The Formula for a Healthy, Balanced Meal

My friend, Jane Marie, once told me that the secret to a pretty potted plant arrangement is in this simple formula: the thrill, the fill and the spill. Jane Marie is fabulous at home decorating and the general beautifying of everything in general— a talent I long for, but lack. Since I don’t have a picture of the beautiful thrill, fill and spill technique due to my inability to recreate it, I googled it and found this thrill, fill, spill pot, if you’re interested.

What I lack in potting technique, I make up for in healthy eating ability. (…is that an ability? Eh, just roll with it). I, too, have a catchy phrase that guarantees a healthy, balanced meal that can be thrown together quickly if you’ve done Sunday prep work. In fact, I use this formula almost daily for lunch. So what is it?

A Grain

A Green


A Bean

The fun thing about this combo is that the possibilities are endless and you’re meal is guaranteed to be healthy and balanced. Well, unless you pour on too much buffalo ranch. That might negate some of the health benefits!

It can take salad form, but it doesn’t have to.

mixed greens black beans

Grain: brown rice Green: mixed greens Bean: black bean

No need to feel limited by one green; you can load in as many veggies as you’d like!

spinach chickpeas and quinoa

Grain: quinoa Green: spinach Bean: chickpea

Adding in cheese, like goat or feta, can make it extra tasty!

kale barley

Grain: barley Green: kale Bean: missing, but could easily be chickpeas

Try adding hot pepper sauce or balsamic dressing to give it more flavor.

collards and quinoa

Grain: brown rice Green: collards Bean: Pinto

Decorative presentation is completely optional.

kale qunia cannellini

Grain: quinoa Green: kale Bean: cannellini

These go-to lunches of mine are light, yet usually keep me full for while. If I prep grains and beans on Sunday, then I can throw these combos together in minutes, which is fabulous with a quick toddler on my heels!

Do you have a go to healthy meal?

**Edited to add a great point from JenFAT. I usually have olive oil incorporated, even if it’s just drizzled on top, but totally forgot to say anything about it- probably because it didn’t rhyme 😉 – Fat will definitely increase the staying-power of the meal. Thanks Jen!**



  1. says

    I need to change up the kind of grain I use. 99% of the time it’s quinoa and while it’s good for you and tastes great with just about anything, it can get a little boring. I’ve been meaning to buy a little barley and experiment with it. Any other favorites I should try?

  2. says

    Salads are my mainly go to meal as well. You can just add anything to them and for the most part they are super delicious. I think all these look awesome. I should probably get into the habit of switching my grains and greens more, since I know it’s good to alternate those.
    Lisa recently posted..Friday Confessions and The Simply BarMy Profile

  3. says

    We eat Paleo, so no grains (except we allow a little rice and quinao), but this is a good idea for people who do! My goal for lunches for me and the baby are meat, veggie, fruit. She gets at least one of those each meal.
    Chantal recently posted..Penny – Eleven MonthsMy Profile

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