This $0 Little Luxury Instantly Transforms Meal Prep (You’ll Feel So Fancy!)

published Mar 17, 2024
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Meal prepping is one of those household chores that can really feel just like that: a chore. But I’m always on the lookout for ways to romanticize everyday life through simple, subtle shifts that make all the difference. Whether that’s making a new recipe every week to get excited about cooking or putting a to-do list in a spot that just makes sense, oftentimes the most effective changes you can make to your life at home are small and inexpensive. And for the new tip I absolutely adore? All you need is a piece of paper.

All you need to do is print out (or use your nicest handwriting to write up) the meals you plan to make that week, but in the style of a fancy restaurant menu. “Trying to eat out less this year so now I pretend my apartment is a tiny restaurant,” said the X user who shared the idea, along with a photo of a beautiful homemade menu with dishes divided into different sections (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks). To top it off, the menu includes a restaurant name in curling script at the top — Maison Madison — to drive home the feeling that your kitchen can be your own eatery. 

When my coworker sent me this X post, I was instantly taken with the idea. Not only is it a fun, creative way to make a menu feel less mundane, but this would actually motivate me to put together a meal prep plan at the beginning of the week (something I’m always not great at). It also feels like such a sweet act of self-care to create a format that helps you feel excited about making delicious meals for yourself. (Not to mention, it takes the sting out of “We have food at home!” when all you really want is to go out to eat or order in.)

If loud budgeting is also one of your goals for this year, this personal menu meal prep tip is a great, visible way to keep yourself accountable to eating out less and staying on budget with groceries. It’s also a little luxury that’s practically free. And if you love the idea of personalizing things around your home, you could always use some of the money you save on meals to treat yourself to some custom matchbooks — it might just make your home feel even more like a fancy restaurant.