Healthy Meal Plan
Friends, I wanted to share some of my super quick super delicious super nutritious meals for times we have very limited time or energy resources. The impetus for this post is what I’m currently going through: I will never forget the way I celebrated Presidents’ Day 2022, at the American Dream Mall: I didn’t waste any time slipping on the mall’s absurdly slick floor, breaking my right shoulder (righty, so, you get the picture: pure misery) and a lumbar vertebrae. A day that started out delightful, in the precious company of my children and grandchildren, had just turned into a nightmare. Behaving as wisely and philosophically as I possibly can while I wait to hear my fate (surgery or not).
While this is sadly not in my hands, a healthy meal plan definitely is! It’s deplorable enough to get bent out of shape for weeks and months, so the only way to mitigate this problem is to work on the perfect food plan!
It All Starts With a Healthy Meal Plan
I am into my stranded week #13.
The first 6 weeks of my ordeal, when I could do absolutely nothing, we received a beautiful wholesome meal for two every single night, like clockwork (check out the amazing life saving meal train app!) I will be forever grateful to all the wonderful family members, friends and neighbors who flew to my help, not just for the meals, but for shopping, showers, escorts to the doctors, visits etc.
At the end of the meal train, almost two months ago, I implemented for myself a system I had been teaching to countless of my fans and followers for decades: efficient prep work that will get you lots of mileage: when you want a real meal and can rely on the building blocks you have created and saved.
Healthy Meal Plan: Prepping with Friends
Let me start by saying that, by and large, I am still not able to do my own meal prep independently. Dear neighbor friends take turns meal shopping and meal prepping for me, following my instructions. At the end of the cooking day, they run home delightedly with some of the loot: yes, they all work for food! Thank you again dearest friends for all your help and the gift of your friendship. I wisely kept you well fed all these years: best investment I ever made for a rainy broken-bone day! Comforting and delicious for all parties concerned. Thank you for all the shopping peeling dicing slicing searing storing! I pray I will be able to return the favors soon, in good health and spirits!
My Healthy Meal Plan Guidelines
I have always believed, rightfully it turns out, that no matter how stranded and how limited we might be, we can come up with a healthy meal. Just read my Quick Healthy Meal Survival Guide, and you’ll promptly understand how devoted I have been all my life to this essential subject. It has always served me right.
My guidelines are invariably:
- Functional foods only. That means, whole foods that nourish and benefit you, not frivolous empty calories
- Healthy protein. Good balance of plant and animal proteins. Ending up with whole proteins.
- High fiber. Good carbs. Whole grains and legumes. Why waste calories on white rice white flour white grains when there is no end of whole grains, bread and pasta, wholesome sugars and sweeteners, pulses and legumes to choose from, for virtually the same price or just a drop more?
- Calories well spent. From soup to nuts. Self explanatory.
I will place the focus of this chapter on main course salads, and will say a few words on burgers, soups and muffins. Throwing a salmon steak or chicken cutlet in a skillet? You don’t need me for that, you know what to do!
Salad Prep Plan
To me, making a huge batch of salad, dividing it in containers and eating it day after day is not my – or anyone’s – idea of a meal thrill. Rather, storing very basic salad greens that you can take in a dozen exciting directions everyday, now that is a thrill!
I will walk you through the story of this main course, beginning to end, blow by blow, and the rest will be easy, for all other salad preps, across the board.
I buy a big bag of prewashed kale greens. They are bone dry, so, no possible water damage. The ribs are just too tough to eat, so I remove them completely, it only takes a few minutes. Now I put all the leaves in a big bowl, pour enough little olive oil to coat them lightly but thoroughly, and rub the oil through all the leaves. Lucky kale getting a thorough massage!
Now the oiled leaves are sturdy and will keep a good few days, separated into flat shallow containers as needed.
In the salad above, I looked around in the fridge, and I found my super reliable and super easy homemade and friend-made kimchi. I simply adore it and couldn’t be without it: in one fell swoop, I get highly probiotic fermented foods, and all the salt and all the sour stuff (plus the added kick from the spicy Korean gochugaru I threw in the kimchi) I need in the whole salad.
Assembling the Salad
Salad above Ctnd. I also found in the fridge: a pink lady apple, a few slices natural smoked turkey, and a bowl of cooked whole wheat bulgur (Bulgur: wonderful high protein high fiber hearty grain. Microwave 1 cup with bulgur with 1 2/3 cups water, tightly covered, for 4-5 minutes. Fluff with two forks. Take what you need and store the rest sealed in the fridge for subsequent uses).
Variations and/or add ins in Kale Salad
Make your selection short and sweet from: kimchi, diced tofu, smoked salmon, corn, sweet potatoes, cooked diced chicken, toasted seeds or nuts, soft boiled or fried egg, diced sharp cheese etc…
Israeli Salad Prep
Do all your dicing. Now store in wide shallow – not narrow and deep – containers, so as not to draw moisture from the veggies.
Want to always have fresh herbs on hand? Chop your cilantro, mint, dill, parsley, etc.., transfer it into a glass jar and cover with olive oil. No herbs will go to waste again, and they are always ready when you are!
Israeli Salad Add Ins and Dressings
Make your selection from: A dollop of your favorite chopped fresh herbs in olive oil (love mint, parsley and cilantro in oil. It keeps well in the refrigerator); cooked chick peas; cooked bulgur (see bulgur prep above), crumbled feta, diced avocados; olives; diced jalapeños; capers; diced manchego or other strong cheese.
Dressings: Greek yogurt-olive oil- Zaatar; tehina-lemon-zaatar; or just oil lemon s&p.
Chopped Salad Prep
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful and how nourishing a broccoli-centered chopped salad can be! My new age Waldorf salad!
Dice small a small broccoli head and a pink lady or other good sweet crunchy apple. Thinly dice a shallot and 2 peeled ribs celery. Add 2/3 cup golden raisins and 2/3 cup roasted slivered almonds. Dress lightly with olive oil, cider vinegar, s&p. Store in shallow containers.
Chopped Salad Add Ins
Delicious as is, or with added crumbled feta or manchego, or diced cooked or grilled chicken.
This is a major chapter on burgers, with all sauces and dips to serve them with. All burgers freeze very well, and once you thaw them, you can reheat them or eat them cold in sandwiches.
I often eat muffins as a mini meal, using super healthy ingredients. And to maximize their nutritional value, I greatly minimize the sugar: I use 80% Erythritol, my favorite non caloric sweetener , and only 20% sucanat (natural raw sugar). Let this mother muffin recipe be your guide!
My blog is chock full of the delicious, quick, inexpensive and nutritious soups. Search literally any soup you want, its all there. Make a big batch and freeze! Here are a few just to get you started
Fried Rice Prep
The picture tells the story. In the same skillet, no washing between the batches, fry: onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. I also cook brown rice. Store everything in small containers, and pull out what you need for your meal. All you will need to do at meal time is reheat everything together in a skillet, add seasonings, throw in cooked diced meat or chicken and any other veggies you might have on hand, and toss with beaten egg. You will get the best homemade fried rice dinner! You might also want to use pasta instead of rice to change it up.