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Illustration: Angelica Alzona It’s easy enough to set up a meal plan , but maintaining it is a different story. Maybe you don’t have the patience to dig up recipes every week, or maybe you just get too busy. Whatever the scenario, if meal planning hasn’t clicked with you, here are five alternatives that don’t involve eating out. Buy flexible ingredients For me, meal planning is hard to maintain partly because I make it too complicated. I look for fancy, complex recipes that might be fun when I have extra time on my hands, but for a quick, after-work meal, they aren’t ideal. Rather than look for specific ingredients for intricate recipes, buy some generic staples you can mix and match . Here’s how one of our readers put it : Potatoes Sweet potatoes Lentils Eggs Peppers With this method, you have to learn to wing it in the kitchen a little, but if you can master a few basics , like grilled chicken , a decent salad , or stir fry , you can make those your go-to meals and mix up the seasoning, marinade, or sides to make it interesting. Stick to a formula Similarly, if you’re already at the store, a few basic meal formulas can help you figure out what ingredients to buy. For example, a decent slow cooker meal consists of five basics: With a formula, you don’t need some recipe list or app to tell you what to buy; just pick up some […]