Table Talk title
What’s the best way to plan meals that are both easy and healthy?

he truth is, some of us are meal planners and some of us just aren’t! But it’s simply not true that you have to become a detailed meal planner to whip up quick, easy, healthy, and scrumptious meals for you and your family.

The following approach can work well whether you’re a “never plan a meal” type or an “ultra-planner-here’s-the-spreadsheet” type. Even ultra-planners can get unraveled when life throws curve balls, and life inevitably throws all of us curve balls at times. But even during seasons of chaos and far from perfect circumstances, you can put meals together that are healthy but oh so doable.

The healthiest meals for growing children and busy parents are grounded in protein, contain phytonutrients from veggies, offer whole grains or unprocessed carbohydrates, and/or healthy fats. These meals don’t even need recipes! They can work for any meal… breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be whipped up in just a few minutes and jazzed up with spices and seasonings.

Ask yourself five simple questions to uncomplicate meal planning and bring healthy, tasty meals to your home. We call it the “High Five” method. Each of the five fingers on one hand represent five questions.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, look at your fingers to remind yourself of the following High Five questions. It will revolutionize your meal planning world!

Let’s hit the High Fives:
  1. Do I have clean, quick-prep protein options to anchor meals? These might be pre-cooked chicken breasts (or chicken breasts you’ll season and pre-bake yourself), eggs to pre-boil for sandwiches or salads, grass-fed ground beef to pre-brown, pouch or canned tuna or salmon, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and canned black beans—or any other beans you love.
  2. Do I have fresh, pre-washed greens and easy-prep frozen or fresh veggies? Did you know that frozen veggies can be as nutritious as fresh and sometimes even more so considering that they are flash frozen at the height of freshness? Cauliflower can be used in a variety of ways from rice to the base of casseroles. Mixing riced cauliflower with brown rice can be a great way to get in some extra veggies without them even noticing! Saute them with frozen diced peas and carrots for a quick fried rice.
  3. Do I have healthy carb options? We like old fashioned oats for breakfast oatmeal or to bake into muffins, golden or sweet potatoes to pre-bake or steam, brown rice or quinoa to cook up, basic fruits like frozen or fresh berries, and fresh bananas and apples for snacks or for the sides of meals. Then you can add a piece of sprouted whole grain bread.
  4. Do I have healthy fat options for cooking and dressing such as coconut oil, butter, or extra-virgin olive oil? Do I have zero-sugar nut butters for sandwiches or to top oatmeal, yogurt bowls or to put in smoothies? Do I have healthy nuts and seeds like toasted almonds, pumpkin, and/or sunflower seeds for snacks with berries or fruit—or to throw on top of salads or in stir frys for main meals?
  5. Do I have alternative unsweetened milks and/or creamers for frozen frappes, smoothies, lattes, and coffee? Of course fermented dairy options are wonderfully healthy and whole raw milk is fabulous for growing children and some pregnant and nursing moms, but using whole milk in coffees or smoothies can be very weight promoting for people struggling with weight, so unsweetened nut milks are best for that purpose.

You’ll take your High Fives home from the store and spend an hour or two getting ready for the week. Pre-cook your chicken and ground beef, and be sure to make plenty so it will last most of the week! Boil your eggs and cook rice and potatoes—again… make plenty. Use every element on your stove or get out your instant pot or crockpot to help so it gets done-and-over-with all at once! This will allow for countless, no-stress meals available to you all week.

Woman grocery shopping
Now that we’ve roughed out some details, let’s make this list even simpler so you can remember it without any notes when you’re at the grocery store.

  1. Healthy Proteins
  2. Healthy Veggies
  3. Healthy Carbs
  4. Healthy Fats
  5. Healthy Milks

From this simple High Five method, you have the foundation for countless solidly-built meals and snacks. No recipes required.

  • Throw together scrumptious loaded salads.
  • Enjoy fresh crudités and dip them into Greek yogurt drizzled with nut butters for snacks.
  • Amp up your family’s health with easy steamed veggies tossed with butter or coconut oil and seasonings to round out your suppers.
  • Put your pre-cooked meats and quick-wilt veggies like spinach and tomatoes into glycemic-friendly wraps and heat in a pan with cheese or dairy-free alternatives and beans.
  • Whip up summer smoothies, afternoon lattes, movie time frozen frappes, and warming morning teas.

“High Five-ing” means you no longer have to over-think meals. Coming home late from a ball game with the kids? Now there’s no need to stop for fast food and spend money on devitalized nutrition. Instead, you’ll be able to pull together meals that are so easy and tasty, fast food won’t even sound appealing.

Here are a few quick supper ideas:

  • Take some pre-cooked chicken and toss it with broccoli, sesame oil, and seasonings in a pan, and put it over your pre-cooked rice or quinoa.
  • Throw some of your pre-cooked ground beef over salad, add salsa, canned black beans, Greek yogurt or sour cream, grated cheese, and some sunflower seeds for crunch. (This takes ten minutes tops and everyone loves it!)
  • Mash your boiled eggs with some mayonnaise mixed with Greek yogurt and put into sprouted bread sandwiches with fruit and/or fresh veggies on the side.
  • Toss your pre-cooked potatoes in a pan with a little coconut oil, and seasonings, then throw in some of your pre-cooked chicken, beef, or egg options in there for a delicious potato stir fry that your family will rave over.
You’re never far from a quick, protein-grounded, wonderfully tasty, good-for-the-body-meal when you give your family a High Five.
-Serene & Pearl
Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett

erene Allison & Pearl Barrett are sisters and busy mothers who were determined to ditch restrictive diet fads and embrace food freedom!

The Trim Healthy Mama Story. The THM story started with two sisters who wrote a book about food freedom for women and called it Trim Healthy Mama. It was a self-published book with no expectations, no advertising budget, and no celebrity endorsements. It became a movement as word caught on and friends shared their success “ON PLAN” with others. Trim Healthy Mama became a best-seller, inspired a viral community, and developed a food line. Now, millions have reclaimed their health and become “THM lifers.”