Modular Meals In Minutes

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Dr Jason Deyo

After 20 years of watching excited people leave my office with a bulletproof, customized program for health, longevity and weight loss; it’s become very clear what separates those who succeed from those who struggle. It’s not motivation. It’s not appetite or cravings or self control. Every single time it boils down to skills in the kitchen. If we can’t make a variety of healthy foods taste great, we don’t stick with the program. So, to help my clients save time and stay on track I teach them to create Modular Meals.

It’s simple, modular meals consist of three building blocks; fiber, proteins and vegetables. All you need is an hour and a game plan. We batch cook and store enough servings of fiber like quinoa, brown rice and black beans; protein such as chicken, salmon and ground buffalo; add any variety of seasonal veggies and the work is over. Now we have all the building blocks to make modular meals in minutes for the rest of the week.

Monday lunch: Buffalo meatloaf over BBQ beans and rice. Monday dinner: warm squash and salmon salad. Tuesday lunch- a colorful shrimp and rice chilled salad with lemon and herbs. Tuesday Dinner: spicy buffalo and black bean chili. Its like Legos, we’re going to use the same blocks we made a truck with yesterday to make a castle today. Once we know what our healthy portions look like, that’s it. Now we mix, match and accessorize with our favorite flavors!

The first building block is fiber– for good reasons. Consistent evidence shows that fiber rich whole foods can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, type II diabetes and colorectal cancer. Whole grains are higher in nutrients like folate, magnesium and potassium, which are associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. The greater your bodies demand for insulin, the greater the risk for type II diabetes. This is why we choose high-fiber, whole grains over processed grains. So instead of the tuna salad sandwich, let’s try the tuna over a brown rice and garbanzo bean medley. Leftover Tip: Try tossing a few diced scallions and red peppers into yesterdays rice and turn it into a new building block you can serve cold for lunch.

Timing is everything. To keep this show under an hour, we get our fiber choices on the stove first and move right onto our protein building block. I like to have three or four choices ready to go here. Try salmon for its DHA content, which helps fight the battle against heart disease, a seasonal marinated chicken and a buffalo meatloaf. In about 45 minutes, your first two building blocks are ready at the same time. Quick Tip: Keep Frozen shrimp on hand to thaw for a last second addition.

While your oven and stove-top are being put to good use we seal the deal with a cutting board and a knife. Our third building block consists of chopping up some veggies for snacks, salads, steaming and stir-fry. The National Cancer Institute recommends a minimum of five servings of fruits and veggies a day to reduce cancer risk. (I don’t know about you but considering that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, I’ll be eating a few more servings of broccoli and Brussels sprouts this season than the minimum.) My favorite advice here is to send my clients to whatever farmers market they live closest to and talk to the vendors themselves. Some of the best seasonal veggie cooking tips I’ve ever learned came from the people who grew them.

I’m not a trained chef but teaching this modular meal system has been working for my clients for years. The hour in your kitchen on Sunday night will make dozens of different meals that will allow you to be versatile while staying on track. Plus, this is a program you’ll never grow tired of, my modular meal class changes with the seasons. You can learn more about it at

Once you have the modular system down and you want to keep jazzing up the basics like rice or quinoa, get the inside scoop on where I go for new flavor inspiration. Stop by one of the many M CAFÉ locations and try Chef Lee Gross’s delicious sprouted quinoa tabbouleh. In fact, learn to make it yourself! They offer a macrobiotic seasonal cooking class every month.


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