That title is deceptive.
I barely plan anything, let alone meals. I have done it before and I see the value. And if you're a meal planner, go for it. For me, I do better by the seat of my pants. And I'm kind of lazy, too. Here's my pretty basic approach to nutrient dense eating.
Don't make this ANY harder than it needs to be.
If you totally enjoy cooking and can make 15 ingredient dishes in your sleep...have at it. That's not me. I take a much simpler approach.
I think in terms of nutrients, not what a plate "should" look like. Do I have protein, fat and some carbs? Carbs and animal protein will have their own respective posts, very soon.
Animal protein: all my animal protein is farm fresh and never factory farmed. Grass-fed, pastured, never "grain finished" (more on those terms later). Any seafood, chicken, pork, beef and eggs. I get different cuts for variety but that's it.
Fat: I make sure I have a good fat: olive oil, coconut oil, pastured butter, lard (from a quality source), avocado, etc. We eat a lot of fat. Dietary fat does not make you fat and the low-fat craze is not good for us. Starches will give a false sense of feeling full...fat will give a true sense of satiety.
Carbs: Carbs are one of the most confusing things for folks. Just remember that carbohydrate is found in many other foods besides starches. Most fruits actually contain more carbs than say, bread. So fruits, carrots, potatoes. I eat these sparingly, Pascal eats them more frequently.
Veggies: I eat my body weight in veggies. Any and all. I go for color: Reds and yellows and orange and green. Go nuts. Try new ones. I go super heavy on dark green, leafy ones.
Pick one from every group and that's it.
A day in the life:
Breakfast: For him: 2 scrambled eggs, a couple of slices of bacon and a sliced apple or pear. For me: 2 yolky eggs, the bacon on a bed of spinach.
Lunch: For him: warmed up protein and fat from last night, in his thermos, a few pieces of raw veggies and sliced fruit.
For me: I go the leftover route as well, add in more veggies.
Dinner: different protein, veggies cooked in a fat and some sort of raw veggie salad.
That's seriously it. (This is the 3rd time I've said, "that's it"...just underscoring how basic I like to keep it.) Cook the meat however you want to cook it. Roast the veggies...YUM! I actually like to cook a lot at once and reheat. I have 3 or 4 proteins all cooked up. Lots of veggies cleaned and prepped. For me and my lifestyle, I like the fridge to be a smorgasbord. I pick and choose what I feel like in the moment. I might use a recipe for something new and exciting but again, I just like to keep it simple.
In all honesty, the biggest pain in the butt is keeping fresh veggies on hand. Which, really...is not a horrible problem to have.
I've mentioned this before but when you eliminate refined food from your meals, food becomes more functional. I still love my meals but I don't feel like I have to invest quite as much as I used to.
My goal here is to show how eating a nutrient dense diet can be so easy and I take a minimalist approach. That works for me and my family. If you want to go hog wild in the kitchen there are so many good resources right now. A simple search on Google will yield all you'll ever need. But as I've mentioned...if you're only looking for gluten free replacements of baked/refined starches...you'll be doing a lot of work, spending a lot of money and not really reaping the full benefits to your health.