If you feel like meal planning and prepping is too overwhelming because you never know what to make, good news. It can be as easy as planning what to wear for a night out.
(If you struggle over deciding what to wear, this simple formula can make that a breeze too!)
When you get ready to go out, you need to decide what to wear. Typically that starts with one item: a pair of pants, maybe a skirt or a top you particularly like.
From there you build an outfit. You choose a top and bottom (or a dress), shoes that compliment the outfit and then accessories like jewelry and a purse.
Piece by piece a look comes together. The same rules apply to putting together a meal.
Using this simple four-step formula you can plan an infinite number of easy, healthy meals in minutes without a singe recipe!
1. Pick a protein
I recommend starting with protein because not only do most of us not get enough of it, protein is vital to weight loss and the foundation for most meals. Additionally, protein usually needs to be cooked and therefor a little pre-planning is essential.
Your protein options include chicken, fish, beef, poultry, tofu, tempeh, greek yogurt, lentils, etc.
2. Pick a vegetable
Healthy eating means vegetables. They are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals and are too easily left out of our meals. Choosing a vegetable to go with your protein as step two ensures you won’t leave out this important element of a healthy meal.
There are endless vegetable choices. Feel free to mix them up, try different veggies and different methods of preparing them.
3. Pick a healthy carb
Carbohydrates are essential for energy, metabolism and yes, weight loss! I want your third selection to be a healthy carb because too often we fear carbs when trying to lose weight or we think eating healthy means low or no carbs. Not true! Carbs pack a nutrient-rich punch – if you choose the right type of carbohydrates.
Look for high fiber choices such as sweet and white potatoes, quinoa, rice, oats, winter squash, etc.
4. Pick a healthy fat
Do not fear fat. Healthy fats are also a key macronutrient and belong in every diet. These fats boost brain power, keep joints healthy and also fuel our metabolism.
While there are many choices for healthy fats, an easy way to add them without adding a lot of volume is with olive oil, coconut oil, nuts or olives. If your protein choice is salmon it covers you on healthy fats too!
How would a meal look if I followed the formula? For example:
- Protein: chicken breast
- Veggie: green beans
- Carb: sweet potato
- Fat: olive oil
If this was my meal selection, I could prepare this all at once on a Sunday and eat it for lunch (or dinner) every day of the week.
After purchasing the chicken, green beans and sweet potato (olive oil is already in the pantry!) I would prepare it all as follows:
- Put chicken breast in crockpot with water and cook on low for eight hours (or get an Instant Pot and pressure cook it in less than 30 minutes).
- Place sweet potato on top of chicken in crockpot or wrap in foil and bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Steam green beans in pot or in bag in microwave.
- Once everything is cooked and cooled, I will take five Tupperware containers and portion my chicken, sweet potato and green beans into even servings in each. I will drizzle the olive oil over each one.
- These five Tupperware will go in the fridge (they will stay good up to six days) and each day before I leave the house I can throw one in my cooler bag for lunch or when I come home I can just take one out and heat it up for dinner. Done.
You see how you can have endless combinations just by using this very simple formula.
Just like planning an outfit for Saturday night, if you start with a base such as a cute top – or a protein – you can build your outfit/meal around it. Less decisions, less stress and because you’re eating healthy and dressing well you will look super cute for your night out! 😉