How to get balanced meals every day of the week

As many of you know, I am not very good at (and don’t really enjoy) cooking. So I “assemble” meals and they are boring… and simple… but they have all the macros and tons of nutrients, so it works.

I spend little to no time on preparing my meals. So I thought I’d share what I find to be an efficient way of organizing meals for the week. You basically only need to think about 3 parts to your meal:

  • Carbs
  • Protein
  • Veggies

If you have all these three on your plate at every meal, you will be eating a very balanced diet. If the carbs and protein are whole (not processed), even better and bonus points!! I know that many carbs also have protein, and veggies can have protein and carbs, but for simplicity sake, think of:

  • Carbs as grains and starchy vegetables (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Protein as beef, eggs, fish, poultry, pork, tofu, tempeh
  • Veggies as non-starchy veggies (carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc.)

Also, 99% of the time I prepare these in the oven so it’s even easier!!!

Below are a few examples:

Easy-to-prepare CARBS:

  • Skin-on baby potatoes
  • Ready-to-roast sweet potato cubes
  • Frozen white or brown rice
  • Frozen quinoa

PROTEIN

  • Pre-cooked chicken breasts or pre-seasoned chicken breast
  • Pre-seasoned pork tenderloin
  • Eggs and egg whites (hard boiled, scrambled, etc.)
  • Canned wild salmon

VEGGIES

  • Great for roasting: broccoli, peppers, baby cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (you can buy these cut and clean, ready to cook)
  • Steamed carrots
  • Salads (spinach, kale, tomatoes, etc.)- can also buy pre-mixed salad bags

I prepare these all at once (once a week) and eat them throughout the week.

Please share your thoughts and ideas!

[note: I bought all the veggies below already washed and cut]

5 Likes

Though I eat very little prepared foods or packaged foods, I’d add for protein some beans. Especially in salads. Some tofu or seitan and tempeh.

I’m a big believer in fiber and lots of it. Fills you up too. So putting your meals on kale or spinach is great. Along with the grains.

Can we have fruit for dessert? Most come in their own wrappers!

And I see you have those Brussel sports in there.

Personally I batch cook and freeze for later dates.

All sounds yum.

2 Likes

Yes, fruits are great! I don’t eat much fruit, but that’s just because most of the time I don’t feel like it… unless it’s juicy mangoes, soft persimmons, papayas or figs, which are hard to find around here…

Yummmm!

I can live in fruits. I need them everyday. Fresh, frozen, mashed. Since the prediabetic diagnosis it’s been hard to limit them. I feel deprived!

I just listened to a webinar on emotional eating, I’m not doing well but learning a lot. She stated we should try to get variety in our food throughout the week. Thirty different foods. I have work to do!

1 Like

There are so many “shoulds” out there, specially in the nutrition world… So much in fact, that I find that many people won’t even start to improve their nutrition because they know that their reality is such that dedicating that much time to food planning and cooking is just not realistic. (Maybe when I am retired, wealthy, kids out of the house, and have my own organic garden which I won’t plant because I hate gardening). Have you seen those “perfect” meals on Instagram? Anyway, striving for optimal health through nutrition does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. Yes, it would be “nice” to eat 30 different foods, but not necessary.

@Coach_Theiantjats what I do with these webinars. Take away what is doable for me. I usually eat something til I am sick of it then fall off the wagon. So to me this meant to vary my greens and maybe my breakfast grains. I love oatmeal and it’ll be nice to have that once it’s cold again!
This webinar is from the Davis institute. It’s talking a lot about emotions and eating which I know I have. There have been some good takeaways.
I will gladly plant your garden and weed it anytime you’d like!

:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I sometimes feel like I missed my calling as a farmer, which is why I have a “yard farm” and chickens whose eggs I don’t even eat, so I can’t fathom hating to garden. If you lived closer to me I’d be asking you right now if I could start digging up your yard :rofl:

@Stefanie @gosimrr I admire gardeners. I grew up in an apartment building in a city bigger than NYC, so never really had any contact with gardens… maybe that’s why!

1 Like

@Stefanie, I no longer eat eggs, but when I did , I one time was on a working farm. We got to tend to the chickens. Those were the best eggs I’ve ever had.

@Coach_Theiaas a kid, my Italian grandmother always had a vegetable garden. We used to eat tomatoes off the vine. I can still taste them.

2 Likes

Hey Coach Theia,
I appreciate the ideas for preparing meals! Quick and easy and hardly any prep. Can’t wait to try some ideas out next week!

Ronyii

1 Like

Loved having gardens and eating the raw vegetables directly out of them.
My grandparents had the large family one on their property (along with chickens, cows, goats, etc). Also grapes, berries and a few fruit trees. And a separate cellar just for potatoes. Everyone helped and shared in the harvest. Post church on sundays my grandmother cooked supper. Depending on what was in season or what was on the farm you left with fresh eggs, canned vegetables, potatoes, goat milk, etc. And potatoes.
My dad started putting in a small garden across the road at my grandmothers (yes we were in city limits) where he would grow a bit more variety than what was at my grandparents. This is where I learned about making sure certain crops are separated from others. Nothing like radishes so hot your eves water. Once she moved away he used to have a small one beside his house. No longer has one as when he went back into the mines didn’t have time.
For his birthday a few years back I got him dwarf apple trees and he has rose and blueberry bushes.

3 Likes

@vivian.a.workman I love this. I long to have a garden again and hate that I don’t share this activity with my kids we had a small one in our previous house. I grew tomatoes. My kids would go in the yard after camp and eat them off the vine. Never had enough to make a salad. They’d pick the vines raw.
I guess this is why I go Apple picking and peach picking and any kind of picking I can. Maybe some day.
Thanks for sharing that memory.

1 Like

Such wonderful memories @vivian.a.workman! My dad grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota and then the family moved to southern California. But my grandparents always had a large garden and fruit trees and our yard had fruit and nut trees and a good sized garden too. I have so many fond memories of helping my grandparents and dad and being so excited when my parents let me have a tiny garden plot of my own in the yard. When my husband and I moved to Minnesota I had always hoped we’d be able to get a hobby farm one day but it was not to be. My husband did not grow up with a garden but he has been an enthusiastic learner and helper over the years as I dug up all our lawn :grin:

@gosimrr I hear from the friends who do eat my chickens’ eggs that they are amazing. I hope you get a garden plot again one day. Maybe you could get a spot in a community garden?

Steve doesn’t cook on Fridays, so I’m on my own. Tonight I cut enough veggies, ginger and garlic for 3 stir fry meals (2 for the freezer). Then, to make them, I add olive oil (to fry), cashews (for protein… don’t freeze those or they’ll get soggy), soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.

2 Likes

@Coach_Theia - what a great post. Can you elaborate on where you buy your easy ingredients? For instance, your cleaned/cut veggies, frozen grains, etc. Thank You!
-Angie

@adm0629 at The Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.