Are you familiar with the idea of a capsule wardrobe? This concept has been a big trend over the past few years. The basic idea is to simplify your life by narrowing down your closet. You piece together a small collection of clothing that you can mix and match for any occasion, and you have basic staple items that you can easily accessorize or augment for various seasons. It’s easy, affordable, removes the stress surrounding your fashion choices, and helps you look and feel your best.
I love this idea! I love it so much, I suggest we apply this concept to meal planning. Ladies and gentlemen, using the general rules surrounding capsule wardrobes, let me introduce you to the Capsule Meal Plan.
Capsule Meal Plan
1. Select Your Base
In the wardrobe world, this is talking about your fundamental “bottoms” that can be part of every outfit. Usually this includes black tights, a pair of jeans, or a skirt. In the food world, I suggest you find a good “bottom” that will allow you to easily build on such as a salad mix or rice/quinoa. These are items you can prep in bulk at the beginning of the week and keep in your fridge as the base of many meals.
2. Choose Your Neutral
Again, in the wardrobe world we would be talking about a basic tee or a white button-up shirt. I’m suggesting you find your neutral proteins here. As a vegetarian, mine may be tempeh. You could also go with chicken, eggs, or a red meat like bison. Again, prep in bulk and keep it in the fridge to pull from throughout the week.
3. Pick Your Accessories
Much like with a wardrobe, this is where the fun and color come in. Instead of a dangly earring though, let’s think bright produce. Wash and cut peppers, cucumbers, grapes, apples, carrots, celery, etc. Anything that is versatile and can be added to your base and neutral pieces to spice a meal up. And speaking of “spice” don’t underestimate how a dash of cayenne pepper or a pinch of cinnamon can really bring a little drama to your capsule meal planning. Likewise, keep elements like nuts and seeds on hand as a special accessory to many meals.
This is your big moment. You have all of the pieces in your fridge prepped, now let’s get creative! Layer that base salad with your chicken, hardboiled eggs, maybe some dried cranberries, nuts, seeds, your fresh cut peppers, and apple slices. Boom! An amazing salad was right at your fingertips. Not feeling salad? No problem. Pick another base. Take that quinoa you made and turn it into a tempeh and veggie stir fry. Or layer your rice with your bison, beans, and mexican spices for a nice mexicali bowl. Anything goes!
Reasons this may be a great start to your meal planning:
- Deciding what to eat is easier, reduces decision fatigue
- Saves time
- Less stress in general
- Reduces guilt around food choices
- Saves money
- Helps you stay on track
Let’s simplify life and meal planning. You don’t have to create pinterest perfect recipes to be successful with your healthy meal preparation. Just find your base, neutral, and accessory food items for the week and prep in bulk. Then, throughout the week, challenge yourself to be creative in layering those. Not only is it easy to calculate your macros, but you can get all of your meal planning and prepping done in just a few easy steps. Then each week you can change out your accessories to meet the seasons and cravings you’re having. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
For more tips, check out this week’s Potential Podcast episode! I discussing meal planning/preparation and give you a bonus episode with tips for making grocery shopping easier.