by Erin Parekh, Holistic Health Coach, Culinary Nutrition Expert
I’m writing today to let you in on a little secret. I don’t cook from a recipe most nights of the week. The majority of my family’s meals are a thoughtful hodgepodge of random components from the fridge. And yes, while I may post lots of recipes on my blog, and love browsing the internet for inspiration, it’s just not realistic to spend hours cooking in the kitchen every day.
Between building a business and taking care of my family, I simply don’t have time to try a new recipe every night or worry about making each meal Instagram worthy. And my guess is you don’t have this kind of time either! Which is why I want to share how I put together quick, easy, healthy, and delicious weeknight meals. My way of meal planning is easily adaptable and scalable. It’s also perfect for families with picky eaters and busy schedules.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS.
1.On the weekend, shop for and prep at least one or two components from each category.
Greens + Vegetables Protein
Grains + Starchy Vegetables Healthy Fats
Toppings + Condiments
Pro Tip:I like to prepare my veggies, grains, and protein as simply as possible with olive oil, salt, and pepper. This keeps time in the kitchen to a minimum and lets me easily change things up by adding whatever spices and condiments I’m in the mood for when ready to eat. (It also let’s picky eaters easily customize their plates without you having to be a short order cook. Win!)
Also, don’t worry about using the grocery store for help. Get those veggies pre-chopped or buy an organic rotisserie chicken if it makes your life easier.
2. When you’re ready to eat, simply choose one component from each category and assemble the bowls.
I reheat our meals in either a skillet or the toaster oven, but feel free to use the microwave too. We’re going for quick and easy!
As far as actual cooking goes, I may sauté an onion, wilt down greens, or quickly roast chopped broccoli, but that’s pretty much as complex as it gets. Maybe I’ll take all of the veggies and turn them into a stir-fry, but the take away here is those veggies were already chopped and the rice was cooked!
Use different toppings, spices, and condiments to change up the flavor profiles each night. Try Asian-inspired broccoli quinoa bowls on Tuesday and Mexican brown rice with ground organic turkey and red peppers for Wednesday. A few of my favorites pantry items to always keep on hand are salsa, cumin, chili powder, coconut aminos, sesame oil, tahini, and a few hot sauces. Lemons, limes, and scallions also do wonders brightening up a bowl.
AS I ALWAYS SAY – HEALTHY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD.
The key is keeping it simple 85% of the time.Because there’s definitely a place for cooking more elaborate dinners, but coming home from work or soccer practice on a Wednesday night at 7 p.m. isn’t one of them.
My goal with this post is to show you how easy it is to feed yourself and your family simple, delicious food any night of the week. It’s one of the first things I teach my clients and a key skill for building lifelong healthy habits.
I’ve put together an in-depth guide on this topic with lots of recipe suggestions and tips / tricks. It’s completely free, and you can download it here.