With a simple formula and just a little planning, you could be eating delicious, healthy meals that are quick and easy to prepare.
Keys To Planning Success
As in so many areas of life, planning is the key to success. Here are some simple guidelines for always having healthy options to build your daily meals around:
- Take some time on a Sunday afternoon (or other free hour) and look ahead at your week. Think about your schedule and pencil in time for food shopping (the average grocery store trip is 30 minutes.)
- Sketch out a menu for the week according to how much time you’ll have each day for preparing a meal.
- To make meal prep easier and faster, don’t be afraid to use precut veggies. There are some nice selections at all the grocery stores.
- Cook up batches of proteins and veggies on the weekends. Choose 2-3 recipes and prepare them ahead. That way you just need to warm up and serve. Make enough to have leftovers for the next night so that these 2-3 meals will cover the entire week.
- Build on the previous night’s meal. For example, a large meatloaf will provide the protein for 2 nights and you can change the sides. Or one night’s baked chicken becomes the next night’s chicken BBQ over baked potatoes.
- Fall in love with your crockpot. Assemble the ingredients in advance (store in a ziplock bag) and put them in the crockpot in the morning. Enjoy walking in the door that evening to the enticing fragrance of a hot and nourishing meal.
Formula For Healthy Meals
Once you get the basic meals made the next step is creating proper proportions. The simple secret is to visualize your plate and fill it according to the following rule:
• ½ of the plate are non-starchy veggies
• ¼ of the plate is
• ¼ of the plate are complex carbohydrates
Use these lists to plan ahead, purchase, and prepare your plates. Have fun with eating more consciously!
½ Plate: Optimal Non-Starchy Vegetable Choices: Use Unlimited Amount
Cassava or Yucca root
Hearts of palm
¼ Plate: Optimal Protein Choices:Free-range, cage-free, grass fed and no hormone added whenever possible.
Lean red meats-beef, bison, buffalo, venison (organ meat is ok)
Cold water fish — salmon, halibut, cod, mackerel, tuna
Lean chicken and turkey
¼ Plate: High Fiber Starchy Carbohydrates Choices
Squash (acorn, butternut, winter)
Sweet potatoes or yams
Beans (black, pinto, navy, kidney, red)
Gluten-free pasta, crackers, and wraps
Here are some ideas on how to combine these food lists into meals:
• Baked chicken with ½ sweet potato and sautéed spinach/arugula/ garlic/soy sauce.
• Grilled salmon with wild rice and green bean/red pepper/ jicama medley
• Chili with ground turkey/ spinach /white beans with coleslaw (in this case the starchy beans and meat protein are in the same dish so it becomes ½ the volume of your meal, non-starchy veggies
• Pork Loin with butternut squash and green beans and baby onions
If weight loss is a goal, use a smaller plate. Eat slowly and mindfully to fully appreciate your flavors and improve the digestion of your food.
We’d like to collect your great ideas for simple and well-balanced meals. Please share your strategies and recipes by responding in the comment section below.
Eat Healthy and BeWell!