Not everyone enjoys sifting through a pile of cookbooks or surfing Pinterest.
Even if you DO (ahem…like some of us…) that doesn’t mean you have the time. Yet you need to eat and would prefer an actual healthy meal over a bowl of Cheerios.
Today I want to talk about a different kind of meal planning.
Forget Beef Bourguignon or Orange Pistachio-Stuffed Grilled Scallops or that sort of thing. We’re not making any homemade gnocchi this Tuesday, ok?
We need no-fuss. We need point-and-shoot.
Sometimes we need “serves 1.” Sometimes we need “serves 8.” So it’s gotta be flexible.
I’ve been working with some of my clients to come up with a meal planning tool that does just that.
How does it work?
1. Start by creating a spreadsheet. You got this. You love a good spreadsheet, don’t you?
Make 5 columns:
Dark leafy greens
Starchy vegetable/whole grain
Sauce, dressing or other add-on (optional)
Why these 5? Because this way you’re covering all of your nutritional bases. Protein, fats, carbohydrates and nutrient-dense vegetables.
2. Fill it in.
Now you get to have some fun. Do you like steak? Great. Hate Brussels sprouts? No worries. Allergic to shellfish or going gluten free? Leave that stuff off the list.
Very quickly you will start to see your very own customized menu appear, with thousands of variations as you mix and match ingredient combinations.
Of course, in my free downloadable template I’ve already started filling in your columns with the basics. You can grab it here to get a head start.
3. Point, shop and cook.
When it’s time to decide what’s for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) all you need to do is choose 1 item from each category.
Keep it simple. Reuse last night’s leftover rice. Roast chicken legs, sauté spinach. If you’re not sure how, a quick google search will provide basic directions.
Or, you can grab staple items pre-cooked at your local store. (Think: Rotisserie chicken and salad bar broccoli)
Don’t get me wrong. I love to cook and experiment.
But on a day-to-day basis there’s no need for Pinterest-worthy meals.
Learning how to feed yourself simple, delicious food goes a long way towards building sustainable, healthy habits.
Who has time for fooling around with anything else?
I’ve created this customizable Mix-and-Match Meal Planning template to get you up and running right away: