The basic principle of meal prep
I am a big advocate of simple meals. Don’t get me wrong--I love hanging out in the kitchen and stirring away at something fancy. But truth be told, I don’t have much time for that. If you’re anything like me and time is a precious thing, or cooking something complex freaks you out, this post is for you. Cooking and meal prep do not have to be very involved at all. All cooking simply means is having your pantry and fridge minimally stocked with some basic tools and you’re good to go.
When we eat, the goal is to satiate us. We can achieve that by being mindful and trying to balance our plates with the BIG 3: starch, plants, and protein. I find using the BIG 3 is a helpful starting point for when we are looking to make something fast or don’t know where to begin in creating meals.
What are the BIG 3?
Starch, or more often called “carbs,” is your grain group. It includes rice, quinoa, pasta, bread, cereal, oats, etc. It also includes starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, plantains, and yucca.
Plants – I know plants can be considered a part of any of the groups in the BIG 3, especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. However, for the sake of simplicity, I am going to say fruits and vegetables are your plants. You can also think of the produce section in the supermarket as the “plants”. Side note: avocado is a fruit but eaten like a vegetable.
Protein is any animal (i.e. anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies), any animal byproduct (i.e. milk, yogurt, eggs), beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and meat substitutes (i.e. tofu, tempeh, seitan).
With this in mind:
- Starch + Plant + Protein = Meal
- Starch or Plant + Protein = Snack
Here are some examples:
- Oatmeal + Banana + Peanut Butter = Breakfast
- Toast + Avocado + Hummus = Lunch
- Quinoa + Kale + Tofu = Dinner
- Apple + Walnuts = Snack
You’ve likely seen combinations like these on restaurant menus and Instagram photos, just without the pizazz of spices and presentation. Simplify your thoughts and trust your intelligence with food. Try this out: Make 3-4 combos like the ones listed, on your own. This can hopefully get your wheels turning on meal prep and create some independence from your Seamless account.