If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that when I cook or share recipes; they typically include minimal ingredients and are fairly simple; to the point.  The less fuss, the better in my opinion. And because I don’t meal prep dinners, I like them to be a quick-fix as well.  

A friend and I were talking about our dinner preparations the other day and she shared a story of one of her co-workers that always remarks on what she brings for lunch saying something like, “your food always looks so good; I need your recipes.” To which she replied, “you put chicken in a pan, add salsa, and bake it.”  
Is it really that simple? Well, yes….it is and it can be. It’s why I sometimes chuckle when people ask me for recipes. I’m like, “Ummm…squeeze lime, add mustard, pepper, garlic, and grill…” Unless you truly enjoy preparing extravagant meals, have a large group to feed, and unlimited hours to prepare; then cooking dinner each night doesn’t really need to be that big of a deal.
In the words of my friends at Happy Hemp.
Photo Credit: Happy Hemp.
I’ve shared with you before my tips on Cooking & Creating Recipes 101; but today I’m going to share with you this list that I kept hanging on my fridge for years (until we moved, and bought a new fridge that doesn’t have a magnetic door).  It’s from an issue of the CrossFit Journal that covers The Zone Diet.  I’m merely sharing the list with you; not the diet nor the protocols because I’m not here to steer you in one direction or another. Though, the macro split the Zone Diet breaks down to is 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fat – a ratio that works fairly well for most people. Anyway, I’ve used this list before when creating meal plans for clients and for myself when I get stuck in a rut of eating the same things week after week. It’s like we sometimes forget that we have other options to choose from. In my opinion, the more references the better – as they say, “Variety is the spice of life!”  It’s why I buy all kinds of cookbooks, research other nutrition programs, etc – usually people fall somewhere in between this dogma or that and the beauty of it all is that we can choose which way of eating works best for us individually when we have the proper knowledge and implement it accordingly.
Original photo from CrossFit Journal; May 2004 issue
Above, I have shared a “flow chart” of gathering meal ideas.  I love this chart because it breaks down Proteins, Carbs, and Fats in each column.  Note: the serving sizes are based on “zone blocks” which you can learn more about by reading the entire CrossFit Journal article here
First, let me set one thing straight with you. Each food contains some amount of protein, carbs, and/or fats as well as vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals.  However, each food contains more of one than another – which classifies it as such in the chart.  For example, lots of people associate beans with protein.  And while beans do have some protein, the macronutrient that contributes the most calories per gram is carbohydrates. Similarly, people often think peanut butter is a protein source, when in fact it contributes more fat than protein per gram…..make sense?
Ok, back to the picture above.  Here’s how one can go about creating a dinner, meal idea, etc.  Pick a food from the protein column, pick a carb or two from the carb column, and a food from the fat column. If you track your marcos/blocks, you may find you can pick more than one protein, carb, or fat. Again, I’m not getting into specifics here rather just giving you another tool to add to your toolbox.
Feel free to follow the link above, print out the entire article if you wish, and give it a read. “Page 3” is really the money page in my opinion as it includes pretty much all the foods I enjoy and that my body can tolerate.
And in case you missed it, here’s a super simple recipe I shared on my Tell Me Mel Facebook page a few weeks ago.
If you need additional help meal planning or have more specific questions, I’m always an email away.