“How do I cook healthy every night for my busy family?” “I don’t want to make anything when it’s just me, so I eat quick, unhealthy foods all the time.” These are things I hear often from my clients. Planning meals for the week can be frustrating and overwhelming for some people. I reassure them that it doesn’t need to be specific or perfect to make a plan that is doable and healthy. Being flexible and making sure that specific foods are in the house to prevent bad choices and frustration at the end of the day can be helpful.
Keeping lean proteins around all the time is a key. Some good options for protein to always have in the freezer are chicken breasts (portioned out for you or family size), beef, bison or elk (ground or loin), pork tenderloin, wild salmon, shrimp, eggs, turkey or veggie burgers. Since most of us think of the main source of our meals as the protein first, it’s easier to then build around those. It’s helpful to keep convenient, easy-to-grab proteins around, such as hard boiled eggs, turkey burgers, or veggies burgers that can be used as a last minute meal that can be thawed out quickly.
Healthy grains can be easily paired with proteins by having them already cooked and stored in the fridge. Have cooked quinoa, brown rice or wild rice in storage containers ready to grab and just heat if needed. Cutting vegetables on the weekends for easy grab during the week or steamed veggies in the bag are another easy go to.
Plan meals the nights you know you have time, but don’t beat yourself up about having a few “free for all” nights either. Soup and sandwich nights are always easy. Breakfast for lunch/dinner is also a bonus in my house. Whether it’s a meal prepped in the crock pot before your day begins, or beginning to think about dinner at 3 p.m., in the end, it’s having the peace of mind that you have the right, healthy foods available in your kitchen.