Everyone has their go-to meals; those quick easy dishes that you fall back on week after week. For Jen and me it’s Zucchini Pasta, chicken tacos, and cashew chicken stirfry. But as someone who loves to try new dishes, I want to make sure that sprinkled in between these sustenance staples is some culinary creativity.
But Wait! How do we choose what to eat each week? For us it’s mostly random, perhaps influenced slightly by the weekly sales circular. This doesn’t seem right to me. We need a more strategic approach.
Jen and I made a list of all the dishes that we frequently duplicate. Not just our go-to’s but all of our favorites. We then rated each across three criteria:
Ease, Health, and Deliciousness
I charted these on a 3-Axis chart (z-axis is deliciousness rated from 1-3)
Honestly, not too many surprises here. We don’t bother making really complicated food unless it’s delicious. And the more delicious the food the higher tendency for an unhealthy experience.
While this chart in itself is not a solution to perfect planning, it allows us to balance a week of dinner choices across this scale. We next have to create a series of constraints.
1. Weekday eating shouldn’t be more complicated than ‘tricky’
2. Only 10% of meals can fall into the unhealthy or fatty range
3. No dish can be made more than once per week
4. Deliciousness must be maximized
I was working on a linear program for a bit, trying to have Excel’s solver define for us the best dinner solution. But for the life of me I couldn’t quite get the constraints right.
I’m losing my touch.