Hi, I’m Robbie. And I have a confession: cooking causes me massive amounts of anxiety.
That might be a statement you wouldn’t expect from a health and fitness coach. But it’s true. If I see a recipe with more than 7 ingredients, my palms get sweaty, my head starts spinning, and my heart rate drops and then explodes like a dubstep beat.
Alright, so maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but that’s what it feels like to me. And because I work as a health/fitness coach, I’m well aware that thousands of people suffer from debilitating anxiety around food. So in no way am I trying to lessen or belittle their own struggles. But my struggles are my own and one that I never talk about.
I don’t care about complicated recipes nor do I care to have a sensory orgasm from food. I eat because I need to eat. And, second admission here, I eat really fast 98% of the time because there are more important things I’d rather do than “savor my food.”
See, even a health coach has his own hang-ups and issues around food. No one is perfect.
But cooking can be terrifying for noobies. What if it tastes like crap? Are you a failure who can’t even do, like, the most adult of adult things? Ugh, and there’s that whole “time” thing. A microwaveable pizza is done in less than 5 minutes. But a fully cooked meal? That could take anywhere from 20-60 minutes.
Not to mention, you have to prep a bunch of shit too. And that means more work and more time spent in the kitchen and not, I don’t know, starting a petition on Twitter because you didn’t like Secret Life of Pets 2 or something.
Recipes don’t need to be complicated, though. In fact, the more simple your meals, the easier it is to create consistency with your nutrition — this is something that I work with my online training clients when they start working with me.
Don’t worry about casseroles or your grandma’s famous baked lasagna. If you can’t make a delicious, simple recipes with fewer than 7 ingredients, you’re not ready for MLGB (Major League Grandma Baking).
And since grandma told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, we’ll start this collection of recipes with meals to break the fast.
Breakfast for Champions Who Don’t Wanna Fall for the Wheaties Hype
First off, let’s get one thing clear: you can eat whatever the hell you want for breakfast. Seriously. Who said you have to have eggs, sausage, pancakes, biscuits, pop-tarts, oatmeal, or cereal for breakfast? Your mom? Granddad? Some creepy cartoon character born out of someone’s lucid mushroom trip?
Bro, if you wanna eat a sandwich for breakfast, do it. No one’s stopping you. Breakfast doesn’t have to be the options sold to you before Saturday morning cartoons. And you sure as hell don’t need to eat those depressing sadness-flavored oat bars either. But, for now, since I don’t want your brain to explode at the thought of eating non-traditional breakfast, I’ll stick with the traditional fare.
*Oh, and throughout this article, I’m not counting spices as ingredients. Mostly for the simple fact that I just shake the stuff on top of my meat or veggies. Plus, if you have a buttload of spices, you can make all of these meals taste a little different. But even spices can be kept simple—salt, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, & garlic powder.*
Robbie’s Boring Ass Everyday Breakfast
This has been my breakfast for roughly the last four years. Why? Because, one, a giant box of oats at Sam’s Club costs less than $12 and lasts me nearly 5 months, and two, thinking about food raises my anxiety levels. Not thinking about what I’m going to eat and just eating it alleviates that unneeded anxiety.
1 cup of oats
A handful of frozen berries, or apples
⅔ cup egg whites
Fill a pot with water, toss in the frozen berries and bring to a simmer. Then dump in your oats, let them simmer for about 30-45 seconds and then add the egg whites. Once the oatmeal has absorbed all the water, place them in a bowl, top with a dash of cinnamon, and eat up.
Calories = ~380-400
Fat – 6g
Carbs – 77g
Protein – 25g
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Beef and Bacon Breakfast Taco
Remember when I told you that you can eat whatever you want for breakfast? Well, what if you want a bacon cheeseburger? Cool. Make yourself one. Or, make it even better by tossing the bun in the trash and replacing it with a tortilla. Tortillas > buns
2 strips of Bacon
4 ounces of 90/10 Lean Ground Beef
1 Scrambled Egg
2 corn tortillas
¼ cup of reduced fat cheese
Beat the egg and leave it to the side. Cook the bacon on medium heat; then cook the beef in the leftover bacon grease over medium-high heat.
Once both the bacon and the beef are done, wipe the pan and spray the pan with non-stick spray. Turn the pan to medium and cook the eggs. Take them off the heat right before they’re done, they’ll continue to cook as they cool.
Spoon the beef into the tortilla, add the egg, and top with the bacon and shredded cheese.
Calories = 450
Protein – 38g
Fat – 21.5g
Carbs – 27g
Eggs in the morning. It’s like the most breakfast thing you can do, amirite? You could make this scramble into an omelet if you wish. But I’ve never successfully made an omelet in my life, so I just turn everything into a scramble to save me from crushing weight of omelet disappointment.
2 ounces of cheese
2 ounces of deli ham
A fistful of Spinach
Four to five mushrooms
A handful of Peppers
Calories = 430 calories
Protein – 41g
Fat – 35g
Carbs – 5g
Lovely Lunch Recipes with Fewer than 7 Ingredients
Working from home makes it pretty easy to whip up a fresh lunch every day. But like everyone else in the world, I’m lazy. I haven’t achieved Season 8 Game of Thrones writer lazy level, but I’m pretty damn close. Which is why I still bulk cook one meat for most of my lunches for the week.
Other than that, I’ll make something quick and easy like a sandwich. Or a salad. And then sometimes I need something hot to warm the cold, black hole where my soul would exist if I weren’t a ginger.
Actually, I’m really into brussel sprouts lately, and I love roasted sprouts. So I’ve been using the oven for lunch a lot more lately. However, when I really want to automate my meals more and not have to think, I stick with sandwiches and salads.
Every Day Salad
This is the salad I ate every day for nearly 5 years. It’s easy to make in bulk and super delicious. You can also add in more veggies like peppers, onions, cucumber, or what have you. But since I’m keeping it to recipes with fewer than 7 ingredients, I’m sticking with what’s below.
1.5 ounces Blue Cheese
8 ounces of chicken
Dressing – 1 tablespoon olive oil and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar
Calories = ~490
Fat – 29g
Carbs – 2g
Protein – 52g
½ cup of Quinoa
8 ounces of chicken breast cutlets
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
Steam the broccoli (or buy a microwavable bag) while you cook the quinoa.
Grill or sauté the chicken cutlets in one tablespoon of olive oil. Then remove from the heat and cut into small pieces. Once the quinoa is done and your broccoli is steamed, mix the broccoli, chicken, and tomatoes together and then drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil.
Baked Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs are better than breasts. Hands down. Like climate change or nuclear physics, it’s a scientific fact. And this recipe is the easiest one to prepare by far.
Slice the squash into quarter inch pieces, slice the brussel sprouts in half, and hack the peppers into bite-sized slivers and line them on a baking sheet. Place the chicken thighs around the veggies and then cover the veggies and the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook on 375 for 17-20 minutes.
8 ounces of chicken thighs
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Orange Peppers (there are no better peppers than the orange ones)
Calories = 400
Fat – 33g
Carbs – 0g
Protein – 44g
Tit for TATS
TATS is short for “turkey, avocado, tomato, and spinach.” This sandwich would be great on any of the above slices of bread, but sprouted grain bread is the way to go here because it adds crunch to the coolness of the avocado. The tomato and spinach also adds a little extra crisp and spice to the sandwich, along with all the antioxidants that come packed in those two veggies.
And when it comes to making this sandwich fit into your macros, this sandwich is perfect. It comes packed with protein and plenty of healthy whole grains with added fat from the avocado.
8 ounces of turkey
2 slices of Ezekiel Bread
1/2 of a medium avocado
2 slices of tomato
Handful of spinach
Calories =~ 520
48g of protein
Scrumptious Dinners with Fewer than 7 Ingredients
Dinner’s the one meal where I afford myself a bit more flexibility. For the most part that’s due to my wife and I eat dinner together and her choosing those meals for us. She’s far more particular about food and enjoys the entire cooking process more than I do. Often times she’ll choose recipes that have nearly a page of ingredients and instructions. But there are a handful of those meals that are simple and sticks with my preference of “recipes with fewer than 7 ingredients.”
Blackberry Pork Chops with an Arugula Salad
8 ounces of Pork Chops
3-6 ounces of Blackberries
¼-½ cup of Parmesan cheese
A handful of grapes
2 Tablespoons of oil
When I eat fruit, I usually prefer it to be raw. Or surrounded smothered in ice cream. But I guess you can cook it on the stove and add it to meals? Pfft, that’s totally not something my simple mind would have ever thought about doing. But then my wife made this for dinner one night, and damn was it delicious. It’s also super simple and requires like no time at all to prepare.
Wash your blackberries. Pat your pork chops off with a paper towel, then season the pork with salt and pepper.
Turn your cooking pan onto a medium-high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil begins to *pop, place the pork on the skillet and cook until cooked through, 4-6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil.
Now you can either wipe that pan out or use the leftover brown bits for the next step, or you can heat up a small saucepan for the next steps. (I say the fewer dishes the better.)
*If you choose to use small saucepan, add a little drizzle of oil to the bottom of the pan.
In the pan, add blackberries and a dash of balsamic vinegar with a pinch of salt. Reduce your heat to medium-low and, stirring occasionally, cook until sauce thickens and some of the berries collapse, should take around 10-12 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss your arugula with the parmesan cheese. In a smaller bowl, mix the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with salt, pepper, and if you have some lemon juice, a splash of lemon juice. Add the dressing to bowl and toss to coat.
Now, place pork chops on a plate and spoon blackberry sauce over top. Eat and enjoy my friend.
½ cup of rice
8 ounces of chicken breast
1 head of broccoli
1 tablespoon of avocado oil
Ah, the classic bodybuilder or “bro” staple — chicken, rice, and broccoli. Jokes have been made for decades about this simplistic and seemingly bland concoction, but that’s poppycock my friend. Because when crafted correctly, this brotastic din-din can be hella delicious.
For instance, chicken is a versatile meat in regards to spices. It’s great with everything from rosemary, sage, curry, garlic, ginger, basil, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and a whole host of other spices. Right there you already have half-a-dozen ways to make chicken taste different. Add a little lime and cilantro to your white rice, and blam(!), you have rice that tastes almost like you’re eating at Chipotle.
The broccoli you can steam, sauté with your chicken, or roast it in the oven. And all you need for great tasting broccoli is a little salt and pepper anyways.
Alright, here’s how you can make a delicious, non-bland brotastic dinner.
Add ½ cup of rice to an empty pot, then fill it with 1 cup of water. Heat the water on low-heat until it comes to a slow boil. While the rice slowly boils (or if you have a rice cooker, you can use that as well) preheat your oven to 375 degrees, or whatever the hell that converts to with celsius.
Place your chicken on/in a cooking tray, spread your desired amount of broccoli around the chicken, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and then add fresh rosemary (or your desired spice[s]) to your chicken and broccoli. Place it in the oven and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
That’s the easy “hands off” approach. But you could also cut the chicken into bite-sized morsels and sauté it in the olive oil with the broccoli. If you do that, add some fresh rosemary before you cook the chicken and let the aroma and flavors of that rosemary disperse into your pan a bit. God, did I just say the word aroma?
Anywho, the classic “bro” dinner doesn’t have to be bland and boring. It can be for sure. And sometimes that’s all I need myself. But you can make this meal a dozen different ways and it won’t taste the same twice.
Calories = ~690
Fat – 19g
Carbs – 75g
Protein – 54g
Simple and Delicious Recipes with Fewer than 7 Ingredients
You might’ve noticed there aren’t a lot of instructions with these meals. They’re all super simple. And I like it that way. By keeping my meals simple, it allows me more time to focus on what I love, writing and coaching my clients.
If I want something more sophisticated with tons of flavors that’s a bit more of a rollercoaster ride for my taste buds, I’d rather go out. But even then, I have particular go-to meals for certain types of restaurants.
The greatest skill you can learn that will make fat loss easier, help you improve your lifestyle, and that’ll save you mega amounts of money is to learn to cook. But what you cook doesn’t need to be an adventure in the culinary woods. When it comes to cooking, simplicity is always better than complexity.
The Cubed Method is how I teach that complexity to my online training clients. By following this method you’ll not only be able to choose more whole and less-processed foods, but you’ll begin to discover how cooking healthy meals isn’t about endless recipes but about simplicity. Leave your email below and I’ll send you my Make Your 30s Better than Your 20s guide. And if you’re over 40, don’t worry. I have a guide for you that you can grab it here.
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