The Rule of 4s for Healthy and Efficient Weekday Meals
I lost 30 pounds a few years ago after a lifelong struggle with weight, body image, and hunger anxiety by following the same routine every Sunday.
I don’t subscribe to any dietary labels such as “keto,” gluten-free, vegan, etc. I am a hedonist and rebel at heart, and as soon as you tell me that I cannot have something, I want it that much more.
So I plan, prep, and follow my gut (pun intended) during weekly trips to the local grocery store.
Some people go to church on Sundays, and others watch football. My Sunday ritual is meal prep. It is my Zen time, during which I purge my fridge of any expired items, cleanse the clear shelves and then lovingly restock with fresh and (mostly) healthy food for the week ahead.
After years of research and hundreds of dollars spent on commercial diets, I consider myself proficient (if not quite expert) in the art of planning and preparing a week’s worth of healthy meals.
My version is flexible, intuitive, and based on the principle of 4s. Most of us will not consistently eat food that we don’t enjoy, regardless of weight loss or health goals. The rule of 4’s allows leeway and room for creative flair in designing your personal meal plan. If you are cooking for two, simply double the 4s to 8s, and you are good to go.
The Zen of Meal Prep:
4 Servings of Protein
An easy rule of thumb is that your protein should fit roughly in the palm of your hand. My ideal serving is 4 ounces, so if I buy a pound of chicken, turkey, etc. this breaks down neatly into 4 servings (see a pattern here?)
4 Servings of Vegetables
Overachievers can feel free to add more. It’s tough to overindulge on veggies, and worst case, you might find yourself with rotting produce. If this happens, solemnly swear to eat all of your vegetables the following week, or just stick to 4 servings.
4 Servings of Starch/Grains