In today’s show I’m going to dig a little deeper with to the FAQ: How To Plan Your Weekly Meals.
Whether you’re a fan of the plan – as I am – or even if the way you eat is a little more fly by your seat… you can still enjoy the body gain benefits of weekly meal planning.
It’s not going to be restrictive-scary-inflexible… I know that won’t work.
Rather I’m going to share the guidelines that work for me and I think you’ll find planning your weekly meals can be a lot simpler than you might have imagined.
The starting point is, as always One Ingredient Foods.
The more reliant you are on these fat fighting foods the less planning your meals take. There are the basics you need, and I’ll get to them however these super foods are versatile and they’ll turn into pretty much whatever you need – so you’re not foiled if you’re craving Nacho’s and out of corn chips… that’s where the kale or sweet potato you have on hand anyway comes into play.
First things first, I know I’m probably the unusual one in that I’m pretty happy to eat a fairly similar thing for breakfast 5-6 days a week… and a fairly similar thing for lunch 5-6 days a week and Yes, until recently a fairly similar thing for dinner 5-6 days a week.
The thing is my dinners have changed recently – I just put together an e-book ‘15 Easy, Lean, Clean LOW CARB switches’ for your favourite carbie creations which you can check out by clicking the link or image – AND it taught me there’s not much more planning involved to enjoy a whole lot more variety.
So, for the ‘fan of the plan’ or the ‘fly by your seat eater’ here are the 3 types of meals to have on hand:
One: The Frozen Ready2GoMeal.
This is never Lean Cuisine of some similar refined crap-o-la rubbish. Rather, it is the extra you make on mass once a week or once a month or just whenever you ‘get your cook on’ and freeze in portions.
It’s the meal you have when you get back late from travel… or an unexpected evening out… or just a long day when you’re too exhausted to do anything beyond defrost and reheat.
=> Always have several of these on hand in freezer land and you’ll feel in control of your late-night-last-minute food decisions.
My favourites include: fish pie and eggplant cannelloni.
Two: The Quick EasyGo2Meal.
This is the one I turn to more often than not. That’s because I don’t really enjoy cooking. I want it to taste great and be awesome for me however not eat much time.
It’s the meal that is fairly similar each time however the individual components vary dependant on what you most feel like and what needs to be used.
=> It’s the omelette that some days has spinach, onion and mushrooms or other days has cauli, carrot and zucchini.
Or the hearty salad with green leaves, pesto, hummus, avocado and a daily varying round up of a dozen other veg.
Or the 150 grams of lean protein and 3-4 cups of veg that again has limitless potential for variation yet still comes from the weekly basics I’ll cover soon.
Three: The Regular TrustyGo2Meal.
This is the one I cook for someone else. My Quick EasyGo2Meals rock for me however maybe they are a little too lean and clean to inflict regularly on someone who doesn’t have my goals. If I’m bothering to cook this one I’ll likely make extra… because Yes, to me it is more a bother than a pleasure so I’ll want to have leftovers for… The Frozen Ready2GoMeal!
If you have a family – or love to cook – more meals may be like this. That’s just fine, it doesn’t take any more planning time just a little more cooking time.
=> It’s the dish they may have a few components that you know will be enjoyed.
Personally that’d be something like a pasta or lasagna where I have to julienne zucchini or bake eggplant slices, make the sauce and maybe the cashew cheese and of course a salad too… ok I’m already tired thinking of it (!) however, as you’ll see the ingredients are all covered in the weekly plan whether they stay living happily in my pantry or whether they get used in the Quick EasyGo2Meal instead.
Now we’ve covered the 3 types of meals here are the basics I mentioned. I’ve grouped these basic ingredients into 3 categories and within each 4 sub-catergories.
Trust me it’s super basic!
Your 4 subcategories are:
- GOOD FAT.
- FIBROUS & STARCHY VEG/FRUIT.
- LIQUID, FLAVOURING & SPICES.
Onwards with the first category…
Category One: Fresh Produce.
PROTEIN: Free range eggs: how many you use a day times 7. Your fresh meat and fish of choice: it really is as basic as how many grams per person per meal and times that by the number of meals you eat in each week. Hopefully that’s around 80% or more that you eat in.
Any leftovers can be frozen.
GOOD FAT: Avocado’s, tahini.
FIBROUS & STARCHY VEG/FRUIT: Salad greens. Copious amounts of other veg like: kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes, carrots, spring onion, eggplant, garlic.
LIQUID, FLAVOURING & SPICES: Mineral water. Fresh coriander. Lemons, Lime.
This Fresh Produce forms the bulk of your meals. I just gave you my current must haves however of course choose your personal favs for each section and you’re 80% of the way there so far as having your basics covered for the week. All you need are the things to have on hand that last a little longer…
Category Two: Pantry / Freezer Produce.
PROTEIN: Protein powder, Hemp seeds.
GOOD FAT: Coconut and extra virgin olive oil, nuts (I get both roasted for snacks and raw for cooking), seeds.
FIBROUS & STARCHY VEG/FRUIT: Onions, sweet potato. Frozen mixed veg, frozen brussels, frozen spinach, frozen berries.
LIQUID, FLAVOURING & SPICES: Almond milk, coffee and tea, balsamic vinegar, pesto, chili flakes, smoked paprika, mixed dried herbs, dried coriander, Natvia natural sweetener.
Again your list may be totally different to mine however as long as you have each subcategory covered with your ideally one ingredient version – I get that’s not always possible however the less refined the better – then you’ve got all the food you need for a week of quick and easy healthy eating.
For those meals that perhaps require a recipe and maybe a little more cooking you’ll add a few more ingredients to your shopping list. These are my occasionals – there’s nothing wrong with any of them – they just don’t currently feature in my every week…
Category Three: Occasional Produce.
Again is the stuff that may change dependant on a recipe that calls for it. Some weeks you use it some weeks you don’t.
By subcategory perhaps:
PROTEIN: Smoked salmon, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt.
GOOD FAT: Macadamia’s, avocado oil, parmesan.
FIBROUS & STARCHY VEG/FRUIT: Fennel, snow peas, beans, corn, pumpkin, leek and grapefruit.
LIQUID, FLAVOURING & SPICES: Fresh rosemary, basil, thyme, cinnamon and chill peppers. Onion and garlic powder. Nutritional yeast. Nori.
To get actionable today let’s focus on the The Frozen Ready2GoMeal.
Perhaps it’s the squirrel in me however I just feel a comfort and security in knowing I’ve got some of these meals squirrelled away in my freezer so that I’ll never be caught short! What is the Frozen Ready2GoMeal that you can have on hand in your freezer? It’s got to be something you enjoy too – there’s no point having that perfect ‘healthy’ meal that you regular ignore and turn to a toasted sandwich or take out instead!
That brings us to the end of this week in Healthification.
A super huge thanks to you for your support and for sharing this week with me.
This week an extra big THANK YOU to Storm830 from Aus who writes:
Love it! Stumbled across this podcast and absolutely find it helpful, motivating and current. Love that it’s finally a local one as well (oz/nz) Keep up the good work katie!
Storm830, thanks so very much for taking the time to pass on the encouragement and let me know you’re enjoying the show.
That’s awesome, I really do appreciate it!
If you liked this you’ll also like: My Food Diary, Ideal Fat Burning Day
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.