When I first changed my diet, I was so overwhelmed that I picked up a few dozen cookbooks and made a meal plan based on the recipes. When I made the shopping list, it was full of odd ingredients I had never heard and quickly found out that they were quite expensive too. I became frustrated with buying a full bottle of one ingredient then only using a small amount in one recipe. Then every time I made dinner, I would spend hours in the kitchen trying to make a new recipe only to be disappointed with how it turned out. There definitely had to be a better way!
So about a year ago I ditched the idea of a meal plan and instead created a template I call "Meal Method". I found it was so much easier to make simple pairings with what I had on hand and allows me more freedom and less time in the kitchen.
Meal Method is a template that pairs one quality protein source with three different vegetables and any toppings, dressings, or sauces.
That's it! Simple, right?
Here's why I love #MealMethod so much:
1. IT'S CHEAP // Instead of buying expensive ingredients you won't often use, you can use ingredients that are readily available at any farmer's market or grocery store. You don't have to shop at Whole Foods or go to multiple stores to hunt down an ingredient. You can buy what's on sale and work that into your week.
2. IT'S EASY // If you can grill, roast, bake, fry, or chop, you're already there. You don't need any special kitchen appliances which is great for my fellow minimalists! You simply have a meat thawed each evening and decide what to pair it with and top it with. You don't need to learn any special cooking tricks (unless you want to!) or follow a recipe.
3. IT'S HEALTHY // Michael Pollan, in his book "The Omnivores Dilemma", famously sys "eat food, not too much, mostly plants". I couldn't agree more. When we include sufficient and high quality protein, we're then free to load up our plate with nutrient dense vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals our body needs.
4. IT'S INTUITIVE // When I was an avid meal planner, I would often wish I had anything but what I had planned for dinner that night. That would lead to going out to grab something or eating something I didn't enjoy. When I just follow a template, I can easily adjust it to create a meal that sounds fulfilling and satisfying.
5. IT'S ADJUSTABLE // If you're following a low carb, high fat diet you can make a sauce from almond butter or avocado oil. If you need carbs to fuel, make one of your vegetables a starch like plantains, sweet potato, yucca, or squash. You can use the same template for any diet, protocol, or macro count you need and still keep it seamless without having to start an entire new meal plan.
Let's talk more about each piece of the template!
First, we start with one serving of quality protein like chicken, grass fed beef, pastured pork, wild caught fish, bison, buffalo, or pastured eggs. Typically, a serving size of protein is equal to the size of your fist but you can adjust that to your personal needs.
Second, add three (or more!) different vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, squashes, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, etc. The options are endless!
Last, add toppings, sauces, or dressings such as salad dressing, sunshine sauce, pesto, chimichurri, mayo, buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, green onions, nuts and seeds, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, herbs, etc. Use the toppings and sauce to really combine the flavors of your protein and vegetables and make it a dish.
Here are three examples of #MethodMeals! In two of these, I use greens but don't think that you have to eat salad each meal! There are many different combinations!
Your #MealMethod may look different than mine, but you can adjust it all to your needs and preferences, all while maintaining healthy portions of quality meat, vegetables, and good fats! While it may seem difficult to come up with combinations, you'll soon find that it's much easier to simply follow the template and you'll be creating healthy meals in simple ways!
So try the #MealMethod, snap a picture, and share it on social media using the hashtag! We can make REAL FOOD so much easier if we just get back to basics.
Questions? I'd love to help!