there was a “capsule pantry” sort of solution out there, I just needed that tiny bit of guidance and now the past 3 weeks have been so relaxing for the family. We don’t stress about the grocery shopping or meal planning antmore and when we come home from work we now spend some extra time with the kids before heading to the fridge and pantry, pulling out a few ingredients and throwing them together for our dinner. It’s so good!

  17. I’m so glad I found this article. Meal planning is good when I can actually do it (which is hardly ever) It’s such a hassle for me and mentally I just can’t handle it. I dread making a meal plan. I’m so excited to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  18. This is a fascinating concept! I am a minimalist who understand the capsule wardrobe concept well.

    I currently plan meals per week and then do grocery shopping. I can see why you feel it doesn’t work. Until now, I found that meal planning is sooo much better than not, because we end up eating out way too much if I do not have a meal plan.
    I will amend my thinking to incorporate this new idea. I can see that this is possible to work well in our family.

  19. Thanks for the post, Jennifer. I enjoyed reading the original one and the updated version is good too. I like the idea of a “platter meal”. Saving this for tips. 🙂


  20. I googled eating simply and came across your page. Interesting read. Before I met my husband (15 years ago), I would pretty much eat the same thing – a bit of chicken (portion controlled) grilled with a bit of seasoning and steamed veg, or a chicken stir-fry (chicken, veg and a simple soy and sweet chilli sauce). I never got bored and it was quick to do after coming home from work or the gym. Now I’m married and have kids I try to do something different for variety and it’s driving me nuts. Years of trying to come up with different meals etc, and we spend a fortune – $300+ a week on food – and the amount of ingredients with some recipes is insane. I hate cooking and when I do plan meals for the week, half the time I’m too tired to feel like cooking it when I get home. I just want to go back to simple eating but I fear my boys will hate it (they love pasta and rice and I’m sooooo sick of pasta, I’ve had way too much over the years). It’s funny that I think that though – they have the same thing in their lunch box every day and when I ask if they want to change it they say no, so I don’t know why I think they’ll get bored with the same dinners, I should just try Anyway, definitely going to think about simplifying things, life is too busy to spend heaps of time cooking and trying to come up with stuff. And I think it’s a good way of eating healthier and cleaner too.

    • Hi Jodi, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I am right with you when it comes to meal planning; I know it works for some people but it didn’t work for me. I just found it stressful. Anyway, hopefully you’ve had some luck simplifying your meals. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  21. This is SUCH an interesting concept! We do this naturally for lunch (everyday is a huge salad like you’re describing), but we have not made the leap to do that for dinners. It definitely would simplify things. Love that you’re extending minimalism to food 🙂 Great post

  22. I want to say THANK YOU for this post… I have always struggled with menu planning, cooking, figuring out what to eat and feed my family. When I happened upon this post (through Pinterest, I think)… I had a big sigh of relief. The way you describe your way of eating is exactly how our family should be doing it! 🙂 It is so much less frustrating to approach grocery shopping and eating this way! Thank you thank you! I wish I could have figured this out myself, but since I didn’t, I very much appreciate you writing this post. 🙂

  23. Great. So true – in adopting a more minimalism/simplified lifestyle my cooking habits have changed dramatically. I cook a lot less, eating raw where possible. I don’t bother reheating dinners either (personal one that 🙂 and batch cook where possible. I’m eating more healthily and spending about 1/3 the time I used to actually cooking. I’ve become ingredient oriented over recipes

  24. Great perspective, I didn’t consider taking minimalism into the kitchen! I will definitely implement these tips into my daily life.


  25. This is pretty close to how I eat/shop for the week! Except I do it because I really like cooking. It gives me a little bit more room to be creative while keeping myself restrained. I can mix it up with different seasonings, starch, and cooking methods, which lets me use the same protein and vegetable in several different ways throughout the week.

  26. If you want minimalism, you should not only be conservative but also remove all non-vegetarian items from your diet. Better quality proteins can be had by eating lightly-cooked beans than by eating meat, etc.
    Also, one should be wary of pesticide residues in fresh vegetables. It is better advised to wash them and cook them lightly to avoid consuming all those poisonous pesticides.
    Finally, avoid all processed foods like pizzas, burgers, noodles, etc. as they contain excessive amounts of chemicals and preservatives and have very less nutritional value.

  27. oh my god thank you! Everyone thinks it’s so strange that my fridge looks so empty because I just eat everything I buy every week! 😀 finally someone gets me!

  28. I do a blend of this and following (or basing my meals on) recipes. I’ve always hated *only* using recipes because there’s always something like half a head of cauliflower leftover to fester in the bottom of the fridge, but I also find that I work best with some structure and direction as to what I’ll make, or I find myself standing in the supermarket on a Friday evening at an utter loss because my creative well ran dry three hours ago trying to wrap my head around a failing unit test at work. What I find tends to work is picking one or two recipes at a time, and using the leftover ingredients as a base for what I’ll make next.

    For instance, if I’m planning to make a curry one evening, I’ll pick up some bell pepper and snow peas and make a stir fry with the leftover ginger and kale the next night, or I’ll grab a few yummy add-ins and make a kale salad for lunch the next day.

    Although I do enjoy cooking, I am incredibly slow at things like chopping vegetables (I once made a ’15-minute stir fry’ that took me over an hour. No joke), so I tend to prefer my more structured meals to take place when I have the time to relax in the kitchen and enjoy the process, especially if I’m going to need to keep checking the recipe. For busy weeknights, I’m definitely more in the ‘throw fresh veggies together with some lemon juice and olive oil’ frame of mind.

    • Just a quick suggestion. It used to take me forever to chop veggies, until I found some tutorials on youtube. Seriously has changed my life. I felt silly at first, I guess I thought this was something everyone should just know how to do, but it was worth it. You can also find some for just about any aspect of cooking. It’s like free cooking school.

  29. How would you be able to implement this as a college student/ at work? Seems like it would be a difficult adjustment from what I am used to. Also, I live in the south, so rice and gravy and big meals like that are usually staples in a household.

    • Hi Jessica,

      It’s mostly just about choosing a few staples that you love and making them the base of your meals and I think it works great for students! I take lunches to work and mine are usually just rice with veggies and whatever else I have on hand (leftover meat, nuts, cheese – whatever!) For me simple eating is just about eating what you like and not worrying too much about if it all goes together as a proper ‘dish’ – just throw what you love into a bowl!

      Try googling ‘buddha bowls’ – that’s pretty much how I eat – just yummy stuff thrown in a bowl!

      x Jen

    • This is pretty much me. I generally pre-cook a protein and make extra rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week. Then when I have a little more time I can cook something bit more put together, and if I’m in a rush I’ve got easy, healthy leftovers to throw together!

  30. Love your ideas on this topic. I used to do a lot of meal planning but it started to become a drag and then I didn’t feel like what was planned for that day because the weather was cold or I couldn’t be bothered cooking. I’ve moved towards the concept of buddha bowls as a way of simplifying (although I do add small amounts of meat as well). They are just such an easy and adaptable concept, quick to put together, minimise waste and definitely a less expensive and more healthy way to eat.

  31. Great ideas! I am letting go of the fear of failure for meal planning! I have been trying unsuccessfully for five years. I have been doing something similar, except, I like your idea of focusing of on quality. Thank you Jennifer.

    • Hi Mel! Yes – it’s funny how something that is supposed to help simplify our lives (meal planning) can make things more complicated for some people! I have nothing against meal planning, but it’s just not right for me (or you!) Thanks for stopping by xo

  32. Great article, Jen! I eat pretty much the same diet as you do – simple, healthy and mostly centered around fresh vegetables (except I am vegetarian and gluten-free, so that adds some extra challenges at times). I love it and feel so much more energized than I used to! I have been eating this way for around two years as well. 🙂

  33. This may be asking a lot, but could you make this post into a graphic organizer? Or an infographic? Some way I can “see” it better. 🙂 If not, I understand. But I can’t quite imagine in my mind how to actually put this into practice.

    • Hi Arline! Hmm… let me think about this! I’m in the process of moving this week, but maybe when I get settled I can try and put a post together explaining how this works for me in more details (I’ll take some photos and track what my meals/groceries are.) Watch this space – and thanks for stopping by! ☺️

  34. I love this idea… though, I wonder if I could convince my hubby and son (18 yrs) to try this. I hate cooking, so would LOVE to be able to get in and out of the kitchen fast! I know my daughter (15 yrs) would eat this way and not complain — she’s not big on meat, to begin with. We’ll see, I guess.

        • Hey! Yep, I always have some sort of budget … it varies a lot depending where in the world I am.

          For example, in Southeast Asia it is incredibly cheap to eat local food, so I don’t have to think about my budget too much (as long as I limit the number of times I eat at fancier, tourist places.) As a casual traveller in Southeast Asia, it is much cheaper (in some places you can eat for $5/day) and easier to eat out than to prepare your own food.

          However, in other places (like much of Europe) I have to be more careful. I usually stay in accommodation that has cooking facilities, so I balance eating at home (and using my same ‘Simple Eating’ method) with eating out (I love to eat out and I think it is a big part of travel.) I will plan ahead and include extra room in my budget for dining out, especially if it’s in a country where the food is a big part of the experience.

          I hope this helps with your questions! If you have any specific questions (about certain countries or budgets) feels free to ask and I’ll help if I can!

  35. I love this post! I am actually an amateur chef, and I think cooking is one of the most beneficial hobbies for me. I love the simple eating advice in this article – with cooking, it is so important to have THE most fresh and high quality ingredients to truly reap those nutrients and benefits.

    My fiance and I are moving to the South Pacific in June. I have began a blog documenting our preparations for the move, with a few niches: DIY, off the grid living, island life, and eventually cooking and spiritualism. We appreciate the simplicity of life, and want to share out experiences of minimal/simple living with everyone interested. I also LOVE your blog format and aesthetic. My link is: http://www.escapevavau.wordpress.com – I am actually going to be taking up that special domain offer with Blue Host tomorrow, and will be making some big changes! I would love for you to take a look at it and let me know of any advice you have for me/us –

    Enjoying life each day and striving to make the next day better than the previous.

    -Becca A

    • Hi Becca! Thanks for your feedback about my post! I’m not much of a cook, so it’s nice to hear that my advice is ‘chef’ approved ?

      I had a look at your blog; wow you have some incredible plans! I have some friends from the islands and they are some of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met. I’m sure you’re going to love it. And I completely understand where you’re coming from (with the lifestyle you’re after.) When I finish this trip my hubby and I are planning to buy a van and spend a year touring Australia (and then after than maybe something like you’re doing! Who knows? ?

      About the blog, I definitely think getting a custom domain is a must do. If you like the aesthetic of my blog the best advice I can give is to spend a little bit on a good theme. If you have a good theme then most of the design work is done for you! Mine is from http://solopine.com and I they are very reasonably priced. Good luck! x Jen

  36. Seriously, these are amazing tips. I often waste a lot a food because I tend to buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, then I forget to use them because I’m lazy or I’m not hungry (I don’t eat a lot). I love the concept of minimalism, and I find your blog very inspiring. Thank you so much!


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