chicken with rice and broccoli
Learning to Cook

Meal Planning Using the Big 4

When you think about the age-old question, “what’s for dinner”, it can get daunting with all of the diets and superfoods out there that are supposed to help us feel better and look great. To overcome the stress that comes with cooking for yourself and a family on a daily basis, I have devised a simpl meal planning routine, or as I like to call it a meal prep routine.

Meal planning Big 4 categories title page

I believe that simple is better. For each person “simple” will look different because of our different backgrounds and preferences. It might be a salad, a soup, or a stew. However, they should all contain the basic building blocks that our bodies need to keep us strong and healthy.

Components to Add to Your Meal Planning

These four are protein, carb, fat, and veggie.

I’m sure you’ve heard of these food groups before, but what do they actually mean when you are preparing your meals? Here are the four categories I stick to in more detail:

Veggies

Have as many whole, fresh foods as possible. By this, I mean eating what I would find in grandma’s garden (or in another garden that’s maybe a little more south 😉  ). This should ideally be half the plate, like a nice salad. However, if you have a picky eater, like my husband, the veggies can be disguised in a sauce or meat dish. My meal prep consists of washing and cutting up vegetables so that they are easy to add to the various dishes.

Proteins

Keep it simple but add flavour. For example, simple minced meat which is a great protein can take on so many flavours. Just by varying the spices you could turn this into a Mexican or Italian dish. On my meal prep day I like to cook up either a batch of beef or chicken with two different spices to keep the dishes interesting.

Carbs

If you’re like me and hate waiting, prepare these in advance. On your meal prep day boil pasta or lentils or buckwheat and keep in a container ready to mix in with other ingredients or simply have as a side for your favourite dish. Boiled potatoes are great to cut up and fry or mash up.

Fat

Olive oil, butter, peanut butter, avocados, cheese, etc. – all of these add flavour and help us to feel more satisfied. The key is to not to have too much. When doing meal planning, think of things like avocado toast or peanut butter jelly sandwich or an omlette with cheese.

Whenever I do my meal planning I think of these 4 categories. Some days I feel like a superhero because I include several superfoods, other days I’m simply satisfied with the meal I have put together using these four categories. At the end of the day, feeling satisfied with your meal is what really matters.

Don’t know where to start with meal prep?

Meal planning can be super simple and enjoyable. If you want to start cooking more at home without feeling like a slave to the kitchen, visit my 5 Day Meal Prep Challenge. You will receive an e-mail every day for 5 days with a simple actionable step to organize your cooking routines and create your meal plan.

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