I hereby suggest that, to “be like me” (q.v. Policy), readers attempt their own version of the following:
Strive for five. Five servings (1/2 cup each) of fruits and/or vegetables per day. Difficult for me: absent a toothsome sauce or cooking tricks, I pretty much dislike, or at best, have no interest in, the taste and texture of vegetables. Instant menu fatigue. Thus, I like to serve my vegetables with a thick stew, which I think of more as a sauce and call “glop”, in combination with carbs like rice or pasta to help in the vegetable-choking-down process. I do like dehydrated figs, so with those as a desert-like-substance, I need but four servings – two cups – of actual veg daily. I break that up into two or three meals. My stews are usually meat-based, with plenty of veg as well, although I also make quite a bit of a decent vegan chili. By choosing among various stew recipes, my approach provides a diverse freezerful of relatively delicious, nutritious meal starters. I also sometimes make a casserole.
Convenience. Minimize cooking and clean-up labor. I often make two glops on one day. I can reuse pots and pans with just a rinse rather than a full wash. It doesn’t take the whole day, and there is but one big washing-up to do at the end. I design my recipes to produce about two weeks’ worth of glop.
Creative. I adapt recipes I find online or in books or the newspaper, increasing the thickness and flavor density to counteract the intended dilution with veg and carbs. With some fiddling I can usually adjust them for serving to guests rather than foisting my boring-ish mix-it-all-together daily presentation upon them.
Vegetables. I try to always have carrots, celery, peppers, alliums, and a brassica on hand, alternating among onions, leeks, and shallots, or cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli; often I have leftover veg from glop or other cooking. I cycle through red-orange-yellow peppers, never green. I variously boil, fry, or roast them in large quantities for easy incorporation into a microwavable bowlful.
Carbs. I mostly use white rice to make a pilaf with tomato bouillon, some vegan broth powder, and powders of chili, onion, and garlic, but I try to occasionally utilize potatoes and pasta. As with the veg I make a large quantity. Sometimes I mix the finished carbs and veg together to make preparation even easier. Just spoon the ingredients into a bowl, cover and nuke for several minutes at 50%.
Protein. I try to minimize my meat intake, avoiding the worst offenders as much as menu fatigue allows. Beef or pork rarely, mostly chicken and salmon. “Best Vegetarian Chili” by Cook’s Illustrated and rotisserie chickens are my major protein sources. I often add a few tablespoons of quinoa to my rice.
Sauce. The sauce/stew alone should be a little too concentrated: salty, umami, chili heat, as it will be diluted by the veg and carbs. I shoot for about two servings of protein in one two-cup freezer container. Salmon and the evil meats are great alone, but they also serve well to extend the chicken or chili, so that everything lasts a little longer than it would have.
Cooking. I chop the veg to about bite size. Roasting is a great way to make them less unenjoyable. Frying is also acceptable, and if I boil them I reserve the liquid to make rice with. Rotisserie chickens are convenient, but if my store is out, I can roast some bone-in skin-on thighs. Either way I get chicken stock as well. In the rare circumstance that the chicken supply chain is stalled I allow myself some pork or beef. I strive to have two or three sauces in play, cooking a vat of sauce, or a bunch of veg or rice, once a week or so. Every so often I let things lapse, meaning I’ll need to have a major cooking session.