Building a Meal Plan with Your Analysis
Now that you know your genetic-based nutritional needs and which foods can best help you reach those needs, you may be wondering how to put it together to make a meal or a structured meal plan. Having a plan can help you stay on track with your goals and reduce last-minute unhealthy convenience meals. Let’s talk through some different approaches for how to build a meal plan based on your GenoPalate analysis.
While it may be tempting to structure out every single meal for the next week with loads of new recipes, that can often be overwhelming. A simple place to start when it comes to meal planning is to think about meals that you already enjoy or eat regularly. Ask yourself if there are any opportunities to substitute or add in your optimal foods.
Make Small Changes
For example, if you frequently consume tacos, you could try making fish tacos with one of your optimal seafood options and serve them next to some beans from your list of legumes. If you love oatmeal for breakfast, you could experiment with trying another cooked grain and top your bowl with nuts or fruits from your list. Next time you make a salad, experiment with a new leafy green from your analysis. The possibilities are endless!
Another approach to meal planning is to select from different food groups that will provide you with a balance of macronutrients. Build your plate with a protein source, a carbohydrate source, and a healthy fat source from your optimal foods list.
- Protein: Choose from your meats, seafood, other vegetarian protein sources, legumes, or dairy products.
- Carbohydrates: Include one or more of the following: vegetables or leafy greens, starches or grains, fruits, pastas, or bread.
- Fats: Pick from your list of fats & oils or nuts
While some food categories may cross into multiple macronutrient groups (for example, legumes are a source of both protein and carbohydrates, and cheese often contains protein, fat, and carbohydrates), it is a starting point and doesn’t have to be perfect.
Putting it all together to build a balanced meal may look like having a turkey breast (protein) along with some roasted veggies and rice (carbohydrate) that have been drizzled in olive oil (healthy fat).
If you are struggling with how to pair foods together or you need some meal inspiration, here are some ideas for you:
- Think about what you’d order from your favorite restaurant, and try to recreate it at home. Not only is this a more budget-friendly option, but you can also control exactly how much of each ingredient you want to add.
- Take a trip down memory lane and cook a meal from your childhood.. If you loved your grandma’s chicken noodle soup, make your own version using the vegetables or grains on your optimal food list.
- Search old cookbooks or Pinterest for recipe inspiration. This is a great opportunity to try a new or unfamiliar food from your analysis. Simply search “artichoke dinner recipes” or “amaranth side dishes” and see what inspires you.
If you are new to cooking, try to find simple meals. Although extravagant meals look delicious, if the meal takes forever to cook you might be discouraged from wanting to cook it again.
Putting It All Together
Whether you want to revamp familiar recipes, take the food groups approach, or gather inspiration for a new recipe, it’s a good idea to pick out a few meals for the week or the next few days. Plan out what days you know you’ll have time to cook/prep. Plan for leftovers, too! Keep in mind you can always double recipes or freeze the extras for another day.
Once you have a few solid ideas, write out a grocery list and head to the store, or order your ingredients online for delivery. Once you have your groceries, you may find it helpful to prep some foods in advance, such as pre-cooking your proteins and grains or washing and chopping your veggies.
Though it may be intimidating at first, meal planning and prep gets easier with time as you gain a better understanding of how much to cook and what your usual routine looks like. You got this!