Meal Planning Made Easy

By January 21, 2015blog, Nourishing Bites

Far too often, when I start coaching a client on improving their food choices, they will say to me, “Just tell me what to eat.”


Let me be clear, I don’t ever tell clients exactly what they should eat on any given day.  That is not what I do, that is what diets do.


I don’t do diets and neither should you. (More on that in a later post)


The work I do teaches you how to nourish your best life and, of course, what you are fueling your life with has a profound effect on the “quality” of your life.


I educate you about food:  what is in your food, how your body responds to food, and how to improve your food choices.  What I don’t do is choose your food for you, ever.  Why not?  Because, ultimately, it disempowers you, and greatly reduces your chance of success in the long run.


Besides, the things that I like to eat may not be the things that make your taste buds do their happy dance.


That being said, we all have days that we get bored with our food and we just wish someone would give us an idea or ten about how to shake things up.


In light of this, I have some ideas for you to make tomorrow a little easier.


Before we go there, let’s agree on a few BASIC TENANTS OF HEALTHY EATING:


1.  Eat nourishing foods often and much.

Your car can only go so far without being refueled, the fire can only burn for so long without being “fed”, and YOU, my friend, can only expect your body to perform optimally for a short while before your cells need to be restocked with all of the goodness that makes them do their magic!   Your ability to go 8 hours without eating is not something to be proud of, it is a sign of metabolic decline.  A healthy body is hungry OFTEN.


2.  Be mindful when you eat. 

Eating at your computer, in your car, or as you dash out of the house crushes your awareness of what and how much  you are actually eating.  Give your meals your full attention.  You will digest better, eat more of the good stuff and, most likely, less of the bad.  Eating is a primary instinct but should not be a mindless one!

3.  Be Grateful

This is so easy to do, that is it really, really easy not to do.  Taking time before a meal to just recognize that:

A.  You have a CHOICE with what you feed your body (a choice that is denied to far to  many people in other parts of the world)

B.  The food you are about to eat (assuming it is a nourishing food) is going to infuse so much brilliance into your body and allow you to do so many things you just might for granted (move, think, breath, detoxify, feel, express, etc).


4.  Add Protein at Every Meal

In all of the years I have coached women to embed healthier eating practices into their life, I have NEVER had a client seek me out and see that she was eating too much protein.  Nope.  It is the overabundance of starchy and/or processed carbs, and unhealthy fats that I see time and time again (among a host of other poor lifestyle habits).

Protein does a body good in SO MANY ways:  it builds and repairs tissue, makes enzymes, hormones and other vital chemicals, and it is an incredibly important building block of most of your anatomy.  If that doesn’t inspire you to eat more protein, hear this:  protein keeps you fuller, longer, which ultimately helps you control blood sugar and make better food choices more often.


5.  Go Crazy on the Veggies

If you don’t like veggies…too bad.  You MUST learn to LOVE them if you want to maximize your heath.  Vegetables contain micronutrients, as in vitamins and minerals that support our body in so many incredible ways.  Veggies also contain the powerful benefits of phytonutrients (which help to reduce the risk of disease) and antioxidants (which protect us from free radical damage); they aid in alkalinizing our system, reduce our risk of osteoporosis, improve blood sugar control and help us maintain stellar digestive health.  What’s not to like, really??!!


Now with that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you with that damn “how to do better” part:


Ways to Jump Start Your Day:


  • Nuts and Berries/Veggies – raw nuts are best and make sure your berries are organic.  ¼ cup of nuts and a cup of berries is an awesome start to your day


  • Veggie Scramble – cut up a cup or two of your favorite veggies, add a few eggs on top, and season to your liking (low or no sodium is ideal)


  • Oatmeal Pancake – ¼ cup of oatmeal, 3 eggs, ½ cup blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Grill in a little coconut oil.  Yum!


  • Kitchen Sink – bring on the dinner leftovers.  Steak, turkey, and chicken all mix well with eggs and veggies.


“Take Anywhere” Snack Ideas:


  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Raw Nuts
  • Cut up Veggies (always)
  • High Quality (no fillers or additives) Protein Powder
  • Fruit
  • High Quality Beef Jerkey – try making your own (check out this easy breezy recipe)
  • Smoothies (to which you can add protein powder, veggies, nuts or a little fruit)


Prep Meals in 15 minutes or less:


  • Roasted Chicken
  • Turkey Muffins (ground turkey, tons of chopped veggies, bake in a muffin tin at 350 for 30 min)
  • Ground Beef, Turkey or Chicken, Mushrooms, Onions and Tomatoes Over Spaghetti Squash
  • Grilled Salmon and Veggies
  • Baked Yam with Black Beans, Avocado and Salsa
  • Stir-fry – Any and all veggies with a protein source.


A Few Pointers:


  • Cook A LOT at dinnertime so you have extra for lunch (or a kitchen sink breakfast) the next few days.


  • Prep the next days food while you are prepping dinner (cut veggies, hard boil eggs, bag your nuts and other goods)


  • Take food with you everywhere you go.  Every night restock your purse with some protein powder (mason jars work well for this), nuts and a piece of fruit.  You are MOST likely to make bad choices when you are hungry and tired, so have something on hand to tide you over at all times.


RIGHT NOW… do yourself a favor.  Write down two food items you are committing to carrying with you at all times, and then go put those things in your purse, gym bag or car so you always have a healthy “go-to” snack.  I assure you they won’t last long.


That’s how change happens…one small committed step at a time.


Now, share this email with a woman you know who could use a little help with the “doing better” part of taking care of herself.


  • tricia says:

    What kind of protein powder do you get? Thanks T

  • Courtney says:


    I use Bluebonnet’s Whey Protein Isolate. You have to be really careful to read labels when looking for quality powder. You should know what every ingredient is. You do not want fillers or additives. Bluebonnet’s whey comes from grass fed cattle in New Zealand, which is awesome! You can buy it at Mountain Valley or on Amazon:)

  • sunshine says:

    very interested- pls sign me up for your news letter so i can learn more.
    Thank you

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Hi Heather.

      Thank you for the feedback. To register for the newsletter you simply need to enter your name and email address into the opt-in box on the website. Once you enter that info, you will receive an email in your inbox asking you to confirm your subscription. Easy!


  • Debbie/Prakash says:

    Hi Courtney. Thanks for sharing this. I’m doing great in many areas but I can only have a small amount of fish, bison and turkey. I’m allergic to dairy, eggs, chicken, and duck. I’ve been tested. What do you think of pork? I’d prefer to be vegan so I do a lot of legumes, but cannot digest garbanzos, so lentils it is. Any suggestions for vegans on the go?

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Hello, my gorgeous friend. Yes, allergies can make the protein equation more complicated. Pork is a more challenging protein for the body to digest, so moderation is key and, obviously, make sure you purchase pork that was raised with good farming practices (no hormones, antibiotics etc) – which, I know you will. Protein powder would help you tremendously. I understand you have a dairy allergy, so I would check out plant based powders (Sun Warrior, VegaOne, Plant Fusion). Definitely incorporate the beans that work for you, but not the ones that don’t (beans can be tricky). Quinoa and lots of leafy greens would also help:)

      • angela says:

        Hi Debbie and Courtney 🙂
        Sun Warrior “Warrior Blend” is my favorite. It us hemp based and super clean. This was a grear post and made me nostalgic for the old forum!. Thanks for the refresher course! 🙂

  • donna says:

    Courtney this is a great list of easy meals….I notice you’re keeping brown rice and Ezekiel bread, tortillas, etc off the list…are you pretty much advocating grain free these days? Even if combined with protein to mitigate the high glycemic effect?

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Donna, I kept the whole grain items out of this article, mainly because I do not think that grains work for everyone and I think people tend to really neglect protein and veggies THE MOST. Grains are a loaded topic. I definitely do not advocate ANY processed grains, but whole grains like rolled oats, brown rice and quinoa seem to work for some people in moderation:)

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