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Having a weekly meal plan is a key ingredient when it comes to eating healthy. However, you might not have three extra hours to spend in the kitchen every day prepping your meals. Creating healthy habits requires repetition until it becomes autopilot. This weekly meal plan will do just that for you. It’s set up so that you can establish healthy habits with little work. Once you can easily integrate this weekly meal plan, then you can start adding some diversity without adding in bad habits.
This meal plan is gluten free and dairy free!
Eating real food requires forward thinking, organization, and a bit of multi-tasking so that you can eat healthy and yummy meals. Our family almost never eats out. Besides it being expensive, we just prefer how delicious our home cooked meals are. Since we’ve been eating like this for a long time, it’s almost impossible for us to eat out because every time we do we end up not feeling too good.
If you do a little food prep work one day a week and then put your Crock-Pot or Instant Pot to work the rest of the week, you can have healthy meals ready to eat with very little prep time involved.
Goals Of This Weekly Meal Plan
The goal with this weekly meal plan is to help you avoid eating out. I have a saying, “The worst thing at home is better than the best thing eating out.” Now, this is assuming your worst thing at home is still a natural food. You might want to jump over to my Nutrition Habits for a Healthier Life blog after this to see all the nutrition habits that are integrated into this meal plan. The number one rule is to eat things that you can trace back to a mom or a seed. Regardless of if you are Paleo, Keto, Vegan, etc, the best way to improve your health, happiness, and energy level is by eating real food without chemicals or preservatives.
This meal plan will help you with:
- Batching your food prep so you spend less time in the kitchen
- Eating foods that will help you be healthy and give you energy
- Avoiding possible food allergens like wheat and gluten
- Minimize dairy products
- Establishing habits that you can apply forever
Personally, I’m not a breakfast person. I make an amazing cup of coffee when I wake up and then hit the ground running. Please don’t drink Starbucks whatever you do. I’m super biased on this one. I feel that Starbucks coffee is too hard on your adrenals and adrenal health is key to being healthy and happy.
If you’ve never made your own French Press of coffee, here’s the jist of it:
- Heat water in an electric tea kettle (or over the stovetop) until it reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This teakettle is perfect because it has a setting to stop when the water reaches 200. This one is perfect if you choose to do a pour-over coffee.
- Meanwhile, grind coffee beans in an electric grinder or hand grinder so that the beans are fine but not powder-like. Try to find organic, small batched coffee from a local coffee roaster. It makes a huge difference!
- Then, put the freshly ground beans in your French Press and pour the 200-degree water to fill with water. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes
If you really don’t have time for your own cup of Joe, then at least find a coffee shop that serves locally roasted, preferably organic, coffee. But really, it doesn’t take that long to just make it yourself.
If you need breakfast, here are three options. If you are really crunched for time, you can just eat a bar. I think these are the absolute best bars you can have for breakfast and if I do need food in the morning, this is what I always reach for. If you are busy but want something healthy and more cost effective, use our gluten-free, dairy-free banana bread recipe. Make a loaf on Sunday and then slice it up and put it in a container so it’s easy to grab on the go.
If you do better with a big breakfast in the morning, then I recommend making it a balanced but quick meal of eggs with black beans and spinach. This takes very little time if you time it well with making your coffee. Start by cracking the egg in the pan and cooking it on medium-low while you heat your water and grind your beans for coffee. When you are waiting for the coffee to be pressed, you can add a handful of spinach and some black beans to the pan that you cooked your egg in. Give them a few quick stirs to warm them up, and just like that, you have coffee and a great breakfast in less than 10 minutes.
As one last option, you could make bacon ahead of time and warm up a few pieces in a pan (not microwave) as you run out the door. Or if you aren’t crunched for time, make bacon for breakfast. Remember to find a well sourced bacon. It’s not pasture-raised, but I do like Trader Joe’s Applewood Bacon.
If you were one of those crazy people who skipped breakfast, this might be an easy place for you to eat a Rickaroon bar to give you a little energy burst until lunch. Or you could reach for hummus and veggies.
Now most pre-made hummus contains canola oil and you really should avoid canola oil because it messes with your hormones, which will cause you to be tired and gain weight.
To make your own hummus, combine all of the following ingredients into a food processor or high powered blender like this. You can add a little water to thin it if needed and also salt it to your preference. You can double this recipe if you need to make it for a large family like I do.
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
The best choice for improving your overall health would be to make a Monster Sized Salad like I describe below.
The second best choice would be to have a minimal salad, which I admit is what I do often because it’s fast and I don’t need a lot of food until dinner time. It’s up to you depending on how hungry you are in the middle or end of the day.
For my minimalist salad, I skip making the avocado dressing listed below and buy the Green Goddess dressing at Trader Joes, along with a bag of Wild Arugula and add walnuts or pine nuts. If I do this and I’m on the go, I just take a big bowl with me to mix my salad in.
Like I mentioned before, I encourage you to avoid eating out. If preparing a salad just isn’t feasible, try packing a European style lunch of salami, cheese, and olives. Try to find well sourced varieties of salami and stick to organic cheeses or a European style cheese.
- 2 huge handfuls of greens
- A handful of seeds or nuts
- Leftover protein from dinner or bacon + hard-boiled eggs
- Quinoa + black beans
- Sun-dried tomato, artichokes, or olives
- Avocado or avocado dressing
Avocado Detox Salad Dressing
Combine the following ingredients in a food processor or blender:
- 3 small or 2 large avocados
- 2 chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
You might not need an afternoon snack, but if you find yourself feeling tired or sluggish, try drinking a kombucha. Even though kombucha is very healthy, it may drop your blood sugar levels so follow it up with some nuts or even a little cheese and salami.
If you are trying to gain muscle, this might be the best time to add a protein shake like this one from BioTrust. It’s our absolute favorite brand of protein powder!
Most of our dinners are some form of taco or rice bowl. To keep things simple, start with these rice bowls and soon I’ll be adding our taco recipes to the website. You could easily serve all of this side by side on a plate, but the basic idea with the rice bowl is getting in the following foods:
- A well sourced protein (see below)
- Organic Brown Rice
- Black Beans (or another bean is fine)
- Potatoes or Squash
- Probiotic food or an additional fat source
We use rice bowls as a staple especially when we are crunched on time. We vary the flavor by doing different meats and different toppings but the base is always brown rice, black beans, and arugula. You can easily switch up the type of rice, bean, and green.
For protein, we alternate between organic chicken, shredded pork or beef, sausage links, ground sausage, or ground beef. Fish could work too but we save all our fish for fish tacos because it’s our family’s absolute favorite dinner. Always try to find grass-fed, free-range, and wild-caught meats. If you are vegan, skip the meat.
We always have another starch in it. Most of the time it is diced and sautéed sweet potato. To save time, bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time on Sunday and then when it’s time to eat, you can quickly peel, dice, and warm them up in a pan. The small organic potatoes work really good in these rice bowls too.
If you have little extra time you could do diced and sautéed zucchini or summer squash. In the fall, we use acorn, spaghetti, butternut, and a new favorite, red kuri squash. If you have an Instant Pot, it’s really easy to cook your squash ahead of time on your food prep day and keep it in containers for later in the week.
We love arugula so our rice bowls are usually on a bed of greens. We also add some other type of flavor such as guacamole, salsa, seaweed, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Just like with the salad, you could easily add sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, or olives for a different flavor.
We limit our gluten and eat almost no processed food, but we are active and need carbs. Since I eat very little before dinner, I love to have a snack before bed. My go-to is a homemade bread or muffin with almond butter and a cup of tea. I’d rather eat homemade gluten free breads to stay healthy than any dessert buy in a store.
Our Gluten Free Bread Recipes:
Stock Your Pantry
To save time on grocery shopping, I try to restock my pantry at the beginning of every month. Check your pantry to make sure you have these items:
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Organic brown rice
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado and or Olive Oil
- Garlic and Onions
- Salt, Pepper, Tumeric, Cumin, Chili Powder (no msg or preservatives)
- Baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon
- Almond flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, and coconut flour
- Gluten free oats, organic sugar, raw honey
- Almond milk
- Applesauce (for baking)
Food Prep for the Beginning of the Week
This gets really fast if you have a lot of appliances and counter space that you can use all at once. I can get out my crockpot, instant pot, standing mixer, food processor, and Vitamix and make a whole bunch of delicious food in just a few hours. Then, during the week, it’s fast to reheat in a pan. Try to avoid using your microwave as much as possible.
A few hours in the kitchen on Sunday will make it so that you have a lot of really healthy and delicious meals prepped and ready to go for the entire week!
1 | Bake your potatoes
Count up all the potatoes and sweet potatoes you need to get through the week and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.
2 | Cook Quinoa and Rice
Cook enough brown rice for the next one or two days. Cooking all the brown rice isn’t really necessary and instead, you can cook it the night before or if you have a rice cooker with a delay, you can start it in the morning so it’s ready for your dinner when you get home.
If you are going to add quinoa to your monster salad, this is a good time to cook it also. I do the rice in my instant pot or rice cooker and the quinoa on the stove since it cooks so fast, but you could just do them both in a rice cooker or instant pot.
3 | Cook Protein for your Salad
One easy way to add protein in your salad during the week is to precook a whole chicken or a roast and then peel it and dice it ahead of time. Put a whole chicken or grass fed roast on high in the crockpot first thing in the morning. In 3-4 hours turn it off, let it cool, peel the chicken off the bones or slice up the roast, and put meat in a container to use later in the week. Shredded Beef comes out really great in the instant pot if you cut the roast into 2-3 inch chunks and add a few dried chiles, salt, pepper, cumin, a small can of tomato paste, a splash of white vinegar and a splash of olive oil.
If you don’t need that much protein then you could skip this or if you love pork, cook bacon on the stove while you are prepping the rest. I love bacon and hard boiled eggs in my salad so I will also hard boil at least a dozen eggs ahead of time to use throughout the week. Trader Joes sells hard boiled eggs in a bag that are ready to go and Costco does too but it’s in so much packaging I won’t buy it unless I’m desperate on a road trip :/
4 | Bake Banana Bread
I really won’t eat bread or pastries unless I’m in France or occasionally some sourdough bread here, which means we bake a lot of gluten free breads and muffins. Having a healthier “sweet treat” I think is a huge part of eating right. You want something you can grab in the morning or whenever you are on the go and I find these muffins to give me more energy and be less sugary than most bars.
While the potatoes and meat are cooking, you can make your almond flour banana bread or other pastry. It’s nice to time this so that you can put the bread in the oven right when the potatoes come out.
5 | Dice Veggies
By now your potatoes and rice should be done, your bread or muffins are baking, now you get to prep your veggies for the week. I usually wash and cut up celery, carrots, broccoli, bell pepper to use in hummus or to eat in salad. If you are not trying to lose weight or limit carbs, Stacey’s pita chips are nice to have on hand to eat with your hummus because they don’t have any bad ingredients.
That’s a wrap for your Sunday prep day. Store all of that in containers for the week so they are ready to quickly add to your healthy meals.
Daily Meal Prep
If you are doing the rice bowls, all you really have to do to make dinner is cook your protein since your rice is already cooked, you bought prewashed arugula or spinach, your squash or potatoes are already cooked and only need to be warmed up, and now you just need to rinse a can of beans.
There are a couple of ways to keep your daily meal prep to a minimum. One is to cook double the amount of protein so you can have dinner for multiple days at a time. Putting a roast or whole chicken in the crockpot in the morning and leaving it on low for the day is an easy way to do this.
The other way to keep your food prep time down is to use an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot can cook an entire roast in about 30 minutes, but you should account for about an hour of combined prep and cook time because it does take a little while for the Instant Pot to pressurize and release, plus time to cool it off and slice.
Remember to have meat defrosted every day. Also, timing your avocados so that one is ripe each day takes a little planning ahead.
I hope this weekly meal plan helps you feel organized and inspired to eat healthy. It takes me about 3 hours to prep my weekly meals on Sunday and only a little bit of time each day to get everything warmed up and served for dinner.
Forget Dieting! Do This Instead!
In this video, I’m teaching my 5 key strategies to use so that you can stop looking for the next diet plan and enjoy your food while also rebalancing your hormones and giving your body the energy it needs to chase your dreams.
By eating real food, listening to your intuition, reducing cortisol levels, chasing flow state, and tapping into your energetic hubs, your relationship with food will be a source of empowerment not frustration.
As I explain in my book, A Playful Life, I explain how to rethink your relationship with food and give you shift your eating plan so that you can start enjoying your food and your life more. Download my book for free.
Thursday 11th of June 2020
Wow! this is surely going to work for me. Meal plans for the whole day are precise and easy to follow. I wish there were more choices for breakfast and as that is one meal we have big. I love the prep plans. Thanks for providing diet and prep plans in detail.