Let’s examine the art of meal planning. It can be as complex as scouring the local ads for what foods are on sale, cross-referencing that with what coupons are available, and creating a meal plan from there. It can be a culinary exercise, planning 5 course dishes each night that would be fit for royalty. It can be daunting and dreadful when a mental block prevents even the word “spaghetti” from entering as a thought.
It can be all of those things, but it doesn’t have to be. Meal planning can be as simple as 1-2-3.
Three Easy Steps
First (1), start cooking a whole grain. Brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, corn, and barley are just a few of the options here. (Corn? Yes, corn is a whole grain!) Steam in water or low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. A one-half cup serving is all you need for delicious and filling fiber.
Next (2), prepare a lean meat. Lean meats like chicken breasts, fish filets, even sirloin steaks, provide complete proteins and are important protein sources. Aim for two four ounce servings per day. The easiest and quickest way to prepare your lean meats is to grill or broil. Most cuts don’t need much seasoning except a little salt and pepper, but if toppings are preferred, opt for a simple salsa or roasted red pepper tapanade.
And finally (3), steam, roast, or grill a green or orange vegetable. Think of this as the most important inclusion on the plate, and therefore it should be the most prevalent. Try to include a variety of greens and oranges into the week, and be sure not to skimp on the dark green leafies! The easiest way to prepare these to preserve the nutrients and preserve the simplicity is to steam, roast or grill. Or better yet, eat them raw.
And, in 30 minutes or less you have complete, attractive, healthy, and tasty meals made up of whole grains, lean meats, and green or orange vegetables. There are endless varieties of the 1s, 2s and 3s, so your weekly meals never have to be repetitive. 1-2-3 Eat!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Brown and wild rice medley, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes
Steamed Corn on the Cob, Grilled Sirloin Steak, Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brown rice, Broiled Salmon filets, Steamed Edamame
Quinoa, Grilled Chicken Breasts, Baked Sweet Potatoes
Wild Rice, Grilled Orange Roughy, Grilled Asparagus
Here is a handy chart with some examples for each category:
NOTE: There are many more than these examples.