4Leaf Meal Planning Tips

What are you going to eat? At home, at work, when traveling, at parties?

Before you clean out your kitchen and launch your commitment period, give some thought as to what you’re going to be eating. We have a dozen tips for you: The first half are from J. Morris Hicks, a single professional who has never been that handy in the kitchen. He says, “If I can do this, anyone can!”

Six from Hicks

1. Routine meals you eat at home. These are the foundation of any successful 4Leaf commitment. If you don’t get these right, you’re going to have trouble reaching the 4Leaf level (and staying there). Routine meals are ones where you eat pretty much the same thing several times a week. For most people, that’s breakfast and lunch.

2. Get used to “batch cooking”. This means cooking more than you’re going to eat in one or two days. When I cook my go-to lunch or dinnerI cook enough of the main entree to make ten meals. I store them in one-meal containers and freeze all but two of them. That means I always have two ready to go in minutes. I just add fresh veggies and greens on top, warm it up, and it’s ready to eat before I can wash my hands for dinner.

3. Eating 4Leaf at work. Your best option for eating healthy at work is going to be packing your own lunch, which gives you complete control over what goes into your meal. If you have to eat lunch in the cafeteria, look for an option with the freshest ingredients, and something that has “staying power” such as beans or potatoes. Pack some snacks, too! If you’re feeling full and satisfied, the vending machine will be less likely to lure you in.

4. Eating 4Leaf on the Road. There are a few fast-food places where you can get a 4Leaf meal: Panda Express, Subway, and even Taco Bell. You can also “create” a 4Leaf meal at almost any sit-down restaurant. Look at the sides dishes first, then at the veggies, grains, legumes, or potatoes that they have with each entree. Then tell them exactly what you want and to please to adjust the price accordingly. My meal is usually about half of the price that my dining companion pays.

5. Eating 4Leaf in a friend’s home or at a party. Have a healthy snack before you go. If it’s a sit-down dinner party, just tell the hostess that your doctor (Dr. Graff in this case) has you on a special dietary regimen and that you’ll just be having the salad and any of the other whole plants being served. At a party, do some serious grazing at the salad bar. You can also check with the host/hostess ahead of time to see what will be served, and you can offer to make something that fits in with the theme of the menu.

6. Eat all you want and get your calories. Don’t try to limit yourself to just eating at the salad bar. You’ll need to eat more than tomatoes, carrots, celery, and peppers in order to get enough calories to make it to the next meal. Load up on the grains, legumes and potatoes to get the calories you need.

If you’re in need of some recipes or meal ideas, visit our “recipes” page, or check out the cookbooks we recommend here.

The Other Half from Graff

1. Find 4 Leaf recipes.  The first week I went 4 Leaf, I had no idea what to cook. The typical western dinner centers around meat or a white pasta with dairy. I needed help to make the shift. I invested in a few new plant-based whole food cookbooks, found some good recipes online, and was good to go.

2. Menu Plan. Pick a couple of recipes you plan to make in the coming week and make sure you have all the ingredients you will need. Make sure the time involved is realistic for your schedule, or instead of making that healthy dish that takes an hour to make, you will be tempted to order a pizza delivery.

3. Time Manage. Cook a number of things on less busy days to have ready to go for the days you are busy. I have more time on the weekend than during the week to cook, so I make a big pot of soup with lots of veggies and either a whole grain, beans, or potatoes to give it “staying power”. I also make a bean or potato salad to have on hand. I usually also make one other dish on the weekend that will give me leftovers for during the week. 

4. Mix it Up. Making a recipe for the first time every night is time consuming and stressful! I try to make one or two never-tried-before recipes during a week and fill in the rest with my 4Leaf favorites.

5. Join an Organic CSA. I LOVE my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Basically, you buy a share of the farm for a season and pick up your veggies every week. You will get a ton of relatively inexpensive fresh, local, organic veggies with the bonus that you will get some stuff that you’ve never cooked with before.  You will be forced to try something new. How fun!

6. Forgive Yourself. Sometimes you are going to make something that just plain sucks.  If you are like me, that probably happened before you went 4Leaf, too! Don’t give up.  It gets easier.  And sometimes you are just going to completely blow it. My daughter’s birthday party, ouch…  Just start again.  It’s not about perfection…thank God!

CAUTION. Eating this way may quickly decrease your need for medications. You should tell your physician what you’re doing. If he/she is unfamiliar with or skeptical of this eating-style, please direct him or her to nutritionstudies.org and plantrician.org.

Nutrition Certificate