In these days of Pinterest, recipe finding & healthy meal planning can get out of control quickly. There are so many guides, plans, & templates that you can follow to make life “easier”. But have you noticed that the follow-through is almost impossible? Like there’s either a weird ingredient in the recipe or you’re catering to a food sensitivity. It always takes more time than promised. And somehow when the day comes to eat the meal that you’ve planned & prepped for, it’s not what you actually want to eat.
Even I’ve talked about meal planning before. It definitely has its time & place. But if you’re in a swirling state of overwhelm & can’t seem to get your head above the water, this strategy is for you. And it’s what I’ve been using myself as of late.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to put together a healthy meal, look no further! The best part about this strategy is that you can shop ahead & plan on the fly at the same time, so it fits to any schedule!
How to Build a Healthy Meal
Step 1: Pick a protein
Chicken, beef, fish, bacon. Whatever you’re feeling.
How do you shop ahead for this? Count how many meals that you’re shopping for & how many people you need to feed at each meal. Buy a 1/4 pound of meat for each person for each meal.
Maybe you’re buying dinners for the next 3 days for a family of 4. So buy a pound of ground beef, a pound of chicken thighs, & a pound of wild caught salmon. Then when you go to cook, you get to pick from what you’ve purchased. Easy & done!
Step 2: Choose a fat
Ah, fat! Keeps you full. Keeps you focused. (Wait, have I heard that before somewhere?) Every meal needs a sizable portion dedicated to fat. It could be butter, a healthy oil, or even a spoonful of mayo. You need fat for flavor & to fuel your brain, so don’t skip this step!
Step 3: Choose some veggies
Pile ’em on! You wanna try to get at least 5 colors of veggies into your diet every day. And try to at least have 2-3 different types every meal. Variety is important to keeping your body healthy! There are so many vegetables that the combinations are endless. Leafy greens, roasted cruciferous, steamed root veggies. Mouth watering yet?
Step 4: Pick your flavor profile
If you thought you had a lot of combinations with steps 1-3, this is where you can really add some variety. Asian, Italian, Cajun? The combinations in this step alone really are endless. And you know how sometimes your family just can’t agree on what type of food to have? Cook the meat, add the fat, throw in some veggies, & everybody can season the food on their own plates! It might taste like you’re eating totally different meals, but you only had to cook one.
Step 5: Add some extras
This is where you can fill up your plate with lots of healthy supporting elements. Add a grain like rice or quinoa. (Totally optional, though! Most of your meals should be light on the carbs & grains.) Nuts, seeds, fruit, and fermented foods also fall into this category. Your plate should already be mostly full of vegetables by this point, so anything you add on step 5 really plays more of a supporting role in the meal. Things like nuts & seeds should be eaten in smaller portions, anyway!
Easy for a Healthy Meal?
What do you think? Not too hard, right? You can shop ahead buy counting out how many servings of each type of food you need and then when the time comes to cook, you have a simple, straightforward, and fully-customizable healthy meal ready to go. No major prep work required. (Unless you want to meal prep. Then by all means, go for it!)
I’ve got a free PDF download for you that outlines these 5 steps. Print it out, and stick it to your fridge or tape it into the back of your planner. Keep it handy as a reference as you go through the 5 steps to plan out your dinners for this week. Just drop your email address here, and your guide will hit your inbox in a flash!