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A Capsule Wardrobe is Old News... What About A Capsule Meal Plan?


The idea of a "capsule wardrobe" has gained a ton of momentum over the last few years. This is the concept where you have a limited wardrobe of items that you really like instead of a closet full of clothes that you rarely wear. Some people have taken the idea further still by creating a personal "uniform" and only wearing the same thing every day. Famous examples of this are Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama; I wrote about personal uniforms already over here



On the extreme, uniform end of the life-simplification-spectrum, there are some people who eat the same meal (often lunch) every day. This article in The Atlantic explores some of these folks and the different reasons they have had for this streamlined habit — from simplicity, stress-reduction, time-saving, to just plain enjoyment.

Few of us will instate a personal uniform, but many more are eager to embrace a more minimal wardrobe overall. In the same way, few of us want to eat the same thing every, single day; but, do we have the same interest in a limited rotation of meals or ingredients?


For a majority of the world, eating the same thing every day (and the same thing throughout the day) doesn't have a fancy name; it's simply called: eating!

Rice & beans may be the daily diet for billions of people in hundreds of countries, but here, the attitude towards eating the same thing over and over is often viewed as an uninspired, character flaw.

As The Atlantic article explores, people who bring the same meal to work every day are good-naturedly teased — "What's for lunch today, Joe? [snicker, snicker]" — and mostly the response from others neutral. But, the scale would tip definitely more towards an eyebrow-raise rather than admiration or inspiration.

 

Personally, I find it really easy to wear only few articles of clothing; fashion is not an area in which I feel compelled to express myself. Maybe that's from wearing a school uniform for many years, or maybe it's my aversion to fast fashion (and the lack of funds that would allow me to keep up with trends with higher quality, better made clothing).

Food, on the other hand, is much more of a creative outlet for me. I love to cook, to experiment, to try new things, dabble with ingredients. When I had babies and my husband was a student, a friend of mine (in the same life-stage) shared her monthly meal plan with me. It was impressive... and oppressive! (to me, at least!). I later got a glimpse inside her fridge: where was the abundance of random half-full bottles (Asian dark sauces, curry pastes, various mustards)? 


When she looks in my fridge, does she see overabundance & excess where I see creative juices flowing?

 

Are these one-and-the same? Is a "capsule diet" or "capsule menu" going to be the next KonMari-ish trend? Which one would be (or is) easier for you to be a minimalist: in clothes or in food? Weigh in below!

Stephanie

Oh man, I totally resonate with the tension here… In early adulthood I used to (rather arrogantly!) eschew meal planning because I felt it stunted my creativity, but now with three kids I am a pretty faithful meal-planner, haha. I do love making creative decisions in the kitchen, but have also experienced the 5 pm dreaded “what’s for dinner??!” panic. It seems cliche to say so, but sometimes it’s about the season of life you’re in – what may have worked well in the past might not work as well right now.

Somewhat unrelated to this, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly attached to my few, favourite, physical cookbooks the longer I cook for my family. The internet can give me a million and one recipe ideas at a couple keystrokes, but that’s too much choice for me! Limiting myself to my cookbooks really helps reduce my decision fatigue when meal-planning. And just the fact that we have so many food choices feels like an often under-appreciated privilege!!

Lisa

The wardrobe definitely would, but really like the concept of meals as well!

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