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8 Easy Steps to Simplify Dinner Time

Just as our bodies are bio-individual, so are the ways we organize our kitchen and our meals. Meal plans that are given to us don’t often work or last. I often get asked about meal plans and if I can help create them for my clients. My response is always no. Instead, my solution: Meal Piecing.

Meal Piecing as kitchen therapy

Meal Piecing is a way to have freedom in our kitchens and to simplify how we put food together for our meals. Having too many recipes and a long grocery list can be overwhelming. I like to help people discover what are their favorite proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains, good fats, herbs, spices and are and how to piece those together for yummy meals that can take very little time. It is a way to find joy in the kitchen.

Meal Piecing is a guide on how to use the ingredients we buy. Without a plan, we might have good intentions but can forget about what we have in our wheelhouse, our kitchen, our refrigerator, and our pantry. Our busyness can keep us stuck and without some structure we end up stressed, grabbing for convenience (which is just picking something up or maybe not eating at all).

Here are my 8 Easy Steps for Meal Piecing and Creating Freedom in Your Kitchen:

  1. Toss Time – Take about 10 minutes to clean up your frig and evaluate what you have. Pick a day to clean out the old items and leftovers from the week (I like Friday). Juice any leftover vegetables or fruits that might be on the verge of going bad. Jot down a few items you need at the store.

  2. Pick the Proteins –   Have plenty of protein in your freezer to pull from. While making your menu for the week use your on-hand proteins first. If you are planning a vegetarian meal write down what ingredients you will need.

  3. Prep Time – Keep in mind your menu for the week, then spend a little time each day to prep. It only takes a few minutes.  Choose to do this in the morning while in the kitchen making breakfast and lunches for the day.  Or, complete a few steps the night before. Mentally this is a huge help.  The motivation from simply getting the process started will help fuel you to continue a new habit. Mornings are a great time to toss something in the crockpot… use that pot roast from the freezer with bone broth and vegetables on hand.

  4. Veggies are Essential- Keep several dark leafy greens like broccoli, asparagus and a big bowl of salad greens.  Have vegetables on hand to roast, sauté or have raw. Great options are carrots, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, or sweet potatoes. Also, keep organic frozen vegetables in the freezer just in case you don’t have fresh. Options are always the best way to keep us from take-out!  I love getting my seasonal vegetables from my backyard and my CSA Urban Roots.

  5. Spice it up!- A few of my favorite herbs and spices are Garlic, Himalayan Sea Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, Parsley, Ceylon Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Ginger, Basil. My go-to is All Purpose/All Natural Seasoning from US Wellness Meats.  Some great options for Fats are Ghee, Coconut Oil, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, and Sesame Oil. Experiment with new flavors to add a little spice to your menu.

  6. Keep it Simple – Enjoy the process and be mindful.  Try not to make your meals complicated.  Don’t try too many new things.  Maybe try a new recipe over the weekend and not try a bunch of new things during a busy week.

  7. Always have a Back-up Plan – Try and have a back-up plan that does not include going out. Something you can make easy when things get chaotic. Freezer meals, homemade soups, leftovers are all great choices.

  8. Have your family get involved – When time is tight, have your family come together to help make and clean up the meal.  Everyone that is capable should have a job.  It can get finished a lot quicker and learning skills in the kitchen is always beneficial.

Brandy Hickman Inspired Nutrition and Life Coach

Living Light with Brandy Lane encompasses a holistic approach to healing individuals from the inside out. With an integrative approach to nutrition, health, and life coaching, she inspires people to live their best lives. Living Light means freeing yourself from limiting beliefs and expectations and valuing yourself for what you are: enough. Brandy empowers women to give themselves permission to prioritize self-care and healing.


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