The maniac’s guide to meal planning: part 3 of 4

meal planning: breathing space week

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This is the third post of a four-part series on meal planning like a boss–even when life’s crazy.
The first post can be found here.
The second post can be found here.

Last week, we got down n’ dirty on how to survive Crunch Weeks: your busiest, no-time-for-the-kitchen weeks. We made BFF’s with dried fruits, nuts, canned goods and other nonperishables.

By now, your tastebuds are probably jonesin’ for something fresh, but you’re still juggling away-from-home commitments a few nights this week–meaning that spaghetti squash recipe that requires an hour of roasting time? Probably ain’t gonna happen.

Worry not. Even if you only have two or three evenings free, there’s still plenty of time for healthy, non-bland meals during…

Breathing Space Week (in which life + work is actually kinda balanced and we’re all super zen about it)

I’ll hearken back to the formulas mentioned last week:

  • Breakfast–grain* + healthy fat + natural sweetness
  • Lunch and dinner–grain* + healthy fat + frozen produce

These formulas are flexible enough to allow you to adjust them to your own tastes, but solid enough to keep you healthy and fully nourished.

Rather than relying solely on non-perishables this time around, treat yourself to a few fresh additions—resorting to the template above is a great way to keep lunch low-maintenance, but to mix up your breakfast and dinner options, give these a go:

Breakfasts: Smoothies! Oh man, I could sing the praises of smoothies for days. Filling and delicious when you do them right, and easy to pour into a reusable bottle for drinking on the way to work. Rather than pore over the octillion smoothie recipes on the internet, I’ll just point you to Matt Frazier’s amazing Perfect Smoothie Formula—life just got 1000x easier.

Lunches + Dinners: I cook because it’s therapy, but totally realize that’s not the case for everyone. If you don’t want to spend your precious free hours in front of the stove, add a mass-quantity dish to your list of prep day items. Chilis (especially this one or this one), casseroles and burritos are all excellent choices, as they can be frozen for long-term storage in case your week gets more chaotic than expected. To clean up that burrito recipe a bit, sub brown or black rice for the white, go for sprouted tortillas instead of white flour and trade the cheese for an avocado.

Snacks: Tired of dried fruit, plain ol’ nuts and the like? Give something a little more decadent a whirl—banana bread, homemade energy bars, raw brownies or chocolate turtles = drool-worthy results for surprisingly little effort.

In need of Breathing Space Week recipe inspiration? Follow my whole-foods based Pinterest boards (I also keep a running list of Kitchen Hacks over here).

Next Tuesday, we’ll cover Vacation Week (funky n’ fresh all week looong). Until then, let me know how you handle your Crunch and Breathing Space weeks in the comments.

*If you prefer a grain-free lifestyle, substitute “grain” with a healthy starch–sweet or regular potatoes, squash, carrots and parsnips are good examples here.

  

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