What to eat… 


One of the more important decisions you can make in a day and also one of the more challenging in an already pretty busy life. After coaching hundreds of clients, deciding what to eat is always the first hurdle. 


In general clients know what to to eat:

“I am supposed to eat vegetables.” 

“I should include a protein with each meal.”

“Fried food and fast food every meal is probably not the best.”


There is a difference between knowing what to eat and what to actually eat on a daily basis. The difference lies in the HOW! Yes, chicken will probably benefit you in a lot of ways if you eat it, but HOW do you actually make the chicken for dinner and not get bored?  This is the hard part: meal planning and meal prepping.


Let me simplify it for you! Let’s call it Eating 5 x 5 


Start with protein. 

Protein is usually one of the most challenging foods because it takes the longest to cook but it is one of the most important nutrients to include in your diet. Protein keeps your body healthy, keeps you fuller longer, helps you recover from your day, and gives you energy. 


Eating 5 x 5 


Five different protein* options 

  1. Beef
  2. Chicken
  3. Pork 
  4. Fish 
  5. Eggs 

*Vegetarian options to substitute for any of the meat options above: lentils, tempeh, tofu. Other protein options: Bison, Lamb, greek yogurt, cottage cheese 


Five different ways to prepare protein:



  1. Grill chicken breast
  2. Roast in the Oven
  3. Cook in the Crockpot to make shredded chicken
  4. Stir-fry on the stove top
  5. Use ground chicken in soups or to make burgers.



  1. Ground beef 
  2. Steak on the Grill 
  3. Stewing 
  4. Roasting 
  5. Stir-Fry



  1. Ground Pork 
  2. Pork Chops on the grill 
  3. Crockpot shredded pork 
  4. Frying pan, stove top
  5. Smoked pork ribs



  1. Bake
  2. Grill 
  3. Saute 
  4. Pan Broil 
  5. Poach 



  1. Scrambled 
  2. Poached 
  3. Baked 
  4. Over easy 
  5. Hard Boiled


Eating 5 x 5 allows more variety without changing everything all at once. If you are someone who wants to eat only chicken, try cooking it a different way each week. If you are tired of eating just chicken, branch out and try another protein option. 


Meal Planning 


Step 1: Write out the days of the week and write underneath which proteins you want to eat that day. This weeks proteins: Beef, Chicken, Pork

Monday – Beef 

Tuesday – Beef and Chicken 

Wednesday  – Chicken 

Thursday – Chicken and Pork 

Friday – Pork 

Saturday  – Pork and Beef 

Sunday – Beef 


Step 2: Write out how you will prepare the protein. 


Monday – Beef, ground for tacos 

Tuesday Beef, ground for sloppy joes , Chicken, grilled to put on a salad

Wednesday – Chicken , grilled with pasta and veggies 

Thursday – Chicken, cooked in a crockpot and shredded for a chicken salad. Pork, ground on a pizza 

Friday – Pork, ground for burgers on the grill 

Saturday – Pork, pork chops on the stove top. Beef, grilled steak with grilled vegetables

Sunday – Beef, grilled steak in a stir-fry 


Step 3: Make a grocery list from the above protein options

List (amount for 1 person ):

  • 1lb ground beef 
  • 2 lb ground chicken
  • 1 lb ground pork 
  • 2 pork chops 
  • 2 steaks 


Step 4: Decide when you will cook each protein. Typically it is easiest for most clients to cook all their protein on their days off for the week. 


Step 5: Plan a day to go to the grocery store and buy your protein! 

Five proteins, five different ways to cook each protein, and a 5 step process to planning your meals for the week starting with what protein you will eat! 


Breaking down your meal planning in this way simplifies cooking healthy meals at home. Understanding you do not have to eat broccoli and chicken everyday to be healthy. You have options for your protein and cooking them in different ways prevents you from getting bored eating the same thing every day. 


There are other steps you will need to take to decide what to eat with each protein. The process is the same for those ingredients as well! Let’s look at Monday and add vegetables using the 5×5 method.



Beef – ground beef for tacos 

Step 1: Plan out what vegetables you will pair with your ground beef

  1. Tomatoes – raw, in a sugar free salsa, grilled, roasted, canned
  2. Lettuce – Chopped romaine, fresh spinach, fresh kale, cooked kale or spinach
  3. Peppers – sauteed, grilled, raw, roasted, pickled
  4. Onions – sauteed, grilled, raw, roasted, pickled 
  5. Zucchini – grilled, raw, roasted, sauteed


Step 2: Write out which vegetables you will use how you will prepare them

  1. Raw tomatoes
  2. Chopped romaine 
  3. Sauteed peppers 
  4. Sauteed onions 
  5. Sauteed zucchini


Step 3: Make a grocery list 

  1. 1 large slicing tomato
  2. 1 bag of chopped romaine 
  3. 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper 
  4. 1 onion
  5. 1 zucchini


Step 4: Decide when you will cook/prepare each vegetable. Vegetables do not last as long as protein options. Cutting the vegetable up beforehand saves time and cooking the day you will eat it will help your dish last longer and taste better. 


Step 5: Plan when you will go grocery shopping and buy the vegetables. 

Keep it as simple as you need to to be successful. If that means eating the same protein and dish every night for dinner for a week, great! Next week try to pick a different meal to have every night for dinner. Use the Eating 5 x 5 to help you plan and keep eating healthy meals at home!


Let me know how it goes and reach out if you want more coaching on how to simplify healthy eating and establishing healthy habits for life!

Coach Emily 

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