It’s dark. And quiet…. too quiet.
A sudden, low grumble calls out, sending a shrill scream reverberating through the air. It whispers…..feed me…
You know what’s next: the agonizing horror of staring dumbly into open cupboards as you ponder on what monstrosity you can conjure for this evening’s nutritional sacrifice. As the beast within rears its ugly roar once more, you crumble in weary pain of having to subdue this ravenous creature day after day.
If this sounds like you—worry not, friend. It’s time we put this boogieman to rest once and for all. No longer shall you be victim to its eternal hunger.
Take this vorpal sword in hand and strike back with a healthy meal plan!
1. Cover Your Bases
Before we cover how to make a healthy meal plan, we need to talk about healthy, balanced meals.
You may have heard of the pyramid plan? It’s a little outdated…
Instead, we’ll be building meals around the three main macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates: your main source of energy in your metabolism
- Protein: the muscle building-blocks of your diet
- Fats: provides energy in addition to regulating your body’s homeostasis
Carbohydrates are your grains, starches, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Proteins are found in meats, dairy, eggs, nuts, legumes, and supplements. Fats are in dairy, oils, eggs, avocadoes, etc.
The average person needs a balanced meal of about 30-40% in carbohydrates, 30% in protein, and 20-30% in fats.
Head on over here to learn more about nutrition and building a meal.
2. Buy in Bulk
It’s no secret that buying in bulk is better on your wallet.
Ever notice how items of a smaller quantity have a greater price per volume? That’s because it costs more per item to produce and transport to your grocery store. If you buy in greater quantity—bulk—you’ll be paying less in the long run.
It comes with the caveat, of course, of having to all this food to use before it spoils.
3. Bake in Batches
Baking, cooking, stir-frying, steaming—works for whatever your method.
Cooking every night can take 30-60 minutes of your day. Every day. That adds up to a lot of hours over time.
We can take back this time by preparing meals ahead of time. That’s the beauty of a balanced meal plan.
Some plan their meals a whole month in advance. If you’ve got the freezer space, I say go for it. If not, weekly or bi-weekly is still a great option in reclaiming your time.
You’ll probably stumble through it at first, maybe taking a whole afternoon to get everything cut, cooked, and packed away. But as you start building up a rhythm it’s easy to get all your meals prepped.
4. Leave Room for Variety
When you create a healthy meal plan, it’s important to think of everything you prepare and stored away as your bases.
A whole container of brown rice. Another one of chicken breast, steamed broccoli, hummus dip, etc. We’ll use these to throw something together on the spot, in five to ten minutes.
This will help get you through the monotony that is cooking and eating.
5. Keep It Quick & Easy
Fancy, elaborate dinners are great, but they’re best when set aside for the truly special occasions.
When you’re meal planning, you want to keep it nice and hassle-free. Something you can do while carrying on a conversation or belting to your favorite ballads.
Stick to meals that you can prep in one pan, like a tray of roasted vegetables or a pot of hearty stew. You might think cooking is time-consuming, but cleaning up is half the battle.
Do yourself a favor and keep the cleaning as minimal as possible.
6. Something for Everyone
If you have a family, I’m sure you know how tough it is trying to please everyone.
Why bother? Just make something for everyone!
The beauty of a healthy meal plan is that everything you’ve made is good to go, seal-of-approval. Jimmy doesn’t like steamed carrots? Fine, he can have his usual broccoli with the melted cheddar mixed in.
Having different options gives you flexibility for all your family’s needs.
7. A Little Sauce Goes a Long Way
Sauces are the reigning supreme of meal planning.
Chicken usually gets a bad rep for being bland and boring, right? Guess what: that’s a great thing! Think of it as a canvas for you to paint upon, but protein. Same with mashed potatoes, eggs, rice, etc.
They absorb all the rich flavor that you imbue upon them with the rich sauces you create. And there is no end to the creativity and flavor a sauce can provide.
Every culture across the planet has a refined palette of sauces, try ’em all!
8. Take a Walk on the Wild Side
This is the final step in expanding the possibilities of a balanced meal plan.
Once you have your own basics down, it’s time to venture forth into world cuisine. Not just recipes, but ingredients, as well.
A lot of people are raised on a meat and potato diet. Others, a fish and rice diet. All based on what their cultures had access to at the time.
But our world is expanding, globalizing. We all have access to each other’s ingredients and recipes now, so use them! Your tummy will thank you for it.
Take a look at some of our fun recipes to try out!
9. Make Your Own Healthy Meal Plan
Now that you’ve amassed this wealth of cooking knowledge, write it down!
Keeping track of all the recipes that you and your family enjoy is another timesaver. This will cut even more time out of your meal prep as you pick and choose what to create for this week’s meal options, just go with what you know works.
It will also allow you to keep track of all the tips and secrets of the trade you’ve picked up along the way. Keep note of all the zest you’ve added along the way.
And it’s great to have something you can pass on.
10. Treat Yourself!
Some days, you just have to take a break.
It’s ok to skip a meal that you’ve planned ahead, it’ll still be good tomorrow.
If you have a special occasion pop up, or a date you want to impress—now is the time to bust out your culinary flare to impress.
Or maybe you just want a night out on the town? That’s cool too! We at Fatty ‘Cue take pride in offering a ton of healthy meal options on our menu!
A Meal Well-Deserved
With this knowledge at hand, you’ll be slaying the hangry beast within. Time to get planning and into the kitchen for your next healthy meal plan!
Be sure to comment below with some of your favorite, healthy recipes.